The newest restaurant in the Swan Valley, Pinelli Estate Winery Restaurant (taking the place of Fillaudeau) has been created as a celebration of the Italian heritage of the Pinelli family and is set among the vines on their Caversham property.
The restaurant is a large, airy and well-lit space with an appealing outdoor area on the wide covered veranda along two sides of the dining room. With café blinds to protect from the elements, if necessary, sitting outside brings you close to the vines ringing the restaurant.
Pinelli has been open for a couple of weeks and we have visited twice and come away impressed by the quality – and value – of the food from the kitchen of chef Caleb Azuka, who trained at 3 Michelin star Modena restaurant, Osteria Francescana, once awarded Best Restaurant in the World by UK food bible, Restaurant magazine.
The drinks list, naturally enough, highlights the excellent wines coming from the Pinelli portfolio – as well as having a small selection of other wines, and of course beer, cider and spirits.
On our recent lunch we began with Melanzana – lightly breaded slices of eggplant, fried, topped with a rich, smoky, Roma tomato sauce, melted mozzarella, and a slosh of sweet, dark balsamic reduction. The medallions of eggplant were meltingly tender, with the crumbs preventing too much intake of oil that can so bedevil eggplant. A bold and richly flavoured dish.
Our second choice of starter – bruschetta – a simple dish, sure, but here done so well – grilled slices of baguette, crisp with a lovely chewy texture – topped with chopped marinated Roma tomatoes, mozzarella, a basil marinade adding taste and aromatics, oregano, olive oil and more of the rich balsamic reduction all adding up to a dish of flavour, texture and style.
Onto the mains – and first off another off the starters list – Polpette – Italian meatballs – you can choose one or two – and I have to say if you are after the dish as an entrée then one is more than enough – these are almost the size of cricket balls – beautifully seasoned and herbed – quite pronounced fennel flavours and aromas – the meat tender, juicy and luscious – served with caramelized onions, shaved parmesan – a hearty, abundantly flavoured plate of food.
I find it hard to go past chilli mussels and these were absolutely on song – fleshy, juicy mussels in tomato broth liberally seasoned with chilli flakes, plump capers and olives providing salty, sharp contrasting flavours – I asked for extra chilli so slices of green and red chilli were scattered across – adding even more zip and zing. Certainly brought a glow to my brow.
The food here impresses – hearty flavours, generously proportioned, certainly a tribute to Italian trattoria and home-cooking – the staff are welcoming and friendly – as if you are part of the family – and of course the Pinelli wines add to the fun and enjoyment.
Pinelli Estate Winery Restaurant is a winner on all levels.