Two of the most heart aching closures during the lockdown were my favourite Perth bar, No Mafia, and its stablemate, Los Bravos – my go to places were out of bounds!! Now, at last, No Mafia is back – further up William Street and in the spot where Los Bravos was – more spacious, but without losing its small Italian bar feel, welcoming outside garden area and the veranda where I spent a lot of time sipping sherry and watching the passing parade of William Street. I guess it will be marsala now. So, though Los Bravos is gone, I can rejoice in the return of No Mafia.
This has been one of the most consistently top performers among the many small bars in Perth and from my recent experiences in the new digs will continue along that happy path – the food is always on point, with a Southern Italian slant, naturally; the wine list is one of the best around – not extensive, but changing regularly and always offering choices that you may not otherwise see around town – they certainly support small producers and are leading promoters of natural wine – as is their big sister restaurant, Balthazar.
And of course, but by no means last, the staff – they are without exception at the top of the profession. Friendly, welcoming, knowledgeable, always willing to help with wine and food choices.
As I mentioned it was a regular haunt of mine and will be so now as well and one of my favourite starters as far as the food is concerned is their marinated octopus and I was quick to try it again – succulent tentacles, with a dash of oil, lemon and chilli – a wonderful companion to a glass or two of vino.
A couple of new spaghetti dishes on the menu impressed too – the first with prawn butter and bottarga, the second with calamari and ‘nduja – the pasta al dente and slippery, the seafood tender and succulent, the roe salty and briny, the pork spicy and meaty, and all of the flavours perfectly integrated.
And wine? Well there is a veritable treasure trove each time I visit – the Il Corzanello Super Tuscan 2018 a case in point –Sangiovese and Cabernet – bright shimmering ruby, with a fragrant bouquet of cherries and blackberries – the palate is smooth and light, with well-balanced acid, flavours of raspberries, plums and a little smokiness. Beautiful drinking.
No Mafia is back in action and seemingly not missing a beat – always offering a new discovery as far as wine is concerned – the food is excellent and the staff exceptional. As the weather improves you will no doubt see me propping up a stool on the veranda, glass in hand.