Having spent three weeks in Italy recently as part of my almost-quarter life crisis Eurotrip (fifth of life crisis?), I am now incredibly picky about my Italian food. I’m one of those people who’ll come out with remarks like “This is nothing like Nonna’s gnocchi in Varese” or “Bolognese is not meant to be so sloppy. Trust me, I ate a bowl of it in Bologna itself”. I feared I’d ruined every Australian Italian food experience still to come in my life (I’m sure there will be countless; I love the stuff too much!), so I was sceptical about hitting up Glen Osmond Road’s Osteria de Mesa with my gal pals a couple of weeks ago. I needn’t have been.
Everything from the homemade pasta being made by what looked like a very authentic Nonno to the red flowers woven in through the outdoor area to the tiramisu being served straight onto your plate from a huge serving dish took me back to Bella Italia. Our waiter’s accent was thick and authentic as could be and the menu offerings had the simplicity and freshness I so loved about the good (there were of course some not so good) restaurants I visited.
With a biting chill in the air, we rugged our laps up in the cosy blankets provided (The Store does this too) and perched ourselves outside at the very front table. We were glad we did, too, as a rather raucous Hen’s night was going on inside that we preferred to stay as far away from as possible.
All three of us opted for pastas – Annie chose duck ragu, Amy settled on a creamy tomato-ey chicken thing and I went for a simple tomato, eggplant, chilli penne dish. We taste-tested each other’s and I loved them all, but I have to say the duck ragu was probably the winner of the three. Smooth sauce, ridiculously tender duck, proper fresh pasta… Nonna would be proud! Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of it, as I did with the inside of the restaurant, but here’s a pic of my rad penne:
We decided to treat ourselves to dessert after spotting the aforementioned homemade tiramisu being dished out (literally) a couple of tables across. All I can say is it was better than any I had in Italy, and I had a few. I don’t know what they did, but the coffee/chocolate/cream balance was impeccable. I almost started singing That’s Amore then and there. This was a perfect end to a lovely evening and Osteria de Mesa’s crowning glory dish, although I may have to make a return trip just to make sure.
Osteria de Mesa
205 Glen Osmond Road, Frewville