The Adelaide Food Central team once again visited Nonna and I to taste more of their fabulous menu options. After such a great experience during our last visit, we were itching to come back and eat some delicious food prepared by the ever-joyful Chef Khalil.
First off we were presented with a beautiful Mixed Salad containing portobello mushrooms, capsicums, roasted eggplant and fresh tomatoes. This is something I enjoy at home as I love freshly made roasted eggplants and capsicums. These ingredients in a salad are so simple yet so delicious and I could honestly have just eaten those capsicums on their own. They are so sweet and delicious. Those capsicums with some crusty bread to mop up the balsamic are just divine.
We next sampled the Fried Calamari, which is served with either a sweet or hot tomato sauce. The calamari was crisp, perfectly seasoned and very tender. Paired with the sweet tomato it was a great starter and taste of the sea. You could tell from this dish that it was made with care as every morsel of calamari was cooked how it should be. I wanted a larger plate of these delights.
The Mussels Napoletana were cooked perfectly and served with a simple Napoletana sauce. It was full of flavour and while it is an extremely simple dish, when executed well simple cooking is the best in my opinion. The sauce was well seasoned and complemented the fresh mussels perfectly. The only thing I would add to this dish would be some herbs to lift the presentation and freshness of the dish.
Out of every starter we tasted, by far my favourite was the Portobello Parmigiano. These mushrooms are large and meaty and topped with tomato sauce and plenty of mozzarella cheese. It was heaven on a plate. This is the perfect vegetarian dish, but really any meat lover would surely fall in love as well. Chef Khalil sure knows how to nail simple cooking, and this dish is the perfect example.
We also sampled the soup of the day, which was a Lobster soup. This soup is a seafood lovers dream. It was creamy and had a real depth of smoky Lobster flavour. With plenty of lobster pieces throughout the soup and crunchy croutons on top, it was hearty and generous – exactly what Italian food should be like. Definitely a soup you would expect to have at Nonna’s house.
I love salmon and really appreciate a well-cooked and crispy skinned fish. This dish of Pan fried Salmon with vegetables lived up to my expectations. The salmon was perfectly cooked and moist and had the best crispy skin and put a huge smile on my face. I perhaps would have liked it accompanied with something else such as a mashed potato and greens. The vegetables themselves seemed a little miss matched with the salmon. But the fact that the Salmon was so perfectly cooked, it did not bother me too much what it was accompanied with.
We next had the Chicken Alla Nonna. This was chicken topped with eggplant, mozzarella and roasted Capsicums in light Napoletana sauce. This is a different take to a classic chicken Parmigiano, which is also on the menu. Again with those sweet roasted capsicums, they were great with the tender chicken, grilled eggplant and lots of cheese and sauce. Like every other dish, it was full of flavour and shows how you don’t need a lot of ingredients to have something delicious.
The Veal Piccata is veal in a sauce of lemon butter, capers and mushrooms. The veal was beautifully tender and not at all chewy which I was pleased with. I loved the combination of lemon and capers in the sauce and it was a great balance of sour and salty. It may not be the prettiest looking dish but the flavours are there and if you are a fan of lemon like I am, you will love it.
Finally we could not come to Nonna and I without having a pasta dish. We had the Piatto DiMare, which is a seafood combination with Napoletana sauce. I love a good marinara and this one a pretty good rendition. It was full of fresh, local seafood which was all cooked perfectly and full of flavour. I loved the calamari as they were so incredibly tender and the clams were sweet and tasty and tasted of the sea. Mixed with the fabulous Napoletana sauce again, it was delicious. I perhaps would have liked more sauce coating the pasta and a little more seasoning, but this is a very small criticism for a great dish.
From speaking to chef Khalil you can tell how passionate he is about food and his customers. His reasoning behind having such a small restaurant is that he loves being able to see every customer who comes into his restaurant from his kitchen and making sure everyone leaves with a smile on their face. He enjoys engaging with his customers and says that is what he finds most enjoyable about his job. To Chef Khalil, it’s about more than just food, it is his life and his livelihood and this shines throughout his cooking and his restaurant.
Contrary to what may have been written in the media, Nonna and I would make any Nonna smile. Being Italian myself and growing up being fed by my two beautiful Nonnas, I feel I know Italian food pretty well so when I say this restaurant is good, you can take my word for it. Now having visited Nonna and I for the second time, I can tell you it is consistently good and you are guaranteed to have a delicious meal whatever you order. You can taste the passion in the food, which is exactly what you get from any Nonna’s cooking. They cook with love and this is what Chef Khalil does. This is our second visit to this amazing restaurant, and once again, we left completely satisfied. Nonna and I is an absolute gem and well worth a visit.
Words by Angela Scarfo from All About That Food
WHERE: 1A Margaret St, Norwood