In the newest Italian addition to North Perth, the owners are laying down their Sardinian heritage.
A cosy spot between a hairdresser and a bookshop in North Perth Plaza might be the last place expected to conjure thoughts of Sardinia, but one bite of Acqua e Sale’s pane carasau – salty, crunchy discs of flatbread – and suddenly the southern island feels within reach.
Warm and attentive service from a close-knit team, led by husband-wife owners Ina Pasilyte (pastry chef) and Fabio Concas (chef) with Concas’ twin brother Michele on the floor, goes some way to completing the illusion, as does a menu heavy on seafood.
Squid-ink spaghetti loaded with clams, mussels and fish and tossed with bottarga makes a strong, oceanic mark, while the hand-rolled malloreddus (a Sardinian specialty) has good bite and chew to go with a saffron-infused tomato sauce spiked with pork sausage. Gnocchi, meanwhile, is light and pillowy and thoughtfully comes in vegan, coated in a punchy cashew and basil pesto, peppered with rocket and given contrast with crisp potato crumbs.
One bite of Acqua e Sale’s pane carasau and suddenly Sardinia feels within reach.
Woodfired pizzas are well-seasoned with thin, lightweight bases, a bubbly crust and toppings ranging from classic Italian – with mozzarella and cured meats, say – to the crowd-pleasing if controversial ham and pineapple. The wine list, meanwhile, focuses on locals and Italians, with an emphasis on Sardinian grapes.
Perth has no shortage of Italian restaurants, but Acqua e Sale forges ahead in its own proud Sardinian style. Since opening in August, seats have been at a premium. With more specialties due to grace the menu, the local appetite for an island getaway right on our doorstep is surely set to strengthen.