Lambretta is a personal favourite Italian restaurant that I fell in love with during my uni days about 4-5 years ago (dang I’m old!).
With a really humble size to this establishment, you will get a feeling of intense warmth when you walk in, often greeted by the owner of the place, Maurizio. It resembles a little cottage home, that is open for people to come through for their meals (and pay for them of course *winks*).
The counter breaks the restaurant into the two halves in which the tables populate the area. Towards the end is the kitchen where all the yummy food is prepared! (did I not say that the place is rather small?)
The menu at this joint does not offer a huge range, but each dish is served with great quality. Some of their dishes even exude a certain home-cooked-food aroma which can be quite difficult to forget! A little background on what Lambretta actually is (once again, courtesy of WikiPedia):
Lambretta was a line of motor scooters originally manufactured in Milan, Italy, by Innocenti but also manufactured under licence by Société Industrielle de Troyes (S.I.T.) in France, NSU in Germany, Serveta in Spain, API in India, Pasco in Brazil, Auteca in Colombia, and Siambretta in Argentina. In 1972, the Indian government bought the Milanese factory and the rights to the Lambretta name, creating Scooters India Limited (SIL). Today, the Innocenti brand name rights are owned by Fiat, whereas the Lambretta and Lambro brand names are owned by SIL and are licensed to various companies who want association with the iconic brand, including: Taiwanese manufactured scooters; Indian light vehicle engines; British fashion clothing; and Chinese produced watches.
In 1922, Ferdinando Innocenti of Pescia built a steel-tubing factory in Rome. In 1931, he took the business to Milan where he built a larger factory producing seamless steel tubing and employing about 6,000. During the Second World War the factory was heavily bombed and destroyed. It is said that surveying the ruins, Innocenti saw the future of cheap, private transport and decided to produce a motor scooter – competing on cost and weather protection against the ubiquitous motorcycle.
The main stimulus for the design style of the Lambretta and Vespa dates back to Pre-WWII Cushman scooters made in Nebraska, USA. These olive green scooters were in Italy in large numbers, ordered originally by Washington as field transport for the Paratroops and Marines. The US military had used them to get around Nazi defence tactics of destroying roads and bridges in the Dolomites (a section of the Alps) and the Austrian border areas.
Aeronautical engineer General Corradino D’Ascanio, responsible for the design and construction of the first modern helicopter by Agusta, was given the job by Ferdinando Innocenti of designing a simple, robust and affordable vehicle. It had to be easy to drive for both men and women, be able to carry a passenger, and not get its driver’s clothes dirty.
Interesting stuff isn’t it? I know not why Maurizio actually called the little food place Lambretta but I dare bet that it’s got to do with his little remake of the Lambretta in his little place (look to the right!). It is actually the housing for his coffee machine and little espresso cups, with which he makes his rather delicious coffee (only tried them two or three times but it was definitely lovely! :)
Lambretta boasts of its specials-on-a-chalk-board tradition, in which the specials for the day is handwritten onto a nice chalkboard, which is then brought around the restaurant by a waiter, to the table that is the newest addition to the restaurant to have a look. Most of the time, the dishes featured on this board are unique in its own right, with things ranging from goat, to squid ink, and other greats!
The other great thing about this place is the fresh and warm bread that is served with traditionally with olive oil and some balsaimic vinegar to start off the meal. With a nice crispy crust, and a delicate soft finish in the body, this bread is one of my favourite in town and it’s apparently baked right on the premises! Lovely.
Anyway, onto the mains! With a nice group of six people during this occassion, we decided to order the following dishes:
- Calamari with Salad (not too sure what the real name of this is…)
- Lambretta 175 Pizza
- Lambretta 175 Pasta
- Pollo alla Capolatena (spelling might be wrong here)
- Spaghetti Nero (on the specials board this night!)
The calamari with salad shown in the picture is the ‘large’ portion that’s offered on the menu. With such a generous serving of squid, this dish is definitely worth the money! The best thing about this dish (other than it being really really healthy), is the intense taste of the dish! I honestly did not expect too much from this but it ended up being so yummy! A good amount of seasoning I must say, and don’t be fooled by it’s “only salad and seafood” nature. It’s actually quite filling! Or so I’m told. :)
The Lambretta 175 pizza is my must-have when you visit Lambretta. The reason for this is quite simple – it’s just uniquely yummilicious! Check the description out before you even question my ‘unique’ statement:
Prosciutto, shaved parmesan, rocket, and a balsaimic dressing (there is another ingredient but I can’t seem to read it off the menu photo! boo.)
For those who are not fans of balsaimic vinegar then I’m quite sad to say that this dish might not be for you, but give it a go anyway! Nibble off someone who might be ordering!
The sour and salty of the vinegar and shaved parmesan just goes so well, and the slight bitterness of the rocket just brings the overall and overwhelming I might add taste to the dish. The other thing I love about the pizzas here is the tasty base that they use! For some weird reason, their base actually has a taste to it even when there’s nothing on it!
The Lambretta 175 pasta is another dish that oozes with uniqueness:
Home-made saffron pasta tossed in tomato sauce, ricotta and pine nuts, garnished with fresh rocket salad…
I haven’t had this dish all to myself before (yes, I’m a nibbler =P)… but it is tasty! I don’t know how well it’d sit with just one person eating it, but I personally don’t think I will be able to handle the whole plate with all that ricotta. So a definitely tasty dish but thought will have to be given into whether one or two people should order one serve. The ricotta can get a bit much.
I did not try the Pollo but it was apparently very yummy in accordance to my mate. Served with a generous amount of gravy/sauce, I could tell the chicken was not lacking in moisture. So from my side, that’s the plus!
The Spaghetti Nero was my dish for the night, and was it an order not to forget! Everyone tried a little of that black plate of spaghetti and there was a common applaud for its delicious taste! It comes served with some squid pieces, and some hints of chilli as well (which was a bit on the low side for me, but that might be because I’m asian :)) Overall a great dish to have, if not for the blackness – but then again, there’s the fun of posing for pictures with really blackened teeth!
We didn’t have any desserts but the tiramisu is a recommendation from me based on my previous experiences with this restaurant! They whip up a nice cup of tiramisu that gives a good amount of kahlua and sponge, not too creamy (quite the opposite of Ciao Italia).
I love this place, and would be willing to go back again and again, and again. The prices are pretty reasonable with the pizza costing about $17.50, and the pasta $18.50. The Pollo was about $21… so that gives you an idea of the prices.
Once again, fabulous place!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rating by: S.T.
Lambretta Cucina Italian Restaurant
Telephone: (08) 9389 5858
Address: 45b Hampden Road, Nedlands 6009