Della Nonna, Kew

844 Glenferrie Road
Hawthorn Vic
03 9819 6444

Last night I visited a relatively new restaurant in the suburbs of Melbourne. Della Nonna is on Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn, near the corner of Barkers Road. I had read a review in the Age by Matt Preston and decided I'd try it some day.

Well, that day was yesterday. I had looked on a couple of other blogs at customer reviews, with a range of 1/10 to 10/10, I figured it probably came down to what the person writing the review expected from the place.

I had no expectations, other than a good Italian meal in a local suburban restaurant. On arrival we were seated in the courtyard. Walking through the restaurant proper, it was very loud and crowded, and considering the warm weather we are having I was happy to be seated outside. The courtyard was interesting...only big enough for about 16 diners, and sharing the space with the entrance to the toilet (not so cleverly disguised behind a curtain) and surrounded by two storey walls of neighbouring shops. All of this aside, once it was dark and the tea light on the table shone, it was kind of OK. Not somewhere you would say, 'Wow that courtyard was great', but it was...OK.

Now, the food and service. We were quickly offered drinks and had our water filled. Good sour dough bread and excellent EVO and balsamic was served. The pizza menu looked good, boasting a woodfired oven and crispy thin bases, we ordered the meatball pizza, and it was fantastic. Not too much sauce, crisp base and great meat balls. If anything it was little underseasoned, but a very good pizza nonetheless. We also snacked on the warmed baby olives with rosemary and almonds which were excellent.

The menu is very large, and traditionally laid out offering all of the pasta, pizza, fish, meat and chicken dishes you would expect, but up one level from your typical Italian eatery. The penne with pork meatballs was rich and delicious.

The special risotto for the day was Salami, Panchetta, Olives and Tomatoes. It was well presented, spread wide on a big plate. It was creamy and rich and tasted of everything you would expect, however on two of three plates served at our table there were no olives. Ooops.

Dessert offerings were Zabaglione with stone fruit, Strawberry Calzone and Affogato to name a few. But the Tiramisu was screaming to be eaten. Served at the table from a big bowl, it was light and fresh.

Overall, the experience at Della Nonna was very good, offering a little more than most local suburban restaurants deliver in good Italian cuisine.

Rating: 13/20

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