Osso buco to die for at Lalla Rookh
Monday evening was a bit of a special occasion, marking when Derek and I started going out many years ago, and what better way to celebrate such an occasion than a feast!
Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House caught my attention on Instagram a few months ago and having viewed the menu there were some great stand out dishes especially the homemade pasta and sausage. Once you have enjoyed freshly made pasta, it’s mighty difficult to go back to the dried variety, although for its convenience, the dried pasta makes an appetizing quick dinner on those late nights when the thought of cooking seems like an arduous task.
After work we headed into the city and were off to a good start when we snagged a car bay on St Georges Terrace, avoiding the need to do laps. Any other capital city this would be near impossible in the CBD but good old Perth, can be quite accommodating!
Lalla Rookh is located in the bottom floor of the Allendale Square skyscraper, opposite London Court on St Georges Terrace. We found our way to the restaurant using the door next to Zensaki Japanese. Alternatively, there is a stair case leading down to the concealed restaurant on the street level of St Georges Terrace to the left side when facing Allendale Square.
As we walked into Lalla Rookh we enter a bar area and were about to take a seat when we noticed a quaint area behind a screen wall, as we poked our heads around the corner we discover a dining room. We didn’t have a booking for the evening, we tend to be last minute diners and certainly counted ourselves lucky to be led to a free table when we realised over half of the tables were reserved in the room!
We kicked off the evening with a round of celebratory drinks, for me the Lalla Rookh Sparkling and Derek a pint of the Mountain Goat Summer Ale. The Margaret River sparkling was rich in body and dry to sip on, two qualities I like to see in my drink. We ordered the marinated local olives and cacciatore classico salami to have with the drinks. The olives were meaty and salty. The thin corn crackers complimented the cacciatore pleasantly, not taking away from the flavour of the soft cured meat. Next time we’ll order two plates of this dish as it disappeared far too quickly. We were also given a complimentary plate of bread.
Derek went with one of the pasta dishes from the Autumn section of the menu, the pappardelle. The wide flat ribbon pasta was al dente and tossed in a sauce of shredded rabbit, prunes and chestnuts. This hunter style of dish was delicious with mild flavours in the sauce, the sweetness of the prunes was great. Derek loved that a ramekin of finely grated cheese was provided with the dish, although he barely touched it, he was relishing the flavours of the sauce more.
Pappardelle with wild rabbit, prune, chestnuts
Osso buco is a beautiful dish to have in the cooler months, it’s warming and quite hearty. The veal is braised over time and the result is a soft juicy meat with plenty of flavour. This evening I found my nonnas flavours in this Osso buco dish and it made me so happy to eat. She has Alzheimers and we never recorded down her beloved recipes and so every now and then when I come across food that reminds me of her, I’m really grateful. Thank you chef.
The meat holds around the bone nicely and as I start to tuck in, it was incredibly soft to pull away. I liked the generous portion of sharp tasting cheese on top, it looks a little like delicate fairy floss. On the plate there was a combination of peas, little dumplings called spaetzli and salty pancetta. There was a lot of flavour in the Osso buco and the best part was the bone marrow inside, it was divine.
Osso buco ‘in bianco’ venetian home-style veal, spaetzli, pancetta & peas GF
Following our indulgent and satisfying main dishes, we started to resign to the fact that we couldn’t possibly fit dessert in, and we must try it next time. However, when the waitress cleared our dishes and left a dessert menu behind, on impulse, I ordered the pannacotta. I was eager for dessert even before we started our mains and it turned out the hasty decision was the perfect way to end the meal. The grand finale!
The pannacotta was solid in stature and yet it had such a creamy soft texture with a wonderful jaffa flavour. Layers of honey, roasted cocoa and finely chopped walnut created a dessert experience that
I we didn’t want to end, and was drawn out by slowly taking mouthfuls and savouring the flavours.
Pannacotta vera, roasted cocoa, walnut crumble
It’s not difficult to say that our dining experience at Lalla Rookh got us all a little excited; rustic Italian flavours, decent portions and a lively atmosphere were the highlights of the evening. We left Lalla Rookh talking about returning for the Il Capo (Chef’s Selection) menu and also hanging out in the bar over dessert and champagne on a Friday night. Lalla Rookh also have their own wine store located off the dining room and diners can bring back a bottle to the table for dinner (corkage applies). For a more casual dining setting, you can dine in the wine store too. We love the salami and seasonal sections of the menu and the recognition of gluten-free dishes.
We’ll be back!