Cuisine: Italian (Southern Italian), Wine Bar
Location: Northbridge, Willam St
When I landed back in Perth last week after a fantastic time in Vietnam, I decided to head to Jus Burgers in Northbridge but found it has closed. What’s taken it’s place is a southern Italian wine bar which had been open for four weeks, No Mafia. It’s set up by the same team behind The Precinct Restaurant in Vic Park. I was chatting to one of the chefs who told me that the south of Italy is generally a little poorer so they keep things simple, use fresh local produce, and just let the ingredients speak for themselves. In Sardinia, they enjoy the seafood, particularly, sardines, anchovies and swordfish. If you have a look at the menu, there’s no pasta or pizza. Instead, there are a bunch of dishes you generally won’t see on a typical Italian menu. I was intrigued so I paid a visit for lunch. For the wine lovers, they have southern Italian wines too.
I wasn’t sure what all the items were and I wasn’t particularly hungry but it built. I started with bresoala, which the part owner told me is like proscuitto, but it’s air dried cured beef. Why not, sounds good. I like proscuitto so why not try something different.
The bresoala was presented on a paper typical of a deli. I’m not too fussed about the lack of the dish not being served on a plate, I like the simplicity, but they did provided a plate and said to drizzle a bit of olive oil as traditionally enjoyed. The slices are super thin. They’re translucent! The first slice tasted nice, lovely flavour, I could keep on eating this any day. After a handful of slices, I did drizzle a bit of olive oil which really brings out the flavour. Simple, interesting, yum.
Local Swordfish Crudo, Colatura, Parsley, Capers $18
Next up, I was presented with a dish of swordfish which is more in the mould of a ceviche, ie it’s raw. It was arranged nicely and dressed with some fermented fish (anchovy) oil to add a touch of saltiness. It was seasoned and the presence of the peppery parsley, seasoning, and the slightly salty capers helped to add flavour to the raw, fresh taste of the sea, swordfish. I really enjoyed this dish which is rather refreshing and perfect in summer. Such simplicity but such a lot of flavour.
When I looked at the menu, I thought I’d get a small plate, a main and a dessert. One doesn’t know how large the servings will be but after eating these dishes, I needed something on the small side to fill my stomach as my hunger had grown from when I initially walked in. I asked about the gardiniera which are vegetables, blanched for a short moment, then pickled for days before being drained and served with chilli oil. Sounded intriguing so I got a serve of that plus some pickled white anchovies.
White Anchovies $5 and Gardiniera $5
The vegetables were very unique. Slightly firm, a bit crunchy, but not raw. It had a slight sweetness from the pickling juices and the olive oil gave it moistness and flavour. I found this a rather interesting dish and I’m glad to have tried something new. This dish is best enjoyed with other dishes.
I’m quite a fan of anchovies which are an excellent ingredient to use in cooking. These, however, were pickled and served in the same manner as the bresoala. The pickling had done wonders to wash away the salty intensity one would normally expect from anchovies. The anchovies had instead gone slightly acidic, but what the pickling really did, was to allow the anchovies to appear fleshy. The texture in the mouth was different, allowing you to feel the “meat” of the tiny anchovies and the pickling gives it a burst of freshness which livens your mouth. I really enjoyed it and these two dishes certainly filled me up to the point where I was considering skipping dessert, but that’s just silliness and dessert was definitely back on.
Cannoli, Chocolate, Ricotta $12
Yep, cannoli. A personal favourite, it’s hard to go past cannoli. I’ve eaten many different versions of cannoli, including in Rome, and this was very different to anything I’ve had before. I’m really not sure what the traditional style is, maybe it just differs from region to region, but I liked this version. The cannoli is filled with ricotta, crushed pistachios, and chocolate. The pastry was crispy, crunchy, but has that give in it which allows it to break. This is a lovely dessert to savour and I savoured it.
No Mafia Food Review Summary
Verdict: It’s great to see new additions to Perth and No Mafia offers patrons a completely different menu comprising dishes from southern Italy including wines from that region. There’s no pasta or pizza one might expect from a typical Italian restaurant, but a set of simple uncomplicated dishes, generally revolving around seafood, which allow the flavours to shine through. I started with bresoala, akin to proscuitto, air dried beef cut super thin you can see through it. Drizzled with a little olive oil, the cured meat is delicious. I really liked the simplicity of the swordfish crudo which allowed the taste of the sea to shine through with seasoning provided by anchovy oil, peppery parsley, salty capers, and a touch of seasoning. I also got some pickled vegetables, gardiniera, which were completely different to anything I’ve had previously, and pickled white anchovies which lost it’s salty intensity and presented a different mouth feel, the fleshy meat shining through with the acidic burst giving a freshness. For dessert it’s hard to go past cannoli and I liked the soft crunch of the pastry surrounding a lovely ricotta, pistachio and chocolate filling. A lovely end to the meal.
No Mafia Restaurant Details
Like This Food Blog & Want A Second Helping?
Feel free to subscribe via RSS or be updated via email each time a new post comes out on PerthFoodReviews.com. Alternatively, bookmark this foodie site on your favourite social media site below. Remember, when it comes to food, it’s all about the taste.No Mafia - 19 Dec 2014,