Yes I know it’s meant to be Layla but I’m sure Eric Clapton won’t mind. I’ll be honest I’m not the best at remembering song lyrics and on my walk towards La Lola I was singing the wrong lyrics. Don’t judge me. Anyways let me tell you the story about the first time I met Lola. It was 2010 and I had a feeling that this restaurant would be the beginning of my career as a restaurant suggester. You know that person that everyone asks where to eat…that’s who I wanted to be. To make it challenging I took my Italian mate Fran to an Italian restaurant of my choice…as you can guess that was La Lola. Fran was very impressed and I think it’s been my biggest achievement to date with her in terms of my restaurant choices. In the beginning of La Lola’s life it was doing amazing pizzas, pasta and other Italian favourites with crazy long queues as La Lola does not do bookings. The pizza is no longer there with the Chef deciding to focus on the main menu. Even though I loved the pizza and don’t get me wrong I do miss it, I do understand the hard decision that the Chef made. I wish more restaurants made this wise choice of simplifying their menu and doing less things amazingly well instead of lots of items poorly (not mentioning any names or pointing at anyone Modo Mio in Crown Perth but yes that’s a criticism directed at you). A few years later and the waiting remains…just shows it has become a favourite in the peoples’ hearts of the western suburbs. I have been there a few more times since feasting on freshly made pappardelle with duck ragu, one of La Lola’s signatures. It had been awhile between drinks, in particular a fine Sangiovese cutely named Pinocchio that I traditionally order when I am visiting Lola. This time I introduced my friend Louise to La Lola, greeted by a charming Italian waiter who gets brownie points for making a big deal about my name. He told me how his family in Italy celebrate the feast of Santa Rita but he couldn’t remember the date. I gladly reminded him it was May 22. Not sure if my treats have revealed yet but I am a twin so I have to share a birthday. But May 22 is all mine and without fail my dad always buys a mud cake to celebrate my name day. Sorry for the tangent but as usual I couldn’t help myself. There was about a fifteen minute wait so the friendly waiter took down my number and recommended my friend and I get a drink at the Byrneleigh across the road. So we did. As promised, fifteen minutes later we got the phone call and back to La Lola we went. In past experiences at La Lola the portions have induced me into a food coma so I was very happy that Louise agreed to be my share buddy. We ordered the arancini with spinach, ricotta, silverbeet and gorgonzola and for mains we had the pasta of the day, which was tagliatelle with pancetta, swiss brown mushrooms and a poached egg. All I can say is La Lola gets me; I love poached eggs why do you think I go to brunch all the time. To go with the meal we of course ordered the Pinocchio Sangiovese. The arancini was delicious with the complementing flavours of spinach and ricotta. It’s a nice change from the Bolognese or pumpkin arancinis that frequent Perth. What can I say about the pasta….it was cooked al dente. La Lola has yet to disappoint me. The simple flavours of the mushrooms and pancetta matched perfectly with the yolky goodness of the poached egg. Such simple flavours with such powerful taste. The service here is like a well oiled machine. But like any machine there is the occasional break down. You have to understand that this place is constantly busy and are limited by space so sometimes there are service slip ups. In saying all this, on this night there were no problems. I normally don’t like small restaurants but as the warm weather rolls in, the doors have opened up and the alfresco seating makes the place feel bigger. Next time you feel like Italian that won’t let you down then visit Lola…she’ll have you on your knees. Sorry I couldn’t help myself.
THE FOOD JOURNEY