Villa D’Este

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It seems Villa D’Este has been around almost as long as I have, and that’s a while. In the heart of the West Perth business district, this Italian stalwart keeps chugging along, serving excellent business lunches at a price that will make your heart sing. For $38.80 you can indulge in a three course meal, served by waiters straight from charm school.

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Set in a converted house, the settings are stylish and sophisticated in an old world way. Not a whiff of the hipster vibe in this old house.

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What you get is a classy atmosphere with white linen, service at a steady and relaxed pace, and hearty Italian food that will leave you content and glad you came.

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There are all manner of nooks and crannies here with little alcoves and comfy lounge chairs, and I imagine in winter it would be a very cosy spot for a romantic rendezvous.

Our ladies luncheon group was in fine spirits, and we all ordered a glass of vino to go with our lunch. There were about six choices of both red and white wine by the glass, along with two bubbly selections.

My entree was grilled baby squid with white wine, olives and a hint of chilli. This was an ideal first course; tender, light and fresh.

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A few of our group elected to have the antipasti as their entree. The cold antipasti plates were set up buffet style on a table, and you helped yourself to the offerings of cold meats, mozzarella, octopus, calamari, marinated vegetables, arancini and olives.

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This plate of antipasti goodies looked inviting, and two of our group enjoyed the freshness and variety on offer.

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The main course options included veal scaloppine, barramundi, gnocchi, pasta and lamb. I chose a papardelle pasta with walnuts and gorgonzola, and it was a massive portion that I couldn’t do justice to. There wasn’t quite enough sauce for this huge amount of pasta so it was a bit dry.  Sadly I think my main choice wasn’t up to the standards of the other choices for mains. Next time I’ll know better.

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Others in our group chose the veal, fish and gnocchi dishes, and really enjoyed their choices. Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of these other mains, so you’ll just have to take my word (second hand) that they were delicious and well presented.

Desserts included the ubiquitous tiramisu, gelati and baked chocolate pudding. There was a mix of these ordered at our table, and I can tell you that all everyone in our group was scraping their plate. My tiramisu was delectable. I know this is the stock standard Italian dessert, but the versions on offer around the traps vary enormously as far as quality goes. This was one of the better versions, but I had to bolt mine down as my parking ticket was about to expire, and I wasn’t going to risk a hefty fine on the back of a bargain lunch.

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Villa D’Este is the perfect spot for a girls lunch, business lunch, romantic lunch, or whatever you fancy really. I think I might return in winter to sample a different menu, as it changes regularly. It’s a wonderful way to experience a spot of fine dining without the luxury price tag. It’s in the Entertainment Book too, so you can get the benefit of a discount on your evening meal. The discount doesn’t apply to the lunch special.

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