A WORK colleague had been raving about Roma Cucina for weeks so it was time to tag along for lunch and see for myself.
Her claim of the “best garlic bread ever” was no idle boast.
The generous serve was wonderfully oily and loaded with garlic ($7.50).
The old Roma, opened by Frank and Nella Abrugiato in 1954, was a Fremantle icon for more than 50 years.
It closed some years ago and Roma Cucina (Rome Kitchen) was eventually taken on by daughter Lucy and her husband chef Terry Dunn, who are striving to uphold the same family values and deliver classic Italian dishes.
Quarter chicken and chips (Cucina’s $20 lunch special) brought back memories of many a Herald takeaway from the old Roma.
The huge serve came with salad, perfectly crisp chips and a choice of sauces.
My mate opted for the pepper sauce, which came in a cute little pot.
“The chicken is so moist it fell off the bone – it didn’t even need a knife – and the garlic/herb topping was the perfect pairing.”
Mushroom risotto ($27) was on the main menu, not the lunch one, but it’s recently become one of my favourites and I was keen to compare Roma Cucina’s with others.
It outclassed all I’d eaten before.
There was plenty of porcini and wild funghi in this fantastically creamy dish, which had a hint of truffle oil and loads of parmesan cheese.
When Terry and Lucy took over the old restaurant they did a major reno that included stripping away plaster to reveal old bricks that enhance the heritage feel.
There is an alfresco at the front and rear, giving you the option of vibrant street dining or relaxing under the shade of massive old grapevines.
The eatery has a range of desserts made in-house, including a decadent looking tiramisu ($12), but the lunch serves were so big we couldn’t eat another morsel.
Roma Cucina – it should be Italian for great food and service.
by JENNY D’ANGER
9 High Street, Fremantle