IlPasto Italian Trattoria, Inglewood

Some months back, strolling around Inglewood on a mild Autumn evening, Scotty and I peered in the beckoning window of ilPasto and determined that we would visit some time soon for a slap-up Italian dinner. We held true to that and dined there last week, once more marvelling at the growing number of good foodie outlets up the top end of Beaufort St.

We’re a bit spoiled for choice in this area when it comes to Italian – with Threecoins a few kilometres up the road and Cecchi’s a stone’s throw in the other direction, you wouldn’t be deprived of a good pasta dish any time soon. Add Our Table to the mix, the new Italian on Grand Prom, and the choice becomes tricky.

This older sister of ilPasto in Mount Hawthorn has a lot going for it: authentic Italian food, charming wait staff, and a cosy ambience complete with white linen tablecloths and a wall of black and white photos chronicling the journey of the family who started the business.

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Scotty and I had already decided that dessert was a given, so with that in mind we opted to share an entree. The quattro bruschette ($14) featured four pieces of bruschetta with different toppings: tomato and fresh basil, roasted marinated artichoke, pulled duck meat and Swiss brown mushrooms, and soft marinated goats feta with herbs and EVOO. Presented on organic sourdough, each type of bruschetta was fresh, light and delicious.  We cut each piece in half so we we could both sample everything. It was the perfect starter. Simplicity and fresh ingredients – the key elements of a satisfying dish.

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As so often happens when Scotty and I dine together, we had our eyes on the same main. In this case it was the pescatore ($38), a melange of seafood cooked in a white wine and tomato sauce. The tiger prawns, mussels, baby squid were sea salty fresh, and the snapper fillet was garnished with a zingy basil salsa. The slowly simmered sauce was perfect for dunking chunks of crusty bread. For some strange reason however, this dish is served with crunchy crostino which definitely isn’t dunking material. Our waiter obligingly provided us with a plate of crusty bread to mop up all the tomatoey juices.

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Scotty and I managed to scoff every mouthful, just stopping short of surreptitiously licking the plate. We could have managed that, stuck as we were down the back of the restaurant. Poor Scotty had a view of my face and a white wall all evening; not the most enticing of sights. It didn’t affect her appetite though; it takes a helluva lot more than that to turn a Scotswoman off her food.

We were nigh on stuffed at this point, having downed a bottle of Veuve with our meal. Nothing short of a tsunami however was going to stop us ordering dolce, and I had eyes only for the chocolate rum and raisin brownie ($12). This delectable squidgy chocolate brownie wallowed in a pool of rum and raisin syrup, with plump rum-soaked raisins on top and vanilla bean ice cream and double cream on the side. Oh my. Alcohol chocolate cream heaven. I had to admit defeat half way through, despite giving it my best shot.

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Scotty opted for the seasonal fruit pudding ($12) of warm apple and cinnamon sponge with flaked almonds and double cream. Finally defeated by the dessert monster, Scotty reluctantly left a good portion of her pudding to the rubbish gods. Such a crying shame.

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Apart from being seated at our back wall hidey-hole table, our ilPasto experience was a delight.  It was a pleasant change to find a range of top notch desserts for $12, and to enjoy a fine Italian meal with the bonus of being able to BYO. There’s a pleasant al fresco area at the front which would be ideal in the warmer weather. The wait staff were fabulous and if you have time to peruse the old photos at the front, you’ll get a kick out of seeing the original family members back in the day, fresh off the boat. They’ve come a long way since then.

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