Modern modesty

PARLAPA, Fremantle


Suspenders made of marzipan, an edible doorknob, a goat’s testicle frozen in liquid nitrogen.

And let’s not even talk about his lemon myrtle snags in Coles.

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Enough is enough Heston Blumenthal, we can’t take anymore of your cookery meets science necromancer mumbo-jumbo—we need some primal tucker.

In a bid to get back to basics, the Chook visited Parlapa, a modest but modern Italian cafe with no filigree in sight.

Located on William Street, this bright cafe occupies a prime spot just a few doors down from Rosie O’Grady’s and near Kings Square.

The interior is small and unassuming—like Bert Newton in speedos—with a smattering of tables and chairs.

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The menu matches the surroundings and includes a small selection of handmade pastas (parma, broccoli), soups, paninis and Italian-style rolls (longotto, supera).

There is also a breakfast menu that includes an intriguing Italian version of a fry-up with prosciutto crudo, soppressa, bresaola, provola cheese and mozzarella bocconcini.

The owners, originating from Turin and Piedmont in the north-west of Italy, are keen to promote the region’s cuisine in a town more used to fare that owes its origins to Sicily.

I order the gnocchi amatriciana ($14)—a simple dish that is difficult to execute.

In the wrong hands these little dough balls can assume the density of bowling balls in an event horizon and linger in the stomach for aeons.

Thankfully this gnocchi is light, fragrant and smothered in a spicy tomato sauce.

I would have liked a little more chilli but, that aside, it is a hearty dish flecked with tasty slivers of bacon and onion.

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Matt gambles on the leek and potato soup ($8) but rolls snakes’ eyes: “I’ve eaten at this place a few times now and I can say the different pasta dishes are some of the best in Fremantle,” he says. “Unfortunately the soup—served in a jar—was very watery and lacked any seasoning.”

David has a happier experience, saying his carbonara ($12) bridges the gap between $4 sushi and a $25 plate on the strip: “The pork is well-cooked, just this side of crispy and generously scattered throughout, and topped with a sprinkling of parmesan and black pepper it covers the palate bases nicely,” he intones.

“Size-wise the servings are spot on: filling, but not so big as to leave you with a Tony Soprano gut.”

Glancing around, the cafe is busy and a few people are taking advantage of the BYO ($2 corkage) to enjoy a Friday lunchtime libation.

Parlapa fills the culinary void between a quick snack and a more expensive sit-down meal in Freo.

Definitely worth a visit for some rustic, handmade pasta. Even Blumenthal might like it.

11 William St, Fremantle


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