Tuesday was one of those grey, damp affairs – a pre-cursor to winter – and North Perth had all the vitality of a morgue.
I was trying to find the Golden Ravioli factory outlet, but somehow took a wrong turn and ended up in the Fitzgerald St car park, where stragglers from Dan Murphy’s were holding an executive business lunch.
Another wrong turn and I was in a dead end behind some industrial building, where a group of youths were sitting on the ground, drinking and taking drugs.
My pasta treasure hunt had taken a rather interesting and gritty detour, but after another drive around the block I finally found Golden Ravioli, which was setback from Fitzgerald St and easy to miss.
Golden’s pasta is sold in various delis and IGAs across Perth, but I didn’t realise they had a shop, so I decided to go along and see what it was like.
Scrupulously clean and minimalist, the small shopfront consisted of a display counter with freshly-made pasta, a small frozen section and a table with pasta sauces on it.
It was very much akin to a factory outlet, but nicely presented with a modern twist.
They stocked a range of freshly-made dishes including ravioli, lasagne (with or without béchamel), spinach and ricotta cannelloni, tortellini alla panna and chicken and spinach agnolotti.
I had already seen most of these dishes in delis and IGAs, but there were a few I hadn’t like the pappardelle.
The young lady behind the till was super friendly and full of smiles, so Golden gets brownie points for good customer service.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons they have been around for so long – the business can be traced back to four Italian brothers who immigrated from Tuscany to Perth in the 1950s and opened the Romany restaurant in Northbridge in 1958.
In Italy the brothers had been contadini or peasant farmers, working the land to sell their crops and livestock. This was the foundation for their knowledge of great ingredients and the importance of hard work.
After Romany closed, they launched their own range of pasta in 1964, Golden Ravioli, which proved a hit with locals and has been going strong for nearly 60 years.
After 45 minutes in the oven at 175 degrees Celsius, the lasagne with béchamel and pappardelle were ready (both 900g).
You can’t beat fresh pasta – I lost count of the number of silky smooth and super-light sheets in the lasagne. It was a delicious foundation for the creamy béchamel, parmigiano and mozzarella.
An indulgent combination that never ventured into the “too rich” territory and wasn’t overly salty.
The finishing touch was a lovely tomato sauce with minced pork.
Like in Italy, Golden’s pasta isn’t overloaded with meat and there’s just enough to keep you taste buds zinging and satisfy your protein urge. I’m a sucker for pappardelle (especially in a meatball dish) and this didn’t disappoint with the thick ribbons of pasta having a lovely smooth texture.
My only gripe – there wasn’t enough meat sauce to coat the pasta ribbons and the sauce tasted identical to the one used in the lasagne.
A bit more sauce with some diced peppers would have made things more interesting and kept me smiling until the end.
The next night for dinner we enjoyed the mammoth 1.3kg meat cannelloni.
It was a hit – the light pasta tubes were crammed with good-quality minced pork with a lovely sweet hit from the carrot and celery.
Rounding things off was a nice helping of spinach. A top quality dish that definitely hit the mark.
The prices are slightly cheaper at Golden Ravioli’s factory outlet and you get a wider variety of freshly-made meals as well as the odd curve ball, so it’s worth a visit if you need a top notch pasta dish to bung in the oven.
256 Fitzgerald St, North Perth
by STEPHEN POLLOCK