Conveniently (for me), Italian restaurant Prego is situated just across Cambridge Street in Floreat from a bus stop and was the venue for a pre-Christmas lunch with a couple mates. And knowing them driving was out of the question.
It is a stylishly set up place, with friendly and welcoming waiters, varied and interesting menu, and a well put together wine list.
On this occasion, however, we had asked that we be able to BYO – sort of a Christmas tradition where we try a range of wines from our various cellars – and the restaurant was happy to oblige. And range across a good number of wines, white and red, we did as we enjoyed the excellent food on offer.
Beginning with a selection of three entrees, which set the bar for the dishes to follow – all beautifully presented and living up to that presentation.
Garlic and chilli tiger prawns – crisply but lightly seared in the shell, sweet crunchy flesh, and a dash of tomato balsamic and a sprinkle of cut chilli to provide a little zip.
Light and fluffily fried calamari, tender and juicy, came with salad and drizzled chilli and lime mayo – very good squid, indeed.
Falafel, moist and nutty, a dash of tahini and fresh, crunchy salsa rounded out the starters.
To the mains – and boy did they continue the high standards of what came before!
Lamb shoulder, slow cooked in a wood fired oven, served with couscous, spring onions, parsley, lemon infused olive oil, pistachios and mint yoghurt was top notch – the meat simply melting away on the fork, perfectly seasoned and the accompaniments adding to the delight. Beautiful example of Mediterranean treatment of lamb.
Then a duo of quail, roasted in vine leaves, stuffed with pine nut risotto, with crunchy cubed roasted potatoes, a stick of grilled haloumi, melting and oozy, and a couple of seared Tiger prawns. The quail moist, juicy and luscious, the filling nutty, tender while the prawns reflected the seafood cooking skills of the kitchen.
These skills were also on display with the third main – large tortelloni shells filled with minced prawns and zucchini, and accompanied by char grilled Moreton Bay bug tails – a buttery sauce adding a nutty, creamy note. The pasta al dente, the filling succulent, and the bug tails sweetly flavoured with a hint of smokiness from the grill. Superb.
With our mains we ordered a plate of fresh vegetables – cauliflower, capsicum, eggplant, zucchini – roasted in the wood fired oven – firm, full of earthy flavours.
Winding down with a final glass or three, we indulged in a cheese board – three fine cheeses with the usual supporters – which rounded off a wonderful lunch – excellent food, great ambience, friendly and professional waiters, of course top class if rambling conversational forays, and then Uber home.
I have been to a few Italian restaurants in recent times and Prego is right up there with the best. Highly recommended if you are out in the Western suburbs – and remember that convenient bus stop!