Hot to trot   

GREEN, white and red speedos at the ready – summer is here!

The mercury was nudging 36 when we went to Zuccaro Trattoria in North Perth on Tuesday night.

Thankfully the owners had opened the bi-fold doors, which spanned the entire front of the restaurant and let in a pleasant evening breeze.

The trattoria is run by a Sicilian family and has a spacious open plan dining area with a chequered floor and black-and-red tables and chairs. It was bright and modern, and a welcome change from some Italian restaurants that are poky and overdo the “Little Italy” shtick.

The main attraction at Zuccaro is the pizzas, and their menu had an extensive range of pizza rosse and bianche including Patanella (potatoes, salsiccia, smoked scarmoza, cipolla rossa and basil) and Bresaola (bresaola, mozzarella, basil, rocket, shaved parmigiano and cherry tomatoes).

There were lots of pizzas with unfamiliar toppings, making a refreshing change from the bog-standard margherita and capricciosa.

The rest of the menu had a decent selection of Italian pastas, salads and entrees, and a handful of classic mains like veal medallions in a creamy mushroom sauce. There were also some specials on a small board at the till, but I wasn’t aware of these until I went to pay, which was slightly disappointing.

The pleasant waitress soon arrived with my pasta with meatballs ($25) – surely the test of any good trattoria.

These giant beef and pork specimens had a strong meaty punch with a dash of fragrant herbs to keep your palate on its toes. The accompanying slow-cooked bolognese sauce was rich and had great depth of flavour, while the copious spaghetti was just the right thickness and al dente.

This dish was elevated by a liberal sprinkling of cheese, which melted on top and gave it a lovely gooey coda. A very tasty and large dish, which was so big I couldn’t finish it.

Across the table, my wife was wearing her summer dress and enjoying her pizza funghi ($25) with porcini and champignon mushrooms.

“It’s got that authentic crispy base and a lovely tomato sauce,” she said. “The mushrooms are packed with a flavour, but some more greens would have kept the interest alive for another slice.”

“It’s great value, but after half a pizza I’m done – it’s bigger than Ben-Hur.” 

Throughout the meal there was a loud ticking noise, like a cartoon bomb was about to go off, which seemed to be emanating from one of the ceiling fans. 

It was a bit annoying and should be fixed.

But my young kids didn’t care and were busy annihilating their ham and cheese kids pizzas ($12 each), which didn’t look much smaller than my wife’s.

They didn’t stop for breath and managed about three giant slices before waving the white flag and slumping back in their seat, caked in tomato sauce. 

I’ll take that as a huge vote of approval.

The kids’ pizzas included a vanilla ice cream, which made it great value for money.

None of us finished our dishes because they were too big, and I wondered if the chef could make smaller meals that were slightly more sophisticated, scarifying some of the girth.

The trattoria was a popular option for takeaway and outside an old Italian flag was getting buffeted by the wind as people left clutching boxes of freshly made pizza.

There were also landscape paintings by a local artist on the walls, adding a nice community vibe to the BYO.

Zuccaro Trattoria is a solid option for a casual Italian meal and their pizzas are first class.

Zuccaro Trattoria
448 Fitzgerald St, North Perth
6184 8820

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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