Cuisine: Italian, fine dining
Location: Perth, Fitzgerald Street north of CBD
I had a few days of leave and approaching a birthday in the family, we decided to visit Maurizio Restaurant after a wonderful dining experience in February earlier this year. I was keen to try some other Italian dishes on the menu but hoped the deep fried zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies might still be there. Unfortunately not as the seasons change which allowed me to try the entree I originally had my eye on – gnocchi. There were also different specials of the day.
Walking in, we were recognised by some of the staff and made to feel welcome immediately. We were brought a basket of bread with chilli oil which turned out to be far hotter than last time and left my lips burning. Not having a great run after the pungent curries at Mother India left me sweating. The bread is fantastic and I tried a bit of balsamic vinegar on my bread too. There’s a bottle which holds balsamic vinegar on one cork and olive oil on the other cork of the same bottle. We were also brought a plate with some plump palish green olives, small pieces of a sweeter Parmesan like cheese, and these deep fried dumplings stuffed with anchovies which I think are called crostoli. All were delicious. I loved the dumplings.
After perusing the menu and being told the daily specials for the entrees, I ordered:
- Entree – Gnocchi in a tomato sauce – lovely soft gnocchi surrounded in a tasty and slightly tart, tomato sauce with a good sprinkling of Parmesan. This was fantastic. The first time I’ve eaten gnocchi at a restaurant after a few different recipes I’ve tried out myself. My version wasn’t bad at all.
- Mains – Roasted pork belly – this was served with the most golden coloured cubes of roasted potato that had a lovely crunch on the outside with a soft centre on the inside. Fantastic! I’m not sure if they were cooked in something like duck fat. There were also some very tender and moist green beens. A lot more vegetables on the plate compared to last time. There was also a roasted piece of apple with the skin still on which gave a most unique, sweet flavour. Haven’t eaten an apple like that before. Aside from that, 2 decent chunks of roast pork belly were seated above the vegetables with a lovely crisp crackling. I’ve always eaten pork belly Asian style so I was unsure how an Italian version would taste. I must say I was a little disappointed, not with the way it was cooked or anything like that, just that it paled in to comparison with an Asian version. The pork was nice and tender, moist and succulent with a lovely crisp crackling so it was enjoyable to eat but not sure if other cultures could prepare pork belly in a method to rival the Asian version.
- Dessert – chocolate mousse – served with a slice of orange and a grape, while I’m not a fan of orange and chocolate, the slight orange citrus flavour seeped in to the light chocolate mousse with chocolate sprinkles just enough to add an excellent flavour. The chocolate mousse was excellent. I was really full so even though the serving is small, it was just enough.
I also managed to get a taste of a few other dishes ordered by other members. For the entree, antipasto is available and the waitstaff brought back a plate with a smattering of items. There were olives, blue and mozzarella cheeses, proscuitto, salad with pear and almonds, an arancini ball, deep friend dumpling stuffed with anchovy, tomatoes and probably a few other items. I tried a bit of the proscuitto which is like a cold meat I’ve never tried. It’s got such a unique flavour that is not intense, greasy and very unlike bacon. Really tasty. I’m not a fan of arancini balls which I’ve tried many a times at cocktail parties and such events. They look so good with a lovely golden deep fried colour but don’t taste as good as they look. Rice with a rich cheesy sauce doesn’t go, to my mind. However, after eating the Maurizio version I was proven wrong. Wow, this was very enjoyable and I could eat many of these. Not as golden brown, but still crunchy and well crumbed, the difference was the filling. I believe blue cheese did the trick in toning done the cheesiness and the slight sourness with the rice produced a perfect flavour combination. I don’t like blue cheese but this is the second time a dish at Maurizio has been served with blue cheese and it has been amazing.
Apart from the antipasto, I also tried a little from one of the specials of the day – macaroni with Italian sausage. The pasta is hand made but was a little chewy for my liking given the pasta was cooked Al Dente. I prefer my pasta cooked a bit longer so it is a little softer. Nevertheless, the Italian sausage was tasty and combined for some nice flavours in the dish.
The last item I tried was some roast duck which was one of the mains. This was so delicious! Similar to a roast chicken with the right amount of saltiness on the skin, the skin on the outside of the duck was fantastic and the flesh tender and moist.
Well another eating fest, I certainly was full but not uncomfortable. I certainly enjoyed my meal and had a pleasant dining experience. The service was excellent once again, serving sizes generous and the quality of the meals at the same high standards we last experienced. My other dining companions also enjoyed their meals and loved the coffee.
Maurizio Food Review Summary
Verdict: Second time around, the same high standards that you expect from a fine dining establishment were met. Excellent friendly service, delicious generous servings of Italian cuisine, high quality meals, I was again completely satisfied on all fronts. It was great to try different items and experience a slice of Italian cuisine. To do justice to the food served, you must bring an appetite.
Recommendation: Highly Recommend
See my prior blog post:
Food Review of Maurizio Restaurant – Feb 2012
Maurizio Restaurant Details
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