Il Lido Italian Canteen, Cottesloe
Since starting Savour The Moment, A and I haven’t actually seen each other face to face or have even talked on the phone (the miracles of modern technology). So far, it’s mostly been a facebook-text message process where we’ve been flicking ideas back and forth, slowly constructing our little project bit by bit. I especially,with my general lack of computer knowledge has run into my fair share of bumps since tangling with WordPress, often running to A (who is a techno whiz) with a problem. She usually fixes it in two seconds flat, essentially fulfilling the role of the guy you call when you need a troubleshooting genius. So yes, we haven’t seen each other for a very long time due and decided we needed to set aside some time for not only blog brainstorming, but also for some quality down-time together.
We managed to find a common free night, teeing in a dinner date by the beach. I got there a little earlier and had decided to skip across the road where Cottesloe Beach was situated. Despite being a downcast day, it was still gloriously beautiful. Cottesloe is one of my favourite beaches. It’s not nearly as crowded as Scarborough Beach, there is a rocky jetty nearby for those who want to snorkel around for tiny fishes and there are some decent fish and chip stores around, a staple of any good sea side retreat! Another highlight was the close vicinity of the froyo! Red Spoon was jammed right up next to Il Lido and I was keen to have a second round of dessert after dinner.
I had booked for 6.00 pm on Thursday, as the waitress had said that my original booking of 6.30 pm would result in our orders competing with a large crowd of 30 coming in. Another waitress greeted me cheerily and gave me the option of sitting near the front within a section of higher tables with bar-like stools or at the back main dining area. I chose the latter, and she guided me into the vast back area where there were four long tables of 18 chairs each. I chose two spots at the very end of one of the middle tables, right up next to the window. The layout reminded me of the speed dating process, which A laughed about when she arrived.
We passed on drinks, though the cocktails all looked rather enticing (and not too much on the pricy side either, for about ~$12 a pop!). Instead we went straight to the food menu, which was rather extensive – there were share plates, entrees, mains and pastas to sample. A and I went for broke (as we usually do when we are together, ever the gluttons) and ordered two share plates and two pastas between us, with every intention of ordering dessert later. We queried if there was too much to share between the two of us, but the waitress assured us that it would be just enough to fill up our hungry stomachs.
After an intense process of elimination we chose the pork and fennel seed sausage with sweet and sour peppers. The sausage came in a thick meaty chunks, with a good hit of spice. Both of us thought the meat was a bit dry, but was well complimented by the sweet stewed red and green peppers with a few squares of caramalised white onion to accompany it. It was a dish that was a rather simplistic.
Our second round consisted of the lamb cutlets with tomato, olive, parmesan crumb and aged balsamic ($26). The lamb cutlets were frenched beautifully and were succulent and pink on the inside. Blobs of olive puree were hidden beneath the cutlets which gave the whole dish an earthy Moroccon feel. I was obsessed with the lamb cutlets, enjoying its juicy tenderness and tore into my singular cutlet with animalistic ferocity. While the cutlets were seasoned well with a good hit of salt and pepper and executed with refined precision, I felt as though we could have done with at least one more lamb cutlets on the plate. There were two cutlets in total on the dish, meaning they were about $12 each! A was partial to the white bean puree, which had the consistency and taste of a lemony garlicky hummus. Delicious. Lamb cutlets, come at me!
A and I figured we needed something substantial for the mains, so we chose a steaming hot dish of gnocchi ($26). Il Lido’s gnocchi was super soft, disintegrating easily upon inner mouth contact. It was complimented with globes of juicy cherry tomatoes, a sweet tomato sugo and a few bites of crunchy Parmesan cheese. I wish there had been a bit more Parmesan on top to break up the dish textually and add an extra crunch, but I still thought it was a decent dish. A was pretty chuffed with the gnocchi dish too.
The pappardelle with duck, radicchio, broad beans and orange ($29) was another pasta dish we decided on. The pappardelle was cooked to al dente, delicately coated in a cream based sauce which had an understated presence of truffle mushroom. There was an assemblage of mushrooms within the dish – I may have detected a few slices of porobello and straw mushrooms throughout. Shreds of duck mingled in with the crumbling sections of broad bean, giving the whole dish some more oomph. The Parmesan crumb gave the dish another kick and didn’t overpower the dish textually. The only other observation we made of the Pappardelle was that there didn’t appear to be any significant orange component in the dish, as mentioned on the menu. Perhaps it had been combined in the sauce, giving it a slight sweetness? Nevertheless, the whole combination of textures and flavours still tasted wonderful. The common predicament with pasta dishes are that sauces are used heavy-handedly. However, in this case, the sauce carried some intricate flavours and was very sparingly used, so that the cream based sauce wouldn’t overpower the other elements on the plate. My favourite dish of the night!
As we chomped our way through our meal, the sun set casting a golden glow upon Il Lido. It was beautiful watching the darkening skies outside as the restaurant began to fill up steadily. A and I engaged in animated conversation, digesting our food away until the dessert menu was delivered unprompted to our table by our sunny waitress. The first of the desserts arrived just as the digesting process had finished, the honey and vanilla pannacotta ($15). It was simply exquisite. The pannacotta itself was gloriously silky smooth, softly falling apart at every dig of the spoon. I adore soused strawberries and these ones were exceptional. The strawberries still retained its solidarity, however were slightly softened by the presence of the marinated liqueurs. The sugary fruity syrup had pooled at the bottom, flecked with pieces of chopped mint. We demolished it.
Due to the possible presence of walnuts, A had the flourless chocolate cake ($15) mostly to herself. She kept on taunting me with how wonderful the cake was. Being an avid chocoholic, it was pure torture watching her devour it. The cake was reported to luxuriously rich and decadent, with a velvety chocolate sauce swirling at the bottom. The honeycomb ice cream was delicious, a saccharine crunch from the honeycomb itself which was consistently embedded throughout the vanilla ice cream. A thoroughly enjoyed it, whilst also looking suitably remorseful for me and my inability to eat it.
We stayed a little longer, enjoying the vibrant chatty ambiance of Il Lido. We both discussed different aspects of our new food blog as people flitted in and out. Il Lido appears to cater to different groups of people – the casual beachgoers, large families and duos looking for some great food (like ourselves). There is outdoor seating for those who enjoy a beach view whilst dining and also a wine bar section that decks the front of the restaurant. I also appreciated the service of Il Lido – the waitresses were pleasant and professional and all our meals came out quickly. The menu at Il Lido covers a substantial number of different dishes, inclusive of antipasti, light meals, risotto, house made pasta, meat, fish, sides, dessert and cheeses. The food at Il Lido Canteen Italian was delicious and I would recommend it a go to place for those who want to stick within the realms of hearty food, but appreciates inventive ingredient combinations. The desserts in particular were cracking and the pasta was sublime. Thank you Il Lido for a wonderful night of quality Italian food! I’ll be back for breakfast soon!
Address: 88 Marine Parade, Cottesloe 6011
- Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (from 7.30 am to 10.00 pm) every day of the week.
- Il Lido is the sister restaurant of Leederville’s Duende (which also caters for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
- The drinks menu boasts some specialty cocktails as well as a vast wine selection!
- Reservations available (book via phone: 9286 1111).