Rising out of the Tyrrhenian Sea at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples lies the volcanic island of Ischia (pronounced ISS-key-ah). With its warm Mediterranean climate and fertile volcanic soil, the island provides a rich bounty of quality produce year-round, including some of Italy’s highest quality wines. Hailing from Ischia are the Conte brothers, Sebi and Daniele, who are proud to bring the traditional cuisine of their island home to Ischia Restaurant in the heart of Highgate.
Between them, Sebi and Daniele have over 40 years’ experience in the restaurant game, across Australia and Italy. Their depth of knowledge and skill is matched only by their passion for creating fresh, simple and delicious Italian food. Traditional Ischian dishes are a highlight of the menu, such as pesce all’acqua pazza (literally “fish in crazy water”) and coniglio all’Ischitana (light rabbit stew), as well as ever changing weekly features like slow cooked capretto (baby goat), linguine alla vongole (linguine with clams) and pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup).
Though there is something of a pizza revolution happening in Perth, few can compete with Ischia’s state-of-the-art woodfired oven. The secret lies in the dough, which is proofed for at least two days, providing an exceptionally light and fluffy base, then topped with lashings of Italian delicacies such as smoked pancetta, silky prosciutto and porcini mushrooms – with no less than nine types of cheese to choose from too! Pizza making is an art form which Ischia is only too happy to share, so their pizza chefs are given free reign to constantly create new masterpieces of texture and taste.
Then there’s the wine. The island itself is a DOC region (Denominazione di Origine Controllata – a strict quality assurance system for Italian wines). With ancient vines dating back to 700BC, it’s no surprise that Ischian wines are both highly unique and appealing. Biancolella is a grape exclusive to Ischia, grown in mineral-rich soils on the slopes of Mount Epomeo, warmed by the Mediterranean sun and cooled by the Tyrrhenian sea breeze. Ischia pairs this exceptional white wine with linguine puttanesca for a truly mouthwatering experience.
Ischia is a restaurant that will take you on an authentic Italian journey, whether it’s for a lunchtime aperitivo with the ladies, a Sunday session with pizzas and Peroni, or a birthday party with Nonna and the extended family. No matter the occasion, customers are always welcomed like old friends. And because restaurateuring runs in the Conte’s blood, you’ll find them on the floor at Ischia any day of the week, where they love to share their stories, culture and love for Ischian cuisine.
But in case that’s not enough, feel free to ask for something off-menu next time you’re there, perhaps your favourite Italian dish or a combination of your favourite pizza toppings – and prepare to be delighted!
500 Beaufort Street, Highgate