There’s a lot to unpack with Si Paradiso. Opened late last year on the Highgate site that was previously home to the cult nightspots Late Night Valentine and Luxe Bar, you could, as they have, call its tongue-in-cheek, pleasingly camp mix of mood lighting, glitter balls and vintage black and white portraits, ‘nuovo Italian-Australian’.
There’s a ground floor bar and dining room, basement bar with a bijou dance floor and an al fresco courtyard that throws a bit of Balinese greenery into the mix, containing another bar and a stage with stepped amphitheatre seating that hosts live acts.
But self-consciously scruffy good looks (and good tunes) aren’t worth much without drinks to match. Luckily Si Paradiso is more than just a pretty place with a smart soundtrack.
The cocktail list talks Italian with Americanos, spritzes, negronis and vermouths, while the wine selection mixes the imported and the homegrown by championing bottles from off-kilter Italian and Australian (WA gets a good show) producers.
The menu of Italianate small plates is an exercise in produce-focussed simplicity designed for snacking while drinking, while those in search of something more substantial can turn to the 12-strong list of pizzas, divided between ‘Rosso’ (made with a DOP San Marzano sauce) and ‘Bianca’ (for the posh imported tomato-sauce phobic), the toppings delivered on a dough developed by Chu Bakery that keeps it light and crispy with the right amount of chew.