WHO is Tommy Sugo?

Apparently he’s a master of Italian food, and the kingpin of health, according to the eponymous restaurant’s website.

But it’s all just a bit of fun, with owners Nathan and Belinda Baws combining the slang for tomato and sauce in the name of their Leederville restaurant.

After years of great meals at the in-laws, Nathan reckoned the world should know what a good cook his father-in-law Sam is.

Now he’s cooking up a storm in a commercial kitchen, providing quick and tasty Italian food at affordable prices.

“His passion is about flavour and I’m a naturopath, and about healthy,” Nathan jokes.

“So it’s a battle over flavour and health.”

He’s been doing the rounds of shopping centres with pop-up eateries, and winning people over.

“Some people say they hate pasta, but they hate it because they’ve been subjected to the cardboard ones sold in supermarkets.”

The best seller is the duck with wild mushroom and Kakadu plum ravioli ($18), Nathan says.

“When people purchase it they will come back and say they have to have more.”

I dropped into the Oxford Street eatery for lunch last week.

Unlike most Italian restaurants, at Tommy Sugo you pick the pasta and then an accompanying sauce.

I went for the gnocchi ($11) with “hot chick”: a tomato sugo with chickpeas, fresh zucchini and a hint of chilli.

With trepidation I sampled the first potato dumpling, because I’ve had some shocking gnocchi, but this was a plump pillow of tenderness that soaked up the tasty sauce, smothered in parmesan.

Along with the dine-in meals there’s a “cook at home” range.

Not having to start from scratch on a very busy day was an appealing notion, and I left armed with a baked ricotta, sun-dried tomato and caramelised onion tortelloni ($14).

“The sauce?” I asked wallet in hand.

“No no, you need a simple burnt butter and sage sauce,” I was told by the very helpful lady in the kitchen.

She was spot on.

The sauce, which took a few minutes to prepare and was ready before the pasta boiled, was the perfect foil for the delicious tortelloni.

It was so good the other half was raving about it days later.

Tonight we’re having porcine mushroom pasta in a spicy red Napolitana sauce, and he’s even offered to cook it—well zap it in the microwave at least.

I call that a win, win—dinner cooked for me for just $16.


Tommy Sugo
225 Oxford Street, Leederville,
plus stores in Nedlands and Cannington

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