Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Ciao Italia

Ciao Italia on Urbanspoon
When you see a sea of people crowding around a source of light at the Mill Point Road intersection, you'd think that there was free food or something.
Anything that included the word "free" really. Humans are realistic.

But this wasn't the case. It just doesn't make sense, but as you get closer, you realise the restaurant makes a lot of scents. And you become one of those many peeps swarming around the lights and smells, itching to get a feed.

The source of attraction that is Ciao Italia, its charm luring in hungry moths from all over Perth.

Chilled Berry Fusion drink
After a long wait outside but shortly after being seated squished and packed up compactly onto a table next to the semi-open kitchen, drinks were needed. I thirsted for food more than I did for drinks though, seeing the tables right next to me laden high with big plates of Italy.

It's so close you could taste it - provided you extended your hand over to the next table. And if that wasn't weird, you really could reach it. The tables are that close.

There aren't too many drinks on offer here, most of them being soft drinks and some other bottled beverages, the Berry Fusion being one of them.

Garlic Bread - $5.50
To suppress our stomach grumbles, the infamous garlic bread starter came out super fast. Specks of garlic and a light sprinkling of herbs adorn pieces of toasted bread generously lathered with butter.
It smells gloriously rich and one single bite contains both fluffiness and crispiness. *swoon*

The only way I can eat garlic bread :(
One of the downsides to deliciously fatty food is that I'm very susceptible to it. I can't tolerate them very well. If you are curious about my autobiography Life Without a Gall Bladder, it would feature images like this. It's how my diet has consequently changed for the worse (because I have to eat like a health freak)!

So out of one slice of garlic bread, this is what I DIDN'T eat. Yep, I can't touch the very heart and soul of what garlic bread is all about. This slice of gold is too golden for me and the crust becomes the only edible bit, so thank God it's crunchy and just to my liking. Yes, it IS a better diet I admit.
But it's just so, so, so painful to eat so healthy.

Gnocchi Napoletana - $21.50
Gnocchi is fondly known in Italian cuisine and at Ciao Italia as their very own homemade potato dumplings. I'm so used to dumplings having substantial fillings inside that I don't feel obliged to term these as dumplings. But dumplings schmumplings, they're still little delights to pop.

The small sheer size of these little things are so easy to keep eating, and eating, and eating without realising that you're still...eating. Liberally bathed in a herbed tomato sauce, soft, slightly mushy but still having a slight chewiness, they're actually really filling after a while.

Ciao Italia Fettuccine - $22.50 
The thinnest person on the table ordered the fattest dish on the table (and maybe on the menu as well!) We all know those skinny people who look like they've been deprived of nutrition, who in fact can eat 5 times their own weight. In one sitting.
I may seem like one of them, but so many people beat me hands down. I'm so curious to see what I'd turn into if my metabolism suddenly broke down. God forbid!

This plate features a combination of marinated tender free range chicken strips, sundried tomato and fresh diced tomato in a calorific creamy white sauce. Heart attacks only cost $22.50 nowadays.

Gnocchi Bolognese - $21.50
This is like a replication of the Gnocchi Napoletana, the addition of minced meat producing another texture and visually adding to the presentation of the gnocchi. Delizioso! :)

Spaghetti Bolognese - $17.50
Spaghetti Bolognese was the healthiest option I could spot on the whole menu. Trying to spot a healthy dish on a menu of Italian cuisine is sure challenging, if not impossible. They sure know how to make rich and delicious tasting food but keep looking good.
Where on earth does all that cheese consumption go?!

Spaghetti was cooked just right with whole strands that wrap effortlessly around your fork. So much rich and meaty sauce that flies everywhere and makes a striking appearance on your clothes.

Dessert Cabinet
Can't comment on dessert 'cause what the hell, I didn't have any dessert! But I managed to snap their dessert cabinet which takes up much valuable and needed space. The cabinet doesn't house much variety but it does house "Perth's best tiramisu"! (Or so I've read). BEST!
In capitals so you can tell I'm shouting in your face.

Best is a loud and daring position to claim. Not a big tiramisu fan myself, I'd be an inaccurate judge on this. Unfortunately you're gonna have to go and pig out.

Dessert Cabinet

Ciao Italia is such a roaring, successful establishment, evident from the lines outside the restaurant despite the slightly annoying No Bookings policy. You sorta have to just get there and hope for the best after you put your name down on the long waiting list. This dinner is gonna be a test of patience.

Sometimes you get the impression they seem to operate on a mass scale, systematic procedure of getting you in and getting you out ASAP to have the highest turnover possible. But it is the most efficient way, and they even have their rule of not seating you until your whole party needs is present outside the restaurant. These guys know how to make optimal use of space, with tables situated right up near the toilets too. So even if you came in, hate it and want to leave, it's still a challenge to get out.

Staff are really good at handling the crowd and are very evidently, are mostly charming and charismatic Italian waiters. We waited an hour, was seated at 8pm and left before 9pm. Barely had time to chew my food but they have a knack for making you not realise just how rushed your whole dinner is. I think you have an intrinsic sense of urgency when you see people standing outside in the cold wishing you'd hurry your ass up.

Dining in seems to be the popular option even though diners are ushered in and compressed into a small, tight-fit brick building with a maze of chairs and tables. This all adds to the ambiance of the bustling, loud, but warm and happy atmosphere where voices, Italian music, sounds and smells are all rebounding off each other. It's unusual to see somewhere so densely populated in Perth. The proximity between tables and people is dangerous, requiring you to take extra care to make sure you don't knock someone out as you struggle past them. As I talk from experience.

Takeaway seems to be a busy area too, and deliveries can be arranged to a limited number of Southern suburbs. Prices are on par with most other Italian restaurants but Ciao Italia produces huge servings and seem to have a love for cinnamon powder as presentation! IT'S EVERYWHERE! The pictures you see are SMALL servings too, which are $5 cheaper and they are quite...not small. They pride themselves on homestyle Italian cuisine and a wood fired gourmet pizzeria producing crazy larger-than-life sized pizzas!

Bring two things: A big appetite and wear your eating pants. Loose fitting ones too, cause you'll be competing with your stomach.

(08) 9368 5500
Tuesday - Saturday: 5pm to 10pm
Sunday & Monday: Closed



  1. You forgot that you need a third thing! ie, your favourite snail!


So what did you eat today?

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