GT caught up with Lalla Rookh's Joel Valvasori-Pereza to talk all things Italian.
What's Lalla Rookh's take on Italian food, Joel?
Everything's handmade. We're trying to create beauty out of humble dishes, so we really wanted to take the humblest of dishes, take them that little bit further and apply our skills to them and really make them sing.
Do you focus on a particular region in your cooking?
We draw from across the board, but a lot of the flavour base comes from the north-east. That's my heritage; my family comes from a province called Pordenone in Friuli, and I guess a lot of the flavour that comes through my family's home cooking comes through in a lot of the dishes.
Can you give us a tasty example?
We've got bone marrow coming in from Blackwood Valley Beef down south. A lot of people roast bone marrow, but we braise it in what I call my nonna's sugo, which is basically the base sauce for a lot of my nonna's dishes. It's a lightly tomatoed vegetable ragù with cinnamon, rosemary, lots of herbs, so quite a rich dish. We give it a braise, then serve it with some grilled focaccia bruschetta, so you scoop the marrow out and put it on the bread, and away it goes.
What's your go-to Italian comfort dish?
Nonna's tagliatelle with chicken and vegetable ragù is my all-time favourite. Of all the pasta that she made growing up, that would have been the one that constantly really ticked all the boxes for me. Just smelling the chicken, rosemary and cinnamon cooking is like walking back into her house again. That's the dish for me.
Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House, 77 St Georges Tce, Perth, WA, (08) 9325 7077.