The Corner Italian
484 Hay Street, Subiaco
Ph: (08) 9382 2208
An Italian Journey
Chef Caleb Azuka has travelled the world to create his own unique version of Italian cuisine. He knew from a young age that he wanted to work in the food industry, helping in his family’s small restaurant in his home of Bologna, Italy. Having trained at a world-renowned restaurant in Modena Italy, Caleb was inspired to explore how traditional Italian cooking can be interpreted and influenced in a global context. After travelling and working in France and the USA, Caleb moved to Perth and opened The Corner Italian in July 2019.
Drawing on Caleb’s traditional roots, the menu offers an adventurous and refined dining experience. I start with the Calamari. Lightly seasoned with Caleb’s family spices I am left with a warm lingering after the first bite. Ideally paired to the 2018 Serafino Bellissimo Fiano (McLaren Vale) the sweetness from the vibrant fruit characteristics carry through to the mixed vegetables nestled in the calamari rings. The lemon truffle tartare finishes the meal with a zesty acidity accompanying the citrus notes in the wine.
The Polpette is presented as a centrepiece on the plate and enveloped in a bold, crimson tomato base. This generously sized slow-cooked meatball dish is tender and gently spiced and the savoury flavour of the mince is offset by the rich sweetness of well-seasoned tomatoes in the Napolitana sauce. The caramelised onions that sit on top of the meatball surprise by cutting through the sweetness with a tangy element. When paired with the 2016 Serafino Shiraz (McLaren Vale) the dish develops an added level of sophistication that makes me think it would be best shared with a loved one over candlelight – just as it is offered in the dinner sitting.
Caleb encourages his guests to engage with their meal as a multisensory experience. Presented with the Spaghetti all’Aragosta, I am invited to take my spoon to the generous sheet of grilled prosciutto on top of the spaghetti, shattering it into smaller pieces. I stir this through with the smoky capsicum-infused sweet chilli drops that frame the plate. As the drops blend into the creamy sauce that generously coat the champagne-poached lobster and prawns, the flavours are elevated by the saltiness of the prosciutto that is now mixed through the dish.
The chef’s signature is a Handcrafted Burrata. Caleb makes mozzarella balls by hand on-site; his version distinguishable with the inclusion of truffle cream and honey. The first thing I noticed with the Burrata was the earthiness of the truffle. The truffle cream with the aged balsamic offered a unique flavour combination, while the inclusion of edible flowers added an aesthetic appeal and mixing everything in together enhanced the overall flavour.
Caleb sees food as an artform, which is reflected on the plate. The menu speaks of his travels and his global exposure is reflected in the refined and creative flavour combinations.
In addition to the a la carte and degustation menus, Caleb offers personal cooking classes on Monday nights where novice cooks prepare and share their meals together. Caleb says, “Customers come in as strangers and leave as friends and family.”
Clearly, cooking is more than an occupation for Caleb. His heart and soul go into creating delicious food to excite the tastebuds and engage diners in the entire culinary experience. I will be back again.
by Danica Scott