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


Matt C said...

"Fine. Standard. Typical."

What a perfect way to sum up this sort of place.

David Cohen said...

You have returned (but you were never away).

Frankly, your excuses for not blogging are pathetic and disappointing. More than one blogger in this hick town does their best work while under the influence.

Perfect review of Sienas.

By the way, you must read Rob Broadfield's food review in The West's W magazine tomorrow...

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Our excuse for not blogging was just that, an excuse. We agree it is shit, we were just plain lazy.

Love Rob Broadfield, love him. Everything he says is spot on. Look forward to seeing what he has to say tomorrow.

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

David - we read Rob Broadfield on the weekend, not sure what the relevance was?

Georgia said...

A group of us ate at Sienna's Mt Lawley some years back, and watched in horror as several mice scurried back and forth from a large pot filled with fake/dried decorations to under the counter/kitchen area.

I will never eat there again...

Keep up the good work with the blog, always a well enjoyed read.

David Cohen said...

Yah. Sorry about that. False alarm. Maybe this weekend...

Northern musings said...

Am so glad you are back...

Anonymous said...

Sienas (and the similar but different Martinos) were what finally (and quickly) convince me that the Dominos and Pizza Huts of this work make somthing that looks like pizza - but is not.

I lived a sheltered gastronomic life.

Sure, it's always crowded and often rushed but I have no real complaints.

We've gone as a couple and as a large group and they've never stuffed up our orders, the pizza has never been cold and rarely have they stuffed up the bill.

Sometimes you can't ask for more than that.

grrlfrommars said...

It is a shame you had a takeaway blogging experience, I would have loved to have heard about whose laps you would have wound up sitting on whilst dining in the restaurant. Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

Anonymous said...

jus wondering when you guys are finally going to put your reveiw up on diva am dyien to hear how it was

Matt C said...

Yes, post your Diva review!!

The Beer Judges said...

I agree, I'm still waiting for that one too. And I don't buy the excuse that you've been drinking since early January and are only now getting over Australia Day =P

Anonymous said...

still waiting on diva!

Robert said...

You guys haven't stopped eating have you?

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Georgia - mice? are you serious? not as bad as having a bowl full of dried decorations though.

David Cohen - should have got in touch with you earlier re Rose & Crown. We enjoyed your contribution to Rob's piece on the old pub. It really has the finest beer garden in the state, and it's too sad that it doesn't perform better on the food front.

Northern Musings - cheers. We came back. We left. Now we're back again.

Anonymous - We know what you're saying, but we think these kinds of places which are basically money making factories could do better than just being ok. Still, being average seems to get people in the door, we guess people just like to know what they're getting.

Grrfrommars - we promise to dine in at Martinos then - does it have a similar issue?

And everyone else - Anonymous (x2), Matt C, the Beer Judges and Robert, very sorry about the slow down. No real excuse - we're doing the eating just not the writing. We're just stupidly lazy. We'll pick up our usual pace from now on. Promise. Sort of. Well, yeah, promise.

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