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965 Beaufort Street, InglewoodPrawn
Ph: (08) 9271 6366

An almost hidden gem    

DON’T miss this amazing Modern Italian restaurant hidden at the far end of Beaufort Street in Inglewood.
I entered through the open Italian courtyard and immediately felt like I was in Tuscany. Warmly welcomed by owner and Chef Mark Cecchi, you could feel the strong focus on customer service, which is certainly refreshing. Is this the Italian way of hospitality? If so, I like it.
Meat2The atmosphere and décor is homely yet elegantly sophisticated, with floral finishing touches made by front of house manager Kylee Cecchi. Add amazing ‘Liquor Lad’ Nick with his extensive knowledge of beer and wine, and you have a great team.
We began with Salmon Carpaccio, fig, fennel and radish, with 2011 Bastianich Friulano, Friuli: each element on the plate encouraged each other, cracked pepper sweetened the flavour, fresh figs from Nonna’s garden alongside an aniseed infusion of fennel were well matched, as was the Friulano – a very nice light entrée.
Next, Roman Gnocchi with pancetta- wrapped Shark Bay prawns: the nutmeg infused ‘potato-free’ gnocchi was delightfully light – something I’m still dreaming about. The Shark Bay prawns tasted like they’d jumped out of the ocean into the pan, and the pancetta was crisp and flavoursome. A magnificent dish for seafood lovers, as was the Cecchi’s Pescatora Strozzapreti – pescatora meaning fish and strozzapreti ‘priest-strangler’ – pasta, which was al dente pasta perfection. Succulent chunks of salmon, prawn and scallop melted in your mouth, parsley and garlic crumbs sprinkled over the top added a wonderfully crunchy texture enhanced with 2012 McHenry Hohnen Chardonnay from Margaret River which brought out bursts of tomato flavour.
Crispy Duck Breast, quinoa, hazelnut, pickled radicchio, goat’s cheese: a wonderful combination paired Biscuttewith 2011 Argiano Rosso Di Montalcino, bringing out the nutty taste of hazelnuts and rich duck flavour. The quinoa added nice texture, and goat’s cheese and sweet potato is always a great match.
The Lamb Saddle, prosciutto, tempura eggplant, broccolini, roasted tomato puree was the star of the day. A special addition on this plate making my mouth water just thinking about it, was a ‘lamb shoulder press’, consisting of braised, shredded lamb with a caramelised outer crust. A true home-style flavour hit tasting as though Grandma had had a go at fine dining. The tempura eggplant was a delightfully light, great dipping tool to soak up the roasted tomato puree on the bottom of this wonderful dish.
To finish – sweet versus savoury – two decadent desserts and a delectable dessert wine from Heggies Vineyard (Eden Valley) – 2012 Botrytis Riesling – adding hints of passionfruit to both dishes. First, the Chocolate Sable, with airy, sweet yet savoury pumpkin mousse sandwiched between crunchy chocolate biscuit and the creamiest home made maple syrup ice-cream. Then I was taken to pure dessert heaven with the tart of spiced parsnip, honey and thyme ice-cream –this should be Cecchi’s signature dessert – the most sublime tart I’ve experienced: crumbly, buttery pastry base filled with sweet yet salty fudge-like parsnip goodness, topped with honey and thyme ice- cream. If you’ve never tried savoury desserts before, this will surely convert you.
Something Mark said stuck in my mind (I’d asked him what inspired his dishes): “Everything must have a purpose, or it doesn’t go in the dish.” And although his Italian family and his training in Italy had a huge influence in making Mark the great Chef he is today, it’s his way of thinking that makes Cecchi’s so good. Every morsel on every plate had its place, casual fine dining never tasted better. What more could a girl desire than leaving on a dessert high?
By Lea Satie
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