Gem on a budget

EVERYONE loves a bargain, and it’s hard to look past a half-price special at any restaurant.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, every pizza and pasta meal at Sorano Restaurant in Atwell is $15-17 dollars.

The irresistible bargain had the Eeles clan racing to our wagon, more excited than the Griswolds on a European vacation.

We weren’t the only people looking to take advantage of the deal – when we arrived early on a Tuesday night Sorano was chockers.

The fit-out is modest with nothing more than simple tables and chairs; but don’t worry, the restaurant has oodles of personality thanks to the warm and playful staff.

The family-owned Sorano is led by experienced head chef Roberto Lo Conte and his three sons, Mario, Marco and Marcello.

Being welcomed into their Italian eatery is like stepping into their family home.

We started with the bruschetta, a staple of any Italian restaurant ($9.50).

Two thick slices of fluffy white bread are topped with a heap of fresh tomatoes and chopped basil, but I’m surprised it’s kept so simple.

The dish could really do with a light drizzle of olive oil and a balsamic spritz. Regardless, it was a satisfying starter.

While the pasta menu is extensive, I only had eyes for the gnocchi ($25).

The meaty description is more seductive than Mrs Robinson from The Graduate.

The dense potato dumplings were swimming in a rich tomato sauce made even more luscious by chunks of tender, sweet lamb.

Unlike Ben Braddock and Mrs Robinson, the gnocchi and lamb are a match made in heaven.

To back it up, Kylie and I ordered the substantial walnut chicken pizza ($21.50).

The earthy field mushrooms and walnuts are complemented by the acidic sun-dried tomatoes and stringy mozzarella.

Meanwhile, Ollie and Chloe were getting stuck into their tropicana pizza ($19.50), topped with leg ham, pineapple and mozzarella. Sorano Restaurant is the mainstay of the Harvest Lakes shopping centre, and has breathed life into the concrete precinct since it opened in 2014.

If you’re in the area, do yourself a favour and pay Sorano a visit.

by MATTHEW EELES

Sorano Restaurant
80 Lyon Road, Atwell
6191 0791
http://www.soranorestaurant.com

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