I have my first memories of Zafferano from years ago, relating to long lunches overlooking the Swan River whilst eating seafood and drinking wine. Not to forget finishing off my meal with massive brandy goblets of Hennessy XO – it was here that I first used brandy balloon goblets, and I was so impressed that nowadays I have my own.
Though I believe the restaurant has changed hands since, the same view remains. Whilst you don’t get the same view of the city skyline as you would in say South Perth, the tranquil nature of the water and the relaxed nature does give Zafferano a few ticks, especially during daytime. Come dusk, Zafferano’s loses a lot of its view but the classy Italian inspired atmosphere takes over.
Zafferano specialises in – you guess it - Italian/Mediterranean food. Well, maybe not your very traditional Italian food but food with an Italian influence. The average main course price is in the forties (putting it squarely into the fine dining category) with a range of red and white meats and seafood, along with a couple of vegetarian options (eg a mushroom dish and vegetarian crepes). The drinks menu contains beer, cocktails, and a selection of wines mainly from Australia, as well as the odd international wine.
As always, the owners try and ensure that the service is great, offering some happy Italian service right down to the flambe crepes that are made right in front of you at your table. This tradition has carried on, with the preparation being a bit of a spectacle.
Turkish bread dips - $9.50
A little different to your standard Turkish bread with dips, this Turkish bread was grilled with a Balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil. Whilst the glossy extra virgin olive oil was prominent in look and taste, the balsamic was hardly noticeable. As promised, the Turkish bread was also served with two dips - a pumpkin based dip that had distinctive pumpkin sweetness, and a moderately flavoured beetroot based dip topped with shaved almonds. Both tips were topped up with a layer of extra virgin olive oil. Yes, Italians do love their olive oil. Rather tasty.
Double roasted Muscovy duckling - $46.50
This main course dish had two duck Marylands served with a rich duck jus, fresh orange, fregolone, and rosemary.
The duck meat may have been double roasted, with the meat breaking apart quite easily, but the skin was very moist and soft – perhaps it had been soaked in the rich duck jus. That wasn’t an issue - I just prefer my duck skin a little more “fried” or “roasted” to give it a bit of crispness. The rich duck jus surrounded the duck like a moat and was kept quite simple and wasn’t salty or strong in other flavouring. Subtle notes of the fresh orange combined with the jus and the duck meat flavours to create a pleasant dish. However, the taste of rosemary was very strong in this dish – a little too much for my liking.
Amelia Park lamb - $44.50
The lamb French cutlets were herb crusted, oven roasted, and served pink with garlic and rosemary, roasted potato, pinot jus and vincotto.
In my opinion the best way to have lamb cutlets - the cutlets were cooked medium rare apart from 1 piece which was unfortunately cooked a bit more than medium. Again the taste of rosemary was prominent in this dish, but otherwise the lamb was how you expect French cutlets – tender, with the added jus and marinade flavours.
In summary, Zafferano offers some good Mediterranean/Italian food in a nice prime location. I found that the food wasn't groundbreaking but was decent for what it was.
Points to note: Zafferano has a fine dining menu that includes a lot of different base ingredients to tickle your fancy. That includes a couple of vegetarian dishes but not enough to write home about.
Go for: Upmarket Italian inspired fine dining food in an upmarket environment with views.
The Old Swan Brewery
173 Mounts Bay Road
(08) 9321 2588
Lunch/dinner - 7 days a week from 11am
Breakfast - Saturday and Sunday from 8am