Author: Pieta Sharpe
Publisher: Perth Happenings
It is no secret to those of us who live in Perth that Subiaco has lost a little bit of its spark.
The pizzazz of my youth where I LOVED going to Subi has changed. I will now head in for shows at the Regal Theatre, and to be honest often I will eat elsewhere because it is so hard to find a park, the tickets are so expensive and I have had so many fines... anyone with me? Well whilst at Funtastico I found out some news about Subi which may help to change all of this, but more on that later.
When I researched about Funtastico before I went there, I envisioned a small restaurant with older style Italian owners who made pizza, pasta and had those retro type tables with the round chairs. I envisioned that putting the 'fun' back into dining meant there was a kids area, or people who danced when it was my birthday or the like (you know those places!) or perhaps I could draw on the tablecloth... I really was expecting something cheap, cheerful and take away-esque.
When myself and my date (perks of the job!) headed into the restaurant, I had to double back wondering if I had gone into the wrong place! When you walk into Funtastico there is not one element of old school Italian pizzeria (except for the amazing pizza oven, but even that oozed class). You are greeted by a chic bar, lined with all of the best brands of liquor and wine and a venue that is much more chic, sophisticated, "wow I should really have dressed better that my jeans and a jacket", kinda feel. There was something immediately as I walked in that felt homely, welcoming and reminiscent of the Subiaco of old.
Funtastico as a brand and a venue has stood the test of time in Subiaco, being around for well over 10 years. Having changed hands years ago, the original owners have now taken the reigns back again and created a beautiful family owned, Italian restaurant. As you know Perth, I am all about supporting local business, but Funtastico looks like a business that is run by those who know what they are talking about- no retro round, sixties type vibe here, here it is all class.
Once my shock had worn off, we were greeted by the loveliest maitre'd. In fact, I would say that service was the first element of 'old school' that I noticed. You can not go past old school, authentic, customer service. We were shown to our seats and I perused what was going to be my new favourite menu in Perth. Those who have followed Perth Happenings for a while will know that I adore seafood. Specifically prawns and scallops and if a restaurant can nail it with those two, well I don't care if you don't stock a good shiraz, you've made a friend. Luckily for me I had a fab shiraz too!
My date, who will be simply known as J, and I sat down. Within moments of sitting, and still admiring the decor, we were greeted by Nicole. Nicole is one of the owners and a sincerely lovely person. Ok, yes that may be completely biased based on the kind of people I love meeting; but a genuine, happy, attentive and passionate business owner is A-OK in my books. Nicole and I had a twenty minute chat about almost everything to do with Perth, Subiaco, my business, her business, the menu with a few sprinkles of non-professional jokes. Instantly at ease and instantly I was won over.
Beyond Nicole there was a team of wait staff that left no need unattended. The authentic Italian accents of two of the staff was a great touch and if I forgot where I was and just soaked in my environment - Europe all the way.
Now the food. Again, tough menu choices when the options included entrees such as Arancini with Sweet Corn & Romesco Sauce with Nuts, Calamari Fritti with Sea Salt, a touch of Chilli & Aioli and Scallops in the Shell with Artichoke Puree & Chorizo. I could not decide, but after much discussion we agreed to share the calamari. Nicole knew I was a little disappointed to not have the scallops to try, so I was allowed a special order of a taster of two! (Not available on the menu unfortunately). I generally don't comment too much on the food specifically in my blogs as I am not a chef. I say this often throughout my writing but I WILL comment on these dishes as I am a seafood lover and I know when something is gooooood!
Realistically I could stop writing here and say - best scallops I have ever had, in my entire life. Tasty, not chewy, so much flavour and just delicious. I could add 1000 more adjectives that mean amazing, but you get the point. I can also be very skeptical when it comes to calamari as we all know it can be super chewy. Wow, not today. The sea salt and chilli was a beautiful accompaniment to the calamari and these were, in all honesty, cooked to perfection. So easy to eat and it was hard to ensure we shared equally! The size of the serve, and quality of the food, for a menu value of $23 was reasonable. Don't head into Funtastico thinking you are at your local pub with salt and pepper squid. No, you are purchasing a chef who knows his stuff and I am happy to pay for that.
Main meals. Here is where it was MUCH easier for me. Spaghetti Marinara with Fish, Calamari, Prawns, Scallops & Mussels in Napoletana Sauce baked & served in a "Cartouche." For those of you, who like me have no idea what that is, it is cooked in what looks like a baking paper bag as it helps absorb the flavours and keeps everything at a great temperature (here is my - I'm not a chef moment). J decided he would try the Lasagna. His rationale - this is an Italian restaurant and they should be able to do the simple things incredibly well. It is all good to do fancy meals with this and that, but a good solid lasagna shows the strength of the chef - I couldn't argue with that!
My marinara was delectable. If I could write delicious 100 times and this still be interesting I would. Delicious does not do this meal justice - seafood is now cooked at Funtastico in Perth - end of story. Nicole also chose a wine for me. It was perfectly matched. Thank you so much for that Nicole as I have a new top ten wine too!
J's lasagna was as we anticipated, somewhat of a classic. Traditional, cheesy layered goodness that is lasagna. J's review - a simple classic executed beautifully (can you tell we are both writers?). Here was the second time that 'old school' came into play. If you can create a wonderful classic dish, well you have J's approval.
At the end of all this, I was not sure if I could fit in dessert, however having placed my decision in the hands of our Instagram followers on a story, it was decided we had to (if Perth can't make a decision for you, well why have 25,000 followers).
What we decided upon was a smaller portion than usual (again not on the normal menu) of the Tiramisu and a Coffee. I am a huge fan of tiramisu as well and my Baba made a fabulous tiramisu, so there was a lot to live up to.
One word description - Yum.
Everything that could be perfect in a dessert was there - did I mention there was mascarpone cheese?
All in all, I could not fault the venue, the chef, the service, the quality of food and drinks nor the location. I will be honest though; if I was looking for somewhere a little special in Subiaco to take someone on a fancy date, going by what I found in the research, I wouldn't have thought Funtastico would be the right vibe. I am here to tell you, head online, check out the menu and then try it for yourself. This is a tastefully decorated, funky venue with clientele that suit the Subiaco feel. It is not a traditional family restaurant, and although children are welcomed, this is definitely somewhere you take someone you want to woo.
Disclaimer here - we are certainly invited along to venues however I wish to reiterate that we do not get told what to write. Our team write from a genuine place and what we feel is reflective and honest for our readers. This blog has not be edited or even reviewed by Funtastico before I have posted it, it is 100% what I feel and my experience. I write that because I am a little gushy about this place. It is my new go to for any time I am invited out for dinner, or for any special occasion... any reason to have another scallop! We don't write features on a business we don't believe in.
Oh the news on Subiaco! Did you know that parking is now FREE at night? Check out the photo of the bar and you will see the signage. Free parking at night in Subiaco now. No reason not to head along and try this amazing restaurant.
When you head along, if you see Nicole, tell her you found them on Perth Happenings and you need to try the seafood - you won't be disappointed.