Contributor 'So, wots for dinner" shares a night out with family .......
WHEN you enter the Naked Nut restaurant – tucked away at 120 Collins Avenue, Edge Hill – immediately you know you are among friends. People who love what they do, serving fine food, beverages and whose attention to detail is second to none.
In a simplistic, suburban setting, the NN is well laid out. Even with a full house (as it was the Thursday night we dined), you do not feel ‘hemmed in’ seated in this comfortable restaurant. The walls are adorned with a series of entertaining etchings of famous (or infamous) characters whose bald heads match our convivial host, Franco, whose ‘naked nut’ inspired the name of his restaurant.
My parents and I were greeted at the door and again at our tables by friendly, welcoming staff who looked after us and quickly gave a rendition of the specials, including drinks such as the Cosmopolitan and Lychee Martini ($12).
The menu & wine list at the NN is consistently good, although you can BYO wine only. Our waiter suggested a bottle of the Yalgarnia Classic Dry White ($8/$36.50) and we were not disappointed with the full fruit but crisp finish of this little known West Australian.
In anticipation of fabulous desserts, we forewent Entrees in favour of the Bruchetta Special ($8.50) which on top of the traditional combination of tomato, basil and quality olive oil was bursting with the flavour and colour of freshly diced Spanish onion, capsicum and olives.
Apart from the versatility of seven main dishes and four pasta options served as Entrée & Mains (ranging from $12.30 to $28.50), the Specials will always entice.
My mum ordered ‘Fish of the Day’ – a modest Barramundi fillet topped with 4 medium sized prawns and a flavoursome bisque ($32) while her partner succumbed to the other special of Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks (also $32).
Knowing my parents hailed from Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria, our host apologised for the absence of wild-caught prawns and promised to make amends by seeking our product out at Rusty’s Market the following day.
Any disappointment at the farmed seafood was quickly overcome by the size and tenderness of Bruce’s lamb shanks! Despite being a permanent resident for at least the past 30 years, we have long accepted having a ‘kiwi’ in the family and his hankering for anything lamb.
Apart from filling most of a ½ metre boat-shaped plate heaped atop lashings of creamy potato mash in a rich, tomato-based gravy, the shanks were so tender the meat literally fell away from the bone. Such was the nostalgia evoked for the homeland, at one point our guest threatened to break into a passionate rendition of the ‘Green Green Grass of Home’.
My Lemon & Lime Chicken Breast oven-baked with chilli, ginger, shallots, capsicum & coriander on a bed of glass noodles ($28.50) proved a little dry and not as interesting as anticipated.
However, this was more than compensated by another glass of wine (Rymill’s Bee’s Knees Sparkling Red $9/$38.50) and fresh Pecan Pie ($12) served with mandarin and almond ice cream AND chantilly cream (extra points to the chef for NOT making us choose!). Meanwhile, our designated driver wondered aloud whether Franco’s aunty’s Tira Misu recipe ($10) was going to tip him over the limit, with the sponge biscuits drenched in coffee and marsala, layers of mascarpone cheese and cream, ganished with grated chocolate… not to mention the complimentary Lemoncello with which our host proceeded to ply us well after the dinner and bill had been finalised.
This latest experience left us in no doubt the Naked Nut is a place locals will keep going back to simply because they will always come away knowing they have paid for quality food and outstanding service.
* Check out Sunday dinners locals special (buy one main course, receive one free) or Wednesday Summer Scorchers Menu (2 courses $25). Open Wed to Sunday; also for lunch Friday & Sunday, ph 4032 2136 for bookings.
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