CBD Italian crowdpleaser with a winning wine bar bringing it home.
As appealing as it is to make the descent from St Georges Terrace down into the sprawling space that is Lalla Rookh, order a bitter aperitivo and sink into a shared six-course il Capo menu, if you’re not visiting the Wine Store – either before, after or entirely on its own – you’re missing out. Compared with the restaurant itself, the space has an intimate feel, accentuated by the chequered floor, the bottles lining the walls and personable service that feels specifically tailored to your wants and needs.
The spaghetti with Shark Bay crab and fennel is enlivened with just enough of that famed dried mullet roe, bottarga.
If you do then slip into the restaurant proper, you’ll take your pick from seats in the outdoor basement courtyard, at bar stools and tall tables, or at banquettes, all geared for different crowds at different times. The menu, though, stays consistent, with the offer being Italian food at its most rewarding. Perhaps octopus skewers with a mighty fine and delicate romesco. Or a pig’s head bruschetta – like a jellied brawn – on bread with mustard and capers.
The spaghetti with Shark Bay crab and fennel is enlivened with just enough of that famed dried mullet roe, bottarga, while braised shoulder of wild boar with Jerusalem artichoke, apple and the freshest hazelnuts absolutely shines. Bring the tone of the Wine Store into the main room and Lalla Rookh would shine just as brightly.