Joel Valvasori-Pereza's decision to downsize, it would seem, is a good one. After four years in the kitchen at Lalla Rookh, the gifted Italian chef has swapped the bustle of Perth's CBD for the tree-lined quiet of Subiaco, the home of his cosy new trattoria, Lulu La Delizia.
Named after Valvasori-Pereza's grandmother, Subiaco's newest dining room has no shortage of Italo-Australian flavour, from the lace curtains in the window to Sanbitter bottles repurposed as vases, and shelves groaning under the weight of tomato tins and wine (snappily-priced local and northern Italian vino, mostly).
Inside Lulu La Delizia
As it was at his previous gig, the hearty flavours of Italy's north remain a touchstone for Valvasori-Pereza's cooking, so the richly textured vegetarian sugo served with dense house-baked bread is perfumed with cinnamon, bay and other spices and mountain herbs. A springtime-pretty arrangement of broad beans, asparagus and lemon ricotta is set off by carciuga, a purée of artichoke and anchovy traditionally from Piedmont, while skewers of chewy chicken skin are grilled, then brushed with tocj, which is what Friulano people call the roasting juices of the chicken.
The handmade pasta? As good as ever, from the smoky brilliance of garganelli, Emilia-Romagna's finely-grooved tubes of egg pasta made with hot-smoked flour to the sweet-savoury comfort of cjalsons, half-moon agnolotti made with chestnut flour and stuffed with cheese, herbs and lemon zest. Factor in the bright, switched-on service under restaurant manager Caitlin Webb, and you're looking at the makings of your new favourite Italian restaurant.
Lulu La Delizia, Shop 5/97 Rokeby Rd (Forrest Walk), Subiaco, WA, (08) 9381 2466, lululadelizia.com.au