Lulu La Delizia (2) – 28 September 2018

Sometimes restaurant cravings are really annoying. I mean, I love going back, but they cost a lot! And they tend to take a bit of planning, reservations wise. I’ve been wanting to revisit Lulu la Delizia since my first visit there made such a good impression, but I never quite felt it was the right time. However, I’ve been craving Lulu for a month now, so I decided, not 4 hours beforehand, that I’d book a table for myself. I was surprised that there were tables available at such short notice, but it was because the only timeslots available were before 5:30PM, or after 9PM. So, early dinner it was! Lulu La Delizia take 2, here we come!

The popcorn snack is still here! It was more addictive last time – and by more addictive, I think I mean to say that it was less salty this time around. Still yummy though!

A lot of the menu was really tempting, but since I was solo dining, I didn’t want full sized things because I’d be limited in what I could try, as well as be at risk of overspending. So, I went for the chef’s menu this time and let them do the deciding. The only thing I really wanted was their pasta special, and so I asked especially if I could have that as part of the chef’s menu. The waitstaff was happy to request it for me!

So here we are again with the pan e sugo. This was tastier the second time round! I still marvelled at the knifework on the vegetables, good knife skills never go out of fashion! While I was eating this my mind wandered over the old Slap Chop ads. I wonder, exactly what does a Slap Chop do? I don’t even remember if it claims to finely dice. But if it does, I am a little curious about the results because I think that it can’t replace a skilled chef and their knife.

Yes, an oyster! Jackpot! I wasn’t sure if oyster would make it onto the chef menu, but lucky for me, it did! These “omakases” are actually quite intriguing and fun to do from time to time! I can’t remember exactly what the vinaigrette was, but at first, I thought it was far too much for the actual oyster. However, the quality of this oyster was very good, and its sweetness and flavour actually held up really well against the sharpness of the vinegar (not surprising at all since it was a Coffin Bay oyster, and I love Coffin Bay oysters, the flavour seems to hold up really well when being exported interstate). I was impressed!

I would never have chosen the cured kingfish with gin, citrus and celery, because there were more interesting things such as fried mozarella, meatballs and burrata to choose from. That being said, this seafood experience was actually different, even though I’ve eaten quite a few cured fish dishes in my time. The kinfish itself was firmer than most, and the sauce had a very aromatic citrus flavour to it, moreso than normal. The celery was a great flavour and texture to have here – I don’t actually like celery because it tends to be overpowering, but this worked really well!

I don’t know what it is. I shouldn’t be that blown away by just how good the flavours have been so far, but they’ve exceeded my expectations! Maybe this place really is the best Italian restaurant in Australia?

I mean, I couldn’t even fault the asparagus and egg sauce (that’s what the waiter said) with cheese. I forgot what cheese, but it didn’t sound like the usual parmigiano? Maybe it was and my hearing was off. It was very deliciously pungent in its aroma though. And egg sauce… is mayo? I’ll just say it’s a very nice egg and vinegar emulsion, with both the yolk flavour and the vinegar flavour very balanced, so that one didn’t overpower the other. The flavours were loud, but not shouty. Wow, am I really getting gushy over this place?

Plus the asparagus was delicious! I’m sorry Bread in Common – I know I said your asparagus dish was great a couple of weeks ago, but this is even better. The flavour of the veg was incredible!

Oh yeah. Wow. This is what my life is all about. This was today’s pasta special – squid ink bigoli, squid, roasted artichoke. I really, really wanted this, so I asked the waitstaff to include this as part of the chef’s menu if possible. I’m so glad they obliged! This was mindblowingly good. Like, wow. The waitstaff had described the bigoli as a fairly thick pasta. In my uneducated head, I thought she meant wide, like pappardelle. Oh, it’s actually THICK. Basically, a super thick spaghetti! I get it now! And I loved it! I found that the extra thickness gave this a really good bite, my favourite thing when it comes to pasta. The squid was also unbelieveably sweet, I’ve not had any squid this delicious in ages! And of course, artichokes are always a winner.

One thing I did notice immediately about this dish was the salt. There was a lot of salt here. I would say it was almost too salty, but it kind of worked, so I didn’t mind. I am pretty sure I noticed this last time I was here too, that some dishes seem to really push the saltiness, but hey, it’s not like I do this too often so I’m sure my heart remains happy. It didn’t quite unbalance the flavour of the dish, so this is more of a thing to note than any real criticism.

Oh, another pasta dish? Whoops I must have miscounted, I thought I hit 5 courses (out of the 6 described) already? Maybe the bread wasn’t part of it? Maybe the oyster was an extra treat? Maybe the special was thrown in for free?? Maybe I miss out on dessert??? I have no idea. I actually wasn’t expecting the same size of pasta again, but I managed to eat it all anyways!

This was a pork sausage and pea pasta, with a side of grated parmesan so that you could add your own to taste. This was much less of a flavour bomb than tonight’s special, but still very good. The pasta here was a complete contrast from the bigoli – this pasta was thin so it tasted a lot softer. Almost too soft, but maybe that was just because I’d just had a very bitey pasta. I don’t think I can accurately assess this particular dish as a result.

How cute!!! It looks like I do get dessert – tiramisu in a spoon! I was really happy my bite sized treat was served like this! Call me hipster, and yes, I know it’s been done in Melbourne as a thing and got made fun of, but for me the serving size was perfect, so I had no issues with this. I also love licking spoonfuls of cream and other things at home, so I felt like this was the right thing to do.

Okay, either there’s something wrong with me, or I haven’t had enough restaurant experiences this year, or my appendicitis last year was doing weird things to my tastebuds for my first visit, but this tiramisu tasted amazing. So much better than last year! Is it possible that this restaurant is even stronger than before? I have no idea but I gotta say, I absolutely am in love with this place.

And for my last course, a crostoli with cinnamon sugar! Yes! Sweet fried Venetian pastry! It actually looks a lot like a sweet fried version of the pork sausage pasta! I guess this makes 9 courses? This was light, crispy and delicious! A perfect end to the night!

I love this place. It’s exceeded all of my expecations. Overall, I loved it just as much, if not more than my first visit here. The flavours are bold and incredible, but never heavy. I’ve always claimed that I like this place better than Tipo 00, but I don’t think that’s fair on them??? Both places are amazing and generous. They both serve similar food. Today’s squid special here blew Tipo’s signature squid ink pasta out of the water (pun intended?). But I don’t think I would ever recommend one over the other, simply because they are in different locations. They’re not competing; they’re both superstars in their respective states. I will tell everyone to love them both!

For the $69 I paid, what I can compare is this: Tipo and Lulu cost the same for the chef’s menu. The service from both were great. Tipo gave far more food, but I also couldn’t finish it. So for a normal person, both places serve more than enough food – you’ll be super satisfied and won’t go hungry. Splurge on both!