Café Nocéllo is a gem embedded right in the heart of Cockburn’s Success. It’s one of the area’s best restaurants and has stood alongside Majestic India and Dragon Palace as a local favourite for years.
Kylie and I have celebrated many occasions here, including the signing of our first mortgage, a marriage proposal and the launch of a family business venture. We’ve even mourned the loss of an elderly loved one here.
On our latest visit we were celebrating perhaps the grandest, most exciting of occasions for any parent— date night without the spawn.
To make it easier on the kitchen staff most of Nocéllo’s top-end meals like the beef cheeks ($34.50), veal rib eye ($38.50) and pork belly ($34.50) are served with mash, a jus flavoured to complement the protein, and steamed veg like broccolini and spinach.
There’s also a large selection of pizza and pasta and classic favourites like Atlantic salmon ($35.50) and scotch fillet ($36.50) for the unadventurous.
Garlic bread was brought to our table three times, twice by the same person, before the busy waitstaff finally got the message we didn’t order it — I’m sure it would have been great though.
After this very minor mishap we were finally served our mixed olives and chorizo starter ($26.50). There’s nothing amazing about the assortment of chorizo, olives and flat bread but everything on the plate was full-flavoured and fresh. A quick squirt of lemon gave the already perfect grilled chorizo added dimension.
As if that wasn’t enough to start with we also ordered a serve of salt and pepper calamari. This is hands down the best you’ll ever put in your gob. It’s crunchy and golden without being oily — an absolute textural delight. It’s served with a fresh side salad that cut through the guilt I was experiencing after the chorizo and deep-fried squid.
I let Kylie tackle the twice-roasted pork belly with scallops while I ordered the slow-cooked beef cheeks. The biggest fear ordering any slow-cooked meat is that it’ll be dry. Compliments to the chef, Nocéllo’s cheeks melt in the mouth and were tender and juicy. The broccolini was crisp and the mash soft and creamy. It was spot on.
Unfortunately for Kylie her dish continued the run of bad luck we’ve had with pork belly in other restaurants: this was a little overcooked and the scallops were each smaller than a 10 cent piece.
It was far from inedible but removal from the roasting oven a few minutes earlier would have stopped the meat from drying out as much. I thought the crackling was spot on though, and Kylie let me help myself to the three massive portions on her plate.
There’s something nostalgic about Nocéllo’s food — the kind that was served everywhere about eight years ago before the share-plate revolution swept across our city and into its outer suburbs.
It’s the kind of honest tucker I crave every now and then, and that’s what keeps Kylie and I coming back for more. That and owner Lorenzo Bokshi’s warm, welcoming smile every time we visit.
by MATTHEW EELES
1/25 Wentworth Road, Success WA
Phone 9499 4444