Zafferano Restaurant, Nedlands
I was under pressure. It was my parent’s 25th Wedding Anniversary and I had planned an elaborate weekend for them, the pinnacle of which was a celebratory dinner to commemorate many years of disagreements, laughter, love, personal struggles and child belittlement (my sister and I can attest to that). I needed to choose somewhere elegant with fancy food and a great location to herald the special occasion. After several panic attacks, I finally made the decision to book (last minute) with Zafferano, who slotted my reservation in pronto for a Saturday night.
I had booked my parents a romantic getaway at the trendy Fraser Suites in East Perth, so it was only a quick drive through the city and up Mounts Bay Road. We dropped my parents off at the front entrance and found parking about 100 metres away in a little car park nook. The wind was unabashed that day, sweeping our dresses in all directions. My sister and I looked a bit frazzled as we arrived, though not as much as our poor parents, who were unfortunately unable to find our booked table. Luckily, I gave my name to the ladies at the front, flashed my confirmation email at them on my phone which was quickly acknowledged and avoided a subsequent and reoccurring series of panic attacks for that particular weekend.
Talk about a view! We were given a table of six, right in the corner with an uninterrupted view of the river, the city and a bridge. There was next to no breeze that night, but it was still lovely and cool by the riverside. It was simply stunning. The menus were given to us, tap water was provided and we ordered three rounds of entrees. Our table was outdoors, tucked away in the corner and away from the rest of the other dining patrons.
Zafferano had certainty taken our special request of “my parent’s big 25th wedding anniversary” into great seriousness, which was wonderful to see. On the table were linen napkins, candle lights and lanterns casting a romantic glow across the table as the day grew dimmer. As we had an early booking at 6.30pm, we were relishing in the tranquility of our selected space, my parents already looking pleased with the location. Whew!
Summer was in full swing – a glowing sunset blessed us with its presence before being replaced by an indigo sky and sparkling city lights. We spotted the Bell Tower, a gaudy lit Christmas Tree and the Captain Cook Cruise ship which sailed past, honking its horn. The waitress recited off the specials of the day and we placed our main order. Another of our party, my sister’s boyfriend, joined us later and keen as we were to place his main order, the waitress sadly informed us that we couldn’t order for someone who had not arrived yet, perhaps due to potential contamination issues that may arise if the dish was sitting on the table unattended. I was prepared to wait a good half an hour for all our mains to arrive, as by this point the restaurant was starting to fill up rapidly.
The garlic and parmesan ciabatta ($9.50) was a nice starter, crunchy bread topped bruchetta-like with herbs, butter and paper thin flakes of paramesan. I enjoyed how the paramesan had a very mild flavour and was quite soft, crumbling easily in the mouth. It was cut into four portions, perfect for sharing. The baguette came with generous triangular slabs of butter, sprinkled with sea salt. The bread itself was suitably crusty on the outside and spongy inside. I don’t know how I would feel about paying the $10 price tag for bread normally, but we waved away our concerns for the special night.
Astoundingly, the mains whizzed out after a 10 minute period. The looks of surprise surely showed on our faces – super quick food in a busy fine dining restaurant? Unheard of! My sister’s boyfriend joined us and ordered, while mournfully watching us tear into our own meals. My brother was given a child’s menu option that hadn’t been listed on the menu, a steak with chips and salad ($11). I sneaked away a fry from the fries, which was deliciously crunchy and crisp and came with a dish of tomato sauce. My brother loved it so much, he wanted seconds!
My dish, the Amelia Park Rib Eye ($59.90) was a 600gm slab of beef fillet dry aged for 30 days. It was nicely chargrilled on the outside, doused in salt and pepper. It was a glorious cut of meat with a good flesh to fat ratio. The rib eye had been cooked more on the medium side than medium-rare, but it was such a succulent juicy steak that I had no qualms with devouring it. The jus came in a separate pouring jug, which was rich and complimented the meat. I loved the flower-shaped caramalised onion tart, spiked with a long piece of rosemary. It had a chalky pastry that crumbled easily and was packed with sweet, syurpy onions.
Mum’s Atlantic Salmon ($46.50) was a bit on the salty side. It was requested to be cooked medium-rare, which was skillfully met by the chefs of Zafferano. My mum was impressed by the salmon’s crispy skin, something she looked for immediately as she ate the dish. It came with a dill potato rosti, a gremolata crumb and extra virgin olive oil. She thought the dish as a whole was a tad dry and could have done with a sauce to add to the salmon, but overall thought the dish was good.
The Amelia Park Lamb ($48.50) was my sister’s boyfriend’s choice, served medium-rare. It looked the most tantalising of the set of mains we ordered, servered on a bed of seeded mustard roasted sweet potato and pinot jus. My sister’s boyfriend reported that it was a sublime cut of meat, however it had been cooked more medium than medium-rare. The pinot jus was pooled beneath the pretty golden cubes of sweet potato.
My dad had the Zafferano Seafood Plate ($58.50). It was pretty steep in terms of price so I was expecting everything on the platter to be cooked to perfection. The seafood plate consisted of grilled king prawns, scallops, calamari and pink snapper served with stone fruit chutney and aioli. The grilled king prawns looked delicious, the edges charred slightly and the scallops pan seared. Both tasted as good as they looked, not in the slightest overdone. The fish fillet, the pink snapper, was a little overdone as it had lost its flaky translucent quality. Half a lobster had curled itself on top of my dad’s chips which was an added bonus – it was his favourite item on the seafood plate!
My sister ordered a main size of the Shark Bay King Prawn Risotto ($48.50). The juicy plump prawns were bound in a saffron and sweet pea risotto with bell pepper puree and aged parmesan. My sister thought that while the dish was seasoned well, the consistency of the risotto was rather gluey, which was a bit of a disappointment, as it looked a treat! As an overall dish, she did like the presentation of the dish and the saffron kick.
Baby Beetroot Salad ($12.50) was an optional side we ordered in order to be relatively “healthy.” The baby beetroots had been tossed with rocket, parmesan, almond nuts and Danish feta. I loved the combination of all these fresh ingredients, the rocket crisp with a beautiful acidic creaminess brought about by the feta. It was splashed with an apple balsamic sauce that sported a very brief sweetness before the zing of the balsamic came through.
Again, the view. Wow. It was stunning. It overlooked the sparkling Swan River and the city, providing us with a prime sunset setting. As our night progressed we caught a glimpse of the bright city lights, a bright Christmas tree, a Captain Cook Cruises boat sailing by and a flock of seagulls. A quintessentially Australian experience! Overall, I thought the food at Zafferano was pretty good for fine dining, however the prices had been seriously inflated due to its location of prime waterfront dining (even with our two Entertainment Card discounts). This was with the exception of my brother’s dish, which was certainly value for money (plus I enjoyed the fact they had provided a children’s menu and were quite family-friendly). The service was fantastic, personalised, attentive and professional. Definitely recommended for a special occasion, especially if you want somewhere romantic with polished service. Thank you Zafferano for a lovely dinner!
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Address: 173 Mounts Bay Rd Crawley, 6009 (The Old Swan Brewery)
- Open for lunch and dinner every day of the week, and for breakfast on the weekends.
- Fancy function rooms available!
- Entertainment book Gold Card discount (25% off the total bill up to a value of $55 per card).
- Reservations with guest numbers of 6 or more will require valid credit card details, with a cancellation outside of the 24 hr window resulting in a $30 pp cancellation fee.
- Reservations available (via phone: 9321 2588 and through their website).