08 January 2009

Siena's Mt Lawley Pizzeria and Café

Siena’s is not particularly well-regarded among food lovers as a decent place to eat. The Bloggers’ view is no exception, previous visits (which took place many years ago) have been uninspiring – bland food, average service, mass produced pasta with little love or attention to detail. However, we had to go to Siena’s with an open mind, and we were prepared to be surprised.

To make the experience more palatable, it was decided that takeaway Siena’s might be better than dine-in Siena’s. Not sure how this reasoning developed, but it seemed logical at the time. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Siena’s was not worth a baby-sitter for Stinky.

Our first experience was in placing the order. Helpfully, Siena’s has a good website listing its full menu. We love this, more restaurants should devote time and energy to setting up a website, particularly casual-dining places which do takeaway. The average office worker spends fucking hours on the internet, loves to be immediately informed and doesn’t really want to talk on the phone with a restaurant for longer than needed.

Ordering was a smooth and successful transmission and soon Siena’s was cooking up the following for the Bloggers:

1. arancini balls (2 serves)

2. calamari (1 serve)
3. garlic bread
4. penne al diavolo (penne, spicy Italian sausage, onions,
mushrooms, in a chilli tomato sauce).
5. fettucine Siena (fettucine with prawns, broccoli in vodka flavoured
tomato and cream sauce, sprinkled with chilli flakes)
6. an Isabella pizza (tomato, mozarella, basil, Italian sausage,
olives, onions, artichokes)
7. a meatlovers pizza (Tomato, mozarella, bacon, ham, sausage
and chicken)

Picking up the order was more difficult. The Deliberator and the Brains were entrusted with the role of pick-up and take-home. The Deliberator, starving, sulky and desperate for a drink, made several driving errors that saw him turn right where no right turns were permitted, do a u-turn in the middle of Beaufort Street on a busy Thursday night, run up a curb and then park illegally. The Brains’ constant nit-picking did not help, and at after the car was finally stationary, the Deliberator stormed off the Vietnamese deli across the road, god knows what for, leaving the Brains to pick up and carry what was about 45kg of food. Order and calm resumed shortly thereafter.

As usual, and much to the bewilderment of anyone who actually likes food, Siena’s was packed to the rafters. It’s unbelievably popular, but does anyone know anyone who goes there? Anyway, the order was retrieved, and the only notable thing in relation to the pick-up was that the pizzas were sitting on a the bench a long way from the wood fired oven, so they were dead cold by the time we got them home.

So, to the food. It was fine. Really, it was. The pizzas, although cold, had good crispy bases and nice fresh ingredients. The pasta was not full of flavour, but the ingredients themselves were fine. The arancini were each as big as a cannon ball. The calamari was a disappointment, the takeaway container contained more lettuce than squid, and the squid itself was rubbery. So, all in all pretty much exactly as we expected. While we were not surprised, we weren’t completely put off either.

In summary:

Service: Fine. Standard. Typical.

Food: Fine. Standard. Typical.

Ambience: Busy, loud, happy atmosphere, as always.

Highlight: Giant arancini.

Lowlight: Rubbery squid and cold pizza.

Rating: 2.5 half-price-pasta-and-pizza-nights out of 5.

Will we be back: Very unlikely. For similarly priced Italian we would go to Al Sito up in Inglewood (see previous review), Il Pasto in East Perth or Il Padrino in Northbridge.

Details: Everyone knows where Siena’s is. While we didn’t go on a half price pasta and pizza night, the price was still reasonable, coming in at just under $100 for all that food. We expect there may have been some kind of calculating error there. Siena's website is http://www.sienasmtlawley.com.au/

Coming up: We finally made it back to Diva, a full report will be available soon.

Siena's Pizzeria & Caffe on Urbanspoon


Hi everyone. Thanks for all your emails and comments, it's nice to know we have a reader or 2.

We have not disbanded the blog, we have not lost our jobs (yet), we have not moved overseas/interstate/south of the river and we have not gone into hospital/asylum/a witness protection program.

What we have been doing is getting drunk at Christmas and New Years functions every day since early December which has left us with little time to write. New reviews will commence shortly.

Now is a good opportunity to reflect on what is now a year's worth of work. We have discovered some amazing places which we never would have visited if not for this blog - to name a few - Jessie's Curry Kitchen and Cafe, Third Avenue Cafe, Al Sito, Koinonia and Charco's Charcoal Chicken. We will also mention Cantina 663, but we suspect we would have gone there regardless of whether or not the Beaufort Street Challenge was taken up.

We've also discovered some duds - Peking Chinese Restaurant, Seven Seas (which has thankfully closed down) and Magic Pizza.

It's been a long journey, we thought we would have wrapped it up in 2008, but it looks like we'll go well into the new year. As for future plans - we are considering not stopping at the end of Beaufort Street and going right down through Barrack Street, ending up at Halo on the Barrack Street Jetty (which would give us a wonderful opportunity to see the grandious, beautiful and highly-original Perth ferris wheel up close. That thing is AWESOME). Or, we might have a stab at William Street next, although the MSG we'd get from eating at William Street restaurants once a week would probably never leave our bodies.

As you can see, there's much to be excited about. Happy 2009 food fans, we hope it's a great one for all of you.