I decided to try Lupo Lab for lunch, but don’t worry it’s not a themed diner where you drink out of test tubes and eat from petri dishes.
It’s actually a stylish Italian restaurant on Scarborough Beach Road.
Situated opposite the Mezz shopping centre, the interestingly named Lupo Lab is part of a nice row of eateries and shops, including Diabolik Books & Records (good to see there are a few book shops still around).
Lupo’s lunch menu had a compact range of antipasti, pasta, main-style dishes, salads and sides.
I was tempted for the lamb chops marinated with garlic, rosemary and bay leaves, or the slow cooked beef cheeks, but they looked a bit heavy for lunch so I ended up going for the tonnarelli all’amatriciana ($25).
There was a good range of pastas and the gnocchi porcini and mushroom, and the fettuccine with spicy crab also looked very inviting.
Initially I thought my tonnarelli all’amatriciana was a bit on the small side, but it was deceptive with a deep bowl and thick strands of tonnarelli (a slightly thicker version of spaghetti with square edges).
The pecorino romano cheese added an indulgent creaminess to the locally sourced guanciale (cured pork cheek), which had great depth of flavour and intensity.
It was one of those pasta dishes which was both comforting and slightly refined, straddling Nonna’s house and a bistro.
The highlight was the combination of the cured pork cheek and the san marzano tomato sugo; a moreish and rich sauce that went perfectly with the al dente tonnarelli.
It had that slow cooked, complex flavour.
Lupo Lab use organic eggs, and specialty pasta flour and semolina from Italy, resting the dough in the traditional way to give it the best al dente texture.
It certainly had a nice firm bite and the sauce clinged well to the slightly rough edges on the pasta.
Apparently head chef Davide and his team make the pasta and gnocchi fresh every day.
The portion was just the right size for my lunch, but some might have wanted a bit more on the plate.
I washed it down with a large bottle of sparkling water ($6) which was very refreshing.
Lupo Lab’s founder Mirko, hails from Italy, where he grow up working at his family’s restaurants in Rome.
Lupo seemed authentic with two old Italians settling down for lunch and conversing with the owner and staff in their native tongue.
The interior was pretty classy with table service and refined fixtures and fittings.
Sometimes I’m put off going to restaurants for lunch where a waiter takes your order, as it can take too long if you have appointments looming, but the service was super quick and polite, so they obviously cater for a quick turnaround.
Lupo Lab also had a takeaway coffee and cake section, so I got a fruit tart and a chocolate tart (both $4.50) to take home for my wife and kids.
“The chocolate tart looks like it would be quite heavy, but the chocolate is actually lovely and light and the strawberries taste nice and fresh,” my wife said.
“The casing has a nice buttery flavour.”
Across the table, the kids enjoyed their deliciously looking custard tart, which was topped with kiwi fruit, blueberries and strawberry.
Lupo Lab is a bit more expensive for lunch, but you are paying for top drawer ingredients and dishes, so it’s definitely worth it.
I’ll be back to try some of their well-regarded coffee and maybe the odd limoncello from the bar.
151-153 Scarborough Beach Road, Perth
by STEPHEN POLLOCK