Joel Valvasori-Pereza first introduced Perth’s dining public to the joys of Friulian cuisine with his lengthy stint as Head Chef at Lalla Rookh. After turning in his apron in 2016, a new venture wasn’t far off, with the chef opening Lulu La Delizia in Subiaco by the end of the year.
It’s hard to overestimate how much of an impression Lulu La Delizia (an homage to Valvasori-Pereza’s Friulian grandmother, who emigrated to Perth in the 50s) has made in that time, with the chef’s passion for pasta coinciding with an ever-increasing national obsession.
The dining room speaks modern European bistro very clearly, with black bentwood chairs, hardwood tables and printed menus acting as placemats, a skirt of lace curtain around the windows recalls older times. All is overlooked by an open kitchen with the service counter clad in fluted timber.
Valvasori-Pereza describes his cooking as “Modern Friulano and Venetian cookery from an Australian migrant’s perspective.” That bit of licence sees a celebration of tradition neatly aligned with the flexibility to not be hemmed in by it. His commitment to handmade pasta is absolute, but the diversity of applications is revelatory.
Lulu La Delizia bills itself as a north Italian pasta and wine bar, but the menu extends beyond that. Salumi, olives and cheese kick things off, then come share dishes, such as gin-cured kingfish with celery heart, and burrata with persimmon; a rendition of Valvasori-Pereza’s nonna’s meatballs served on polenta, and capretto (roast goat) with stewed greens make up the larger offerings.
Pasta is the theme here, though, with an ever-changing menu of seasonal combinations, but the tagliatelle with veal, pork and red wine ragu and saffron spaghetti with clams and spigarello are firm favourites. As is Valvasori-Pereza’s tiramisu ‘corretto’, a decadent slab of the classic boozy dessert that has taken on an almost mythical aura amongst regulars.
The wine offer at Lulu La Delizia very much shadows the path of the menu, with local and mainly North Italian offerings selected by sommelier Alexander Rogers to harmonise with Valvasori-Pereza’s creations, food and wine hand in hand, as it is always done in Italy. There are around 80 listings by the bottle, with an impressive proportion, around 30, available by the glass, very much emphasising that this is a wine bar as much as a it as a temple to pasta.
COVID-19 conditions: Lulu La Delizia is trading as normal, though employing some modified procedural and hygiene practices.