Melt in your mouth mozzarella at No Mafia, Northbridge

Something you may (or maybe not!) know about me from reading my blog is that I work in marketing, with a specialised focus on digital, direct marketing and campaign management. To some of you that might sound like a whole lot of buzz words, but those of you in the industry will understand me when I say that in Perth, we are extremely limited in great marketing jobs for great brands. 

Last year in July after five years of working at P&N Bank (formerly Police & Nurses), I bid my beloved team farewell and joined the marketing team at Lotterywest. It was an extremely emotional transition, with the realisation that I was saying goodbye to close friends and a manager who acted as an incredible mentor who developed me in my career, my further education and led me to career highlights such as winning the prestigious Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Marketing, and also being named in the top 60 for B&T magazine’s Australia-wide 30 Under 30. 
Now I adore my new team at Lotterywest and feel like I’ve settled in so well – but there’s always going to be a part of me that remains loyal to P&N and my former team. I’ve been catching up with most of them when I can, but recently I managed to settle in for dinner and drinks with two of them, Anna and Kerrie. 
In their normal style, leading up to our catch up they emailed me, suggesting I pick a venue. Because I’d been eying No Mafia since it opened, I immediately made my choice.  From the team behind Vic Park eatery The Precinct, this little hole in the wall venue opposite Bivouac has taken residence where Jus Burgers used to be and is a welcome addition with it’s Souther Italian cuisine. The food is simple, the ingredients honoured and there’s a beautiful wine list showcasing Italian and Western Australian beverages. 

We arrive around 6pm and choose a table out the front of the venue, placing ourselves on the high chairs and immediately ordering drinks to kick start our evening. 

Kerrie opts for a beautiful glass of Italian red which sounds tempting, but my eyes immediately lock onto the cocktails portion of the menu. After a quick query with our waiter for an elaboration on the flavours, Anna and I both choose the noccello limonade ($15.00) which is a simple drink made of frangelico, limonata and garnishes of lavender and lemon.

I know it feels like a big call, but I have to say this is one of the best cocktails I’ve had. Simplicity is the key here and the balance of the lovely hazelnut liqueur and the tart lemon is spot on. I liked it so much I kept it as my drink of choice for the rest of our long dinner.

We’re so busy all chatting that it actually takes us about an hour before we order the food. Credit to our waiter, he was so patient and bubbly – checking in occasionally but also not rushing us to make our choices. Throughout the entire evening we really noticed just how fantastic the service was.

Once we do make our choices, the food comes out quite quickly. First to come out is the fresh la marchesa mozzarella with basil and sea salt ($19.00) and a side serving of Bread in Common sourdough ($4.00). Cute little jars of virgin olive oil and sea salt are brought out to our table to accompany the bread.

I love love love cheese and in particular mozzarella. This one, while a little pricey, is pure quality. It tears apart, melting in my mouth. It needed a bit more salt though but that was an easy fix as I stacked some cheese and basil onto the bread, sprinkling salt to taste. It is just so fresh, simple and beautiful. It’s quintessentially Italian without even a trace of pretence.

The sourdough is beautiful. Crusty on the outside, fluffy soft on the inside. I’m a big fan of Bread in Common so I really appreciate the effort they put into their staple bread – it’s the perfect vessel to accompany that simple but beautiful mozzarella.

The swordfish ($21.00) comes with bottarga, beach banana, broccoli, lemon and fink oil (this is now tuna on the menu apparently). A small size plate but flavour wise it’s lovely – delicate and slightly unctuous in texture. The salad on the side looks uncomplicated but there’s a nice contrast between the freshness of the ingredients, and the sweet and salty beach banana.

The bottarga (mullet roe) is powdered and crumbled over the top, offering another flavour element to the dish. I really enjoyed this plate overall – we all did.

When the eggplant parmigiana with basil pesto and parmesan cream ($20.00) comes to our table it’s starting to get a little darker and by then we’re onto another round of drinks. The parmigiana is just beautiful, stunning really. Crunchy on the top and well formed on the inside with grilled eggplant, cherry tomatoes and that moorish parmesan cream.

For me this was a truly memorable dish. It had texture, depth of flavour, and spunk from that punchy pesto. I will definitely order this again next time I drop by No Mafia for a feed.

To get some added veggie goodness we get a serve of the local greens with garlic, fini oil, red pepper flakes and sea salt ($12.00). It’s quite a simple dish but I like the flavours and the varying textures, with the snow peas blanched lightly to retain a good snap to them.

There’s definitely a great kick of garlic which we all jokingly agree that lucky we’re all eating it so we’ll all have stinky breath! For the price it’s probably not the biggest serving of greens – I would have liked to see a bit more on the plate, however you can really tell the freshness so I was happy to wear the associated tag for the taste.

Our final dish for the evening is the pork loin with pistachio paste and pink peppercorns ($26.00). I was expecting big things from this dish after the really delicious previous ones but sadly for me, this was the course I enjoyed the least.

The pork was cold and definitely needed some attention with seasoning. The pistachio paste is a mild flavour so while it works well with the pork, the dish was calling out for something with more oomph to lift each bite. The fat on the pork was largely unrendered leaving it a little cool and jelly like. Still edible for someone like me, but for Anna and Kerrie who don’t usually eat such high ratios of fat on their meat, it was too much to handle. I guess you could say this dish wasn’t quite up our alley.

All up I have to say I really liked No Mafia and think it’s a great addition to the dining scene here in Perth. I’m definitely already looking to go back and try the triple cooked potatoes with chilli and garlic, the beef carpaccio and what I’ve been told are heavenly mushrooms. A return to No Mafia is definitely on the cards. Soon I hope!

No Mafia on Urbanspoon

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  • Reply
    Martine @ Chompchomp
    11 April 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Yay! So glad you loved it too! I really heart these guys and hope they have every success. Hope you are settling into the new job and looking forward to being your bunching buddy toward the end of the year!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    12 April 2015 at 10:52 am

    YES you will definitely be my food buddy when we're nice and close! This was amazing, I can see why you love their team so much. Next stop, The Precinct!

  • Reply
    12 April 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I'm a really big fan of the precinct – didn't realise they were aligned. I'll be trying this out now. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    13 April 2015 at 5:00 am

    No worries 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    L. Lu
    16 April 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I always walk past here but haven't tried. I like the sound of the style of food they have on offer very much!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    18 April 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Hopefully you enjoy the food too there! I really want to go back 🙂

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