Technically speaking, despite how a picture tells a thousand words - as a food writer, I could be riddled to nothing without my words. Realistically, the magazines I write for pay by the word and my clients request everything from effective hashtags to catchy phrases...but what happens when an experience leaves me absolutely stumped? Sometimes I find the more that I like a restaurant, the more my thoughts don't translate into well constructed sentences. The excitement of each course being presented at the table cannot be fulfillingly retold and there are only so many synonyms for too many feelings.
In the recent months, I've certainly not been a stranger to Lalla Rookh - upon arrival, the waitstaff occasionally share my coy smile and I indulge into the lead up to my favourite pasta course, which is always beautifully introduced by the man behind the magic, Chef Joel Valvasori. I'm really fond of Chef's Menus, Prix Fixes and Degustations - ordering ala carte always makes me feel like I'm missing out on something. The il capo menu at Lalla Rookh offers 6 courses for $55 per person, which easily makes it one of the most affordable degustations you're likely to come across in Perth.
Upon each visit, the menu alters slightly - so far, there's always been a different pasta and something delightfully generous for the carnivores. No matter what, you leave the table full and immensely satisfied, but not before an espresso or a neat nightcap to conclude a well done meal.
The first course is like a thin veil into what's to come; expect the unexpected, enjoy the freshness of the beef carpaccio and don't be surprised if the entire plate disappears within an instant.
The second course is less predictable - I've had a salad on one occasion and a platter of perfectly cooked prawns on another. Yes, I devoured them in their entirety; heads, tails and everything in between.
On every occasion, my friends and I have all committed the cardinal sin whilst enjoying the il capo menu - we can't help but openly hope and even request for Joel's irresistible bone marrow. The dish is as luxurious as it is forgiving; forget your table manners and do nothing less than pick up the bone with your fingers and savour every last slip of that rich, molten marrow.
The pasta is an ever changing affair; always made in-house, perfectly al dente and paired with the most unexpected of flavours and textures that always seem to come together. To be quite honest, I'm still not over that Smoked Eel Tagliolini that stole my heart last year.
Each savoury course consists of all-star selections from Lalla Rookh's impressive menu - it's perfect for those like me who simultaneously can't choose and love to be surprised. The sheer quality of the ingredients used, as well as the pride taken in creating these dishes in house is evident with every bite. The sausages especially were memorable as one of the most pleasant courses I've ever had at Lalla Rookh.
The pannacotta vera is my clear favourite amongst the three rotating desserts; the texture of the crunchy cocoa and the smoothness of pannacotta all round out beautifully on the tongue. Despite the ending always being a sweet one and being extremely full, in the moment of the final course touching down before us, I always wish that I could go back and do it all again.
"We offer an all-day menu suitable for long lunches, mid- afternoon grazing and late night dinners at the bar." - How they describe their menu, I think, embodies the unique spirit that I feel every time I walk into Lalla Rookh. It's my restaurant reliable, easily my sole favourite restaurant in Perth - it's in it's own way, mysterious, endlessly comforting and definitely fancy; the type of place that you could impress just about anyone in, without getting hot under the collar or cashing in your life savings.
Price: $$$$ | $50+ per person for il capo menu
Contact: (08) 9325 7077
Address: 77 St. George's Terrace, Perth City
Lalla Rookh Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday from 11:30AM till 12:00AM
Saturday from 5:00PM till 12:00AM
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