Treat 22: Yes, we can, can, can, can, can, can, can, can, can! Everybody can-can! Outside it may be rainy but in here it’s entertaining!

What am I on about this time? Besides loving food I do love a good musical so I couldn’t help myself with using song lyrics from Moulin Rouge. Ahh I can hear you say ‘I was wondering where that was from’. It’s a shame you can’t shazam words to find out songs, it would be handy. Now before I change this blog to be about things you can’t remember let’s get straight to the food. It was a cold and rainy Tuesday night, a night like no other. Why? My dad was outside the house on a weeknight, a very rare sighting. You have a greater chance of seeing a leprechaun or the lochness monster than my dad on a weeknight away from his couch and the 7pm ABC news. No tonight was different as I asked him to come along to this work function, which was near the Mount Lawley area and so how could we not have dinner on the Beaufort St strip. I actually think it’s illegal to just drive through Mount Lawley without stopping for at least a coffee. Now my dad likes the simple things in life, growing up the family weekend treat was Hungry Jacks so I do have a soft spot for the bacon deluxe and grilled chicken burger. While dad is the breadwinner in the family I have been given the new role of choosing the restaurants for the weekend treat. After a very unsuccessful outing on Saturday night at Tamarind in Mt Hawthorn (not enough vegetables and too salty for the parents) I had to redeem myself. My confidence was shot. So when my dad mentioned he felt like spaghetti I was really wary of taking him to any Italian restaurant. I didn’t want to fail again; I have a reputation after all so the restaurant of choice was Cantina 663. My dad was in shock at how busy it was and the fact on a rainy Tuesday night we had to wait 20 minutes for a table. He couldn’t believe it. I had to tell him that not everyone here watches the 7pm ABC news. In my dad’s defence he gets up at 5am everyday and is still working as a labourer in his 60’s. He’s been doing it for over 35 years and I am so proud of him. I hope I’m active as him when I get to his age. He gets home at around 5.30 and still has energy to tend to his beloved garden. So you have to understand that by 8pm at night he doesn’t want to be eating dinner, he wants to be asleep on his couch. So I have been ranting on for awhile now and have made no mention of food so here I go. Cantina has been hit and miss with me over the years mainly for its service. The restaurant gets so busy even this Tuesday night that the waitstaff might not be the friendliest beasts. Most of the waitstaff have accents and its fun trying to guess them. The menu isn’t for easy reading, I didn’t know what half the things were on the menu. So we asked the questions and then ordered three mains including:

-gnocchi with black sugo, roasted chilli and cuttlefish
-slow cooked lamb, piperade, crisp buckwheat and pecerino
-porcini and pork belly ragu pappardelle

Did you know what any of that was? Neither did I. This was a fantastic learning experience. Cantina change the menu seasonally and my favourite gnocchi combination they do with carrot, walnut, radicchio, gorgonzola was changed for cuttlefish and black sugo. What is black sugo? Good question. I still don’t know the answer to that one and I even googled it. They must have made it up. I am going back there just to find out and because the dish was delicious. My brother ordered the pork belly dish and I had food envy. I love pasta sheets more than gnocchi and so it didn’t take us long before we swapped. My dad loved his slow cooked lamb and all three of us kept trading off our plates to try all the meals. Sharing is caring after all. Dad’s verdict, he loved Cantina and can’t wait to take mum there. Cantina is perfect for a date night with it’s dark interior and romantic candle-lit ambience. Though it was too late for dessert this time, it’s definitely on the radar next time. I’m just so excited that my dad enjoyed a place I chose so my bad run has ended. It was a HUGE gamble, the food at Cantina is a bit left of centre and the menu can sound pretentious. Dad recommends they have an English translation on the menu. I had to break it to him that the menu was in English with some fancy words thrown in. The waiters though rushed off their feet do take the time to translate the menu to the everyday punter. It reminds me of the hard to read specials at Billy Kwongs in Surry Hills. The waiters automatically know you are going to ask them to read the menu for you; the menu is more of a novelty. Overall, Cantina impressed my dad and that impressed me. He is a tough critic, I mean really how can you blame him. Once you try my mum’s cooking you will know what I mean. I’ll make sure to share with you my mum’s opinion on Cantina once we convince her to go.


Gnocchi with cuttlefish and black sugo, which my brother thought was delicious but we don’t know what it is. Any ideas?

Absolutely delicious…the photo does not do this justice. If you like fresh pasta then you will love this dish!

My brother is tall so he likes to take photos that are really up high to prove to everyone he’s very tall. That might not be his reasoning but he did the same thing to my graduation photos. Yes I’m holding a grudge. This is the lamb dish but it’s hard to tell from way up there (he’s 6ft 3 – much taller than his 5ft twin sister, that’s me by the way).

Cantina 663 on Urbanspoon

2 responses to “Treat 22: Yes, we can, can, can, can, can, can, can, can, can! Everybody can-can! Outside it may be rainy but in here it’s entertaining!

  1. Hi Travel + Eat
    I am the chef at cantina 663
    thanks for your interesting and humourous review
    I think I can resolve the black sugo dilemma even if google can’t ;)
    Sugo is an Italian word that sometimes refers to tomato sauce, in the case of our gnocchi dish the sugo is a tomato sauce that is coloured with cuttlefish ink… hence it being “black” sugo.
    Cheers and keep on blogging

    Anthony and the Cantina Crew

  2. Thanks Anthony for answering the question. My friends and I were debating about it last week so this will put all our minds to rest. Looking forward to reviewing Cantina for brunch. Thanks again!

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