Homestyle Italian from Cafe Sannio, Stirling
Once upon a time, way before I was with Jeremy, I went to Cafe Sannio. I wasn't too impressed with the location - a dank and dark block in Stirling near Balcatta. But I was very impressed with the food and that, like always, is all that matters.
So for the past month or so while he and I have been venturing out to all different restaurants, I had it in the back of my mind that this was a place he would love. Big servings. Homestyle cooking and flavours. And a big fire burning pizza oven inside that lets off just the most incredible aromas as food is pumped out.
Since I'd been at the hairdressers for the past 3 hours (or near that time), I rang Jeremy to ask if take away would suffice for dinner instead of home cooking. He happily obliged and Cafe Sannio was the first place that popped in my head.
I rang ahead for my order which was ready within one minute of my arrival twenty minutes later. And though it was weeknight, the restaurant was nearly completely full.
Fifteen minutes later we were opening our containers and breathing in the heedy scents of italian cooking.
The garlic bread was plentiful. A massive serving for only $6. It was thick slices of crusty bread; golden brown with thick lashings of butter and mounds of smeared garlic and parsley. Just the right accompaniment for some saucy pasta. Mmmm.
I had chosen two pastas for us to share - as always wanting two different tastes so nothing too similar. First up was a fettucini pasta mixed with a prawn topping. Succulent and fresh prawns sat among a sauce of garlic, white wine, cream and tomato with parmesan and cherry tomatoes. Pretty great stuff.
It was a rich sauce, a beautiful orange colour from the mix of liquids and seasoned to a tee. The garlic was wrapped around all the ingredients and infused in each bite. The fettucini noodles cut just slightly wider than I'd usually stumble across.
For $23, it was a great sized dish with a generous supply of seafood. Jeremy was impressed and soon enough it had disappeared before my eyes.
The second was one of my go to dishes. Gnocchi. WIth alla panna sauce - cream, bacon, mushroom and white wine. It is so sinfully delicious I don't even know where to start. It's cheesy from the parmesan which has melted into the sauce; and thickly creamy in a truly flavoursome way.
The mushrooms are cooked just right; dark in colour but retaining a bite. The bacon salty and sliced into bite sized strips.
The gnocchi might not look like anything pretty but it has great texture. Yield but still is slightly doughy. It's not cloying and has a great taste to it. It's so easy to get gnocchi wrong, so I have to hand it to them that they've done it right. Especially when it's enough for at least two meals for me, all at $18.
Gnocchi alla panna
Cafe Sannio is the neighbourhood restaurant you'd imagine encountering in Italy. It's great ingredients, great cooking and great tastes. The plating (or take away) isn't pretty but the food doesn't disappoint. At all.