Rusted-on pasta lovers and Italophiles, we’ve found your restaurant. Lulu La Delizia is a paean to Northern Italian cuisine. For the truly devout it rivals Italy’s finest trattorias. Founded scarcely a year ago by former Lalla Rookh head chef Joe Valvasori, Lula la Delizia is not only named after his own Italian Nonna, it pays homage to her recipes and the culinary traditions of her native Fruili with a menu specialising in ‘pasta and delights.’ Lace curtains, an open kitchen and attentive service underscoring a homely ambience that is business-like but friendly.
Valvasori not only reverses the convention of serving pasta as primi or first course, he elevates it to a whole new level. There’s magic too, in his house ’delights’ which act as a kind of primi. Just one morsel of stracciatella di burrata imbues the word ‘delight’ with new meaning as surely as this establishment scuttles pre-conceived notions of Italian dining. Criss-crossed with saffron-pickled fennel strips, anointed with orange mostarda and dressed with EVO and horseradish, this creamy mozzarella cheese is transmuted into a heavenly manna.
A carne cruda—crostini topped with raw beef—achieves lift-off with smoked bone marrow and anchovy salsa. A smoked spaghetti with mushrooms seduces the palette like no other. A double-sided linguine—one of squid ink, the other of saffron is miraculous. Served with vongole or clams, its flavours mirror Valvasori’s ambition to marry the earthy, elemental traditions of Fruili with the exotic flavours of the Venetian spice route. Desserts too, are just as inventive, with a fried Venetian custard hitting sublime notes.
With an affordable wine list and ample by-the-glass options from both Italy and Australia Lulu la Delizia bridges two worlds. But make no mistake, it is in a class all its own.