If you love flavour-filled Italian food, great wine, and even better service, then our latest culinary discovery, Zirgone 36, will be your dream come true.
Opened just last month, Zirgone 36 is the culmination of a lifelong dream for the Fiorenza brothers, Fabrizio and Claudio, who immigrated to Australia in the hopes of creating a restaurant that stands out from the crowd.
Named after the street and house number of the brothers’ childhood home in a charming town in Calabria, Italy, Zirgone 36 aims to transport diners to a simpler time, where the quality and freshness of ingredients spoke for themselves.
We were lucky enough to taste test a number of items on the new restaurant’s extensive menu. Here’s what we thought:
Mixed Seafood Antipasto – We ordered a hot and cold Mixed Seafood Antipasto to start, and boy did this immaculately presented dish deliver. There were five different types of fish on this delicious platter. The roulade of fish, with just a hint of salami, was both flavoursome on the inside, and golden and crispy on the outside. The scallops were a welcome surprise, however, with a prawn, scallop and mussel on the inside that were topped with cheese for added goodness. The mussels hit you with a real fish pang, but the beautiful crumb on top softened the flavours perfectly. While smoked salmon wouldn’t be our first fish of choice, the smoked salmon and cream cheese roll was a welcome and refreshing accompaniment to an already flavour bursting dish. The platter even had a grilled octopus and greens salad in the centre, which served as a light, zingy and fresh ending to an exquisite dish.
Beef Carpaccio with Rocket, Parmesan and Walnuts – The Beef Carpaccio came in as a close second to our favourite savoury dish of the night. Though the beef could have been sliced slightly thinner, the meat was tender and the serving size was almost too generous (if that’s even a thing?). Topped with walnuts, rocket and Parmesan, this rustic antipasto was finished off with just a hint of lemon, and a balsamic glaze, and was seasoned to perfection. We couldn’t finish this dish while we were there, but you can bet we packed it up for a late night treat, or the next day’s lunch.
Pappardelle with Ragu of Calabrese Sausage and Porcini Mushrooms – This dish delivered us straight to Southern Italy with its fresh and perfectly cooked pappardelle pasta! While it wasn’t your traditional meaty ragu, we were not disappointed. This rustic starting plate was packed with flavour – from the pork and fennel sausage, to just a hint of chilli, these classic flavour combinations certainly made the dish sing (and kept us diving in for more).
Risotto with Pumpkin Cream and Prawns – There’s only one word for this risotto, and it’s wow! We all agreed that this was our favourite savoury dish of the night. The classic Italian risotto perplexes even some of our greatest master chefs, but the crew at Zirgone 36 absolutely nailed this dish. It was, hands down, everything you’d want in a risotto – creamy, well cooked, moist, and packed with flavour. Though we weren’t sure about the mix of pumpkin and prawns initially, this surprising flavour combination ticked all the right boxes. We were thanking our lucky stars that the serving size was so generous, because we simply couldn’t get enough of this tasty starting plate.
Mixed Grill of Prawns, Swordfish and Squid dressed with Salmoriglio – We have a feeling Zirgone 36 may become known for its locally sourced, fresh seafood and it’s not difficult to see why. Yet another immaculately presented seafood dish arrived at our table and we couldn’t wait to dig in. The squid had a perfectly balanced smoky flavour, while the prawns were cooked to perfection, and filled to the brim with soft, moist prawn meat. And the swordfish, you ask? Well the perfectly cooked, and well-seasoned Italian seafood staple transported us straight back to summer nights in Southern Italy. With each piece of seafood topped with Salmoriglio (a Southern Italian condiment made of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped oregano, parsley, salt and pepper), this dish certainly delivered from start to finish.
Mixed Vegetables – Filled with the two staple vegetables of Southern Italy, eggplant and zucchini, this mixed vegetables dish was almost too immaculately served to eat. Perfectly grilled ribbons of eggplant and zucchini, alongside a side of grilled capsicums, and finished off with a hint of lemon; this dish was an excellent accompaniment to our mixed fish platters.
Mixed Salad – The mixed salad was a welcome end to a very filling main meal. A perfectly dressed mix of lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions, we couldn’t think of a better way to end a flavoursome, and balanced dinner.
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Berries – Panna Cotta perfection comes down to three key factors: the wobble, the cream and the sweetness, and we’d be lying if we said this panna cotta didn’t deliver on each. Delicately served with a berry coulis, and finished with violet sugar and mint, this vanilla panna cotta looked amazing, but tasted even better. Our spoons glided through the dessert, which was complete with a signature ‘panna cotta wobble.’ Delicious!
Chocolate Panna Cotta with Chocolate and Espresso Sauce and Pistachio Crumb – Chocolate, espresso and pistachio now reign supreme as our favourite flavour combination, and this dish, well it deserves another wow! Though the dish lacked the traditional panna cotta ‘wobble,’ it was everything you could want in a dessert and more. The panna cotta was perfectly smooth and creamy, and the chocolate and espresso sauce could almost be bottled and sold on its own – it was that good. Finished with pistachio biscotti, some might even call this dish life changing. Note this dessert down as a must try!
The food, desserts and wine at Zirgone 36 were, of course, top notch – but the service, which could only be described as second to none, deserves a special mention. The Fiorenza brothers and their wonderful staff have certainly succeeded in bringing authentic Italy to Adelaide, even if just with their welcoming, helpful and friendly service that the locals in Italy are known for.
We would like to thank the team at Zirgone 36 for treating us to the best of Southern Italy in Adelaide!
Zirgone 36 is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7am-9pm Monday to Thursday, and 7am-9.30pm Friday and Saturday, and closed every Sunday.
Words by Julia Arena
WHERE: 1/471 Payneham Road, Felixstow