In demand reviewers, The Brains and The Sponge unfortunately had Kurry KlubTM commitments this Thursday, so it was in order to establish a quorum then that this week’s meeting of the Beaufort Street Bloggers was shifted to Wednesday.
Nestled behind the old post office on Beaufort Street, Inglewood, the entrance to Al Sito is actually on Ninth Avenue, giving it that whole “just off the beaten track, only locals know about it” vibe.
With the Deliberator running late (as always), we yet again arrived slightly tardy for our 8:30 booking. We were nervous. Remember the reception we’d received when arriving a little late to Café Mia? As BITO approaches the 30 week mark of her pregnancy, stress and high blood pressure are of concern. Could we take the pressure again?
Thankfully, our fears were immediately allayed by the more than cheerful (although not annoyingly so) greeting of our waitress for the evening - Freya. Although promptly shown to a spacious table for four, our wine poured and menus delivered to eager hands, there was no aura of impatience presented, nor annoying reminder that the kitchen was due to close.
To start, the Bloggers ordered garlic bread to share together with a tasting plate consisting of a number of tapas style items tastefully presented with several large wedges of turkish bread. It never ceases to amaze the Beaufort Street Bloggers how often an establishment’s garlic bread can set the tone for the rest of the evening’s food. Dry with little garlic evident and you can be sure it was prepared “earlier”. Soft with just a little toastiness and a reassuring amount of garlic that makes you think you can skip this year’s flu shot and you feel the chef really cares about you. And so you can imagine the delight with which we devoured the near perfect (we’re only young, let us not profess to have found the perfect piece of garlic bread yet) specimen expeditiously presented to us by the lovely Freya.
Next came what was unanimously agreed to be the highlight of the night – Freya’s presentation of the specials on offer at Al Sito that Wednesday.
In particular, special mention must go to the Freya’s description of the Chicken Parmagiana. “… a breast of chicken, lightly crumbed and finished with a tomato sauce and delicate melted cheese”. I know it sounds suspiciously like any other Chicken parma ever offered, but we just wish we could express to you the absolute honest innocence and feeling with which Freya delivered the description of the parmagiana as if it were a n’er before heard of delicacy from some far away exotic land. Even the Sponge, an avid fan and devotee of the chicken parma, said Freya made him feel as though he was living the parma experience for the very first time.
The remaining mains ordered included surf and turf t-bone steak, spaghetti marinara and a salmon pasta dish. All were of reasonable size and whilst served without delay, we were afforded a digestively sufficient space between starters and mains.
Although not usually fans of the dessert course, not even Sponge and the Deliberator could say no to the samplings on offer in Al Sito’s dessert cabinet, although with the decision being a difficult one, we were grateful when the ever accommodating manager offered to prepare a sampling plate for us. By this stage, the Bloggers were the only customers left in the restaurant; however this was something we noticed only by chance. For whilst Al Sito staff quietly went about the business of clearing up the kitchen for the night, we were left to enjoy the final stages of our meal at our leisure.
Service: In Perth’s current super-competitive hospitality industry, we truly believe Freya should be paid double and even after she knocked off for the night, the owner/manager was attentive, yet did not try to rush.
Food: Minimal selection, but well cooked reasonable fare.
Ambience: Dim lighting, with a mixture of wood and laminate tables with a large open frontage.
Highlight: Freya and her description of the groundbreaking new dish, chicken parma.
Lowlight: BITO wishing she’d had the guts to ask Freya where she got her hair cut.
Rating: 3.5 lovingly prepared slices of garlic bread out of 5.
Will we be back? Yes. The Sponge has even indicated he wishes to add “Freya” to the shortlist for names for his firstborn.
Details: Around $30 a head including corkage.
Coming up: It’s the Brains’ 28th birthday next week, so we’re heading to Avenue 9 Café, with a few special invitees for the night…...