The Thursday night before the Easter Long weekend Madam Rabbit and I visited a quaint Italian joint on the edge of Vic Park with three newcomers to Perth Food Blog, Quizman, the Bay City Rollergirl and Ecky Thump.
We began with a selection of starters, being two bruschettas (one traditional, or 'tradizionale', and one 'alla greca') and a belt of arancini balls (I don't know the appropriate collective noun for arancini balls, but I humbly submit the term 'belt' - it was between 'belt' and 'clutch'). There were three kinds of arancini balls on the plate, two vegetarian kinds (one made with mushroom and the other made from zucchini) and one kind for the meat-eaters (with prosciutto). All of these starters were delicious, and set a wonderful tone for the rest of the evening to come.
The mains were perhaps a step behind the starters, but still pretty good. To summarise:
- The Bay City Rollergirl chose the vegetarian special, which was an eggplant parmigiana. Both she and Madam Rabbit said it was very nice, and I also think it was refreshing for the vegos to be able to select something that wasn't gnocchi. I'm hopeful that eggplant parmigiana is something a few other restaurants can incorporate into their menus, perhaps with some innovative twists from other cultures?
- Madam Rabbit ordered the tagliatelle al pesto and said that it was good, but not great. Perhaps a little bit boring. At the time we ate she said good enough things, though, so I perhaps wonder whether she just had parmigiana envy.
- Ecky Thump ordered the duck pasta special, which I believe was a pappardelle pasta (because I take my role as Mr Blue seriously, I have literally googled and researched shapes of pasta noodles to make the best guess as to what pasta this was). Ecky Thump said it was scrumptious and completely satisfying.
- I ordered the tagliatelle al ragu'e piselli and found that it was ok, but not earth-shaking. It needed more ragu. Also, something I noticed for both tagliatelles is that they were very al-dente. I'm sure this is deliberate, as Amici Miei comes across as a very heartfelt traditional Italian restaurant, but I think I'm one of those heathens that prefers pasta a little softer.
- Quizman ordered the gnocchi and said it was very nice. By sight alone I'd say it certainly passes the cheese test (i.e. is there a molten mantle of cheese to drill through before reaching the main event). We did notice, however, that Quizman was more interested in playing the quiz game on his phone than eating the dish. Suspicious.
- Madam Rabbit and I shared the dessert special, which was a peach coated with crunchy stuff, alongside cream and custard. It was how I imagine a traditional Italian chef would try to emulate an Australian grandmother's fruit/sherry trifle. It was very nice. It was nice enough to seriously call into question our Dessert Sharing Policy as Madam Rabbit, still cranky about not ordering the parmigiana, took well more than her fair share.
- The Bay City Rollergirl and Ecky Thump shared the panna cotta and said it was wonderful. These two have become panna cotta connoisseurs of late and said that this one did not disappoint.
A standard drinks affair. Madam Rabbit picked up a aperol spritz, which looked good, and the others went with a mix of coke, beer and wine.
Service was very very good. Both our waiters spoke (what I assume was) fluent Italian with some of the customers, and would regularly check on us to make sure we were ok. It bordered on too much, but didn't quite get there. We never needed to ask for more water as bottles were regularly replaced. We all felt very well taken care of and at home.
Amici Miei looks like a residential house that has been converted into a restaurant and I really, really like the feel they have created. It may be because I love the older houses that are sprinkled throughout Vic Park, but the polished old wooden floorboards, high ceilings and open plan creates a wonderful atmosphere. There is an expansive outdoor area out the front and plenty of room for grande tables inside as well. I hope the place gets busier soon, as it almost felt a little empty while we were there (not that this is necessarily a bad thing!)
A really enjoyable evening. The prices were perhaps bordering on expensive, as is always the case with Perth, but a wonderful experience and probably worth the price. Our only complaint were the mains, in that they were perhaps a little too traditional and could have benefited from some more intense flavours and (for me personally) some longer time in the water.
It's a nice family restaurant, or first date restaurant. Not really a party place for big groups - more of an intimate setting.
It's lovely restaurant and I encourage you to check it out.
8 traditional Italian trifles out of 10