by JENNY D’ANGER:
I was faced with a sobering truism when I caught up with a cousin after many years.
With both our mums in tow there was no denying we are carbon copies of our mothers.
She and her sister were my closest cousins and pretty soon we were talking old times and kids’ games and the cubby houses built in the backyard—and laughing about our boy cousins.
Our childhoods were marked by Edgar Cook’s murderous rampage and her mum wouldn’t even let her open the front door at the time.
Mine had a rather relaxed attitude and I recalled sleeping in a tent in our unfenced backyard with my younger sister and a couple of other cousins the night Cook was arrested.
Reminiscing was done over lunch at Toscanini’s in Bicton, a relaxed cafe where good food goes hand in hand with enjoyable conversation.
The Bicton eatery has been a landmark for locals for 12 years, taken over by new owners in October last year.
It’s been a smooth transition with the same Italian cafe-style food and a focus on home-made, says co-owner Jessica Jones. “We make everything fresh.”
There’s a range of hot and cold foods to choose from the cabinet including vegetarian and meat lasagnes, tuna patties, chicken and bacon crepes, mouthwatering salads and a range of rolls and sandwiches.
At the other end there’s an equally delicious array of cakes and pastries.
I opted for the vegetarian sausage roll (a contradiction I know) leaving the selection of salads for the side to the helpful waiter.
The plate arrived groaning under a massive pastry parcel oozing with a savoury vegetable filling, and a mound of delicious salads ($19 all up).
I particularly liked the mushroom and sun-dried tomato one, although the broccoli salad was pretty damn good too.
The big-belly-buster breakfast ($21.90 with tea or coffee) was a plate pleaser, and pretty soon my cousin’s hubby was wiping his plate with the sour-dough toast, and only too happy to polish off his wife’s hash brown when she threw in the towel.
The warm-prawn salad ($19) was another winner, the salad fresh and still crisp and the prawns, tender, warm and spicy.
My mum’s been off her food lately but she managed to clear the plate.
And in the name of review duty she still had room for cake, in this case a lemon/lime custard tart ($6).
The shortcrust pastry was lovely, but the filling needed more texture and more zing.
There were no complaints about the varied coffees ordered and re-ordered when more liquid was required to lubricate mouths dry from talking.
The waitstaff were particularly helpful, taking orders at the table as we were a largish group (and perhaps recognising the mums were a bit wobbly on their pins) and offering separate billing.
We parted with hugs all round and a promise to do it all again, only this time closer to their Kingsley home.
And lucky for us, there’s a Toscanini’s at Hillarys.
by JENNY D’ANGER
258 Canning Hwy, Bicton
open 7 days, 7am–5pm