FRINGE was in full swing and my mate and I were off to the Pleasure Gardens, but first we stopped off at Il Padrino to ensure we had the stamina to make the distance.
The Italian eatery has been around Northbridge for a while, although it’s moved a time or two just to keep its customers on their toes.
The decor is pure kitsch but the feel is pure family and reminded me of my time in Capo d’Orlando, Sicily where mums, dads, grandparents and kids fill the piazzas for dinner—but never before 9 at night.
We were quickly seated by an open window, sipping a glass of wine when the waiter arrived with complimentary slices of pizza bianca, a chewy pizza base topped with rosemary and rock salt.
In hindsight we shouldn’t have ordered the bruschetta ($10), but we weren’t to know just how big the pizza, nor how generous the serve of risotto, were going to be, so it’s not our fault.
Bruschetta simply means toast in Italian, and there are as many variations as there are ways to singe bread. But you know what, all the varieties are said brusketta and not brushetta. Ok. Good.
This version was more pizza than any other I’ve had, a lovely nutty and crunchy slab topped with tomato and cheese. Not what I’d expected but great.
My mate and I shared a mushroom risotto ($25.50) and a Papa John Paul II pizza ($25). The arborio was deliciously creamy and flavoursome and we tucked in with gusto.
The arrival of the pizza stopped us mid-slurp: it was as big as a wheel on the Popemobile and came fully loaded with tomato, cheese, mushrooms, artichoke, olives, roast capsicum and spinach. We took home more than we could eat.
Il Padrino’s menu is extensive with a great range of pasta dishes including the good old standards, bolognese and lasagna ($24).
Or there’s veal done three different ways ($32) or baby goat with Tuscan vegetables ($33). Sad for the kid but hey, yum.
With a great-looking tiramisu and a choice of sweet pizzas on offer we were tempted to linger longer but buffed bodies performing feats of strength awaited at La Soiree and we were happy to settle for eye candy.
by JENNY D’ANGER
94 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge
open Tues–Fri lunch and dinner,
Sat/Sun dinner. Closed Monday