Modo Mio means “my way” and is the Italian fine dining restaurant at Burswood Entertainment Complex. Recruited from Milan, Head Chef Giampaolo Maffini has worked in two Michelin star restaurants and presents classic Italian dishes with his own modern twists, created from fresh local produce.
We leave behind the flashing lights and bustle of the casino and step into a sumptuous dining room that is decorated in neutral tones with leather tabletops, thick carpets and soft drapes hanging from ceiling to floor. The waiters wear long-sleeved white shirts and black ties. It’s elegant but warm, inviting and comfortable with a decent amount of space between tables, and I’m delighted with our choice for a midweek dinner date.
We start with pane all’aglio (garlic bread, AU$8). The bread is thinly sliced on an angle, crisp and buttered evenly, loaded with flavour we can actually see – parmesan, fresh parsley and chunks of chopped garlic.
Our first course dishes are Italian masterpieces, perfectly balanced and incredibly delicious. Jac orders the carpaccio di manzo, “salsa Cipriani”, rucola e parmigiano (beef carpaccio, Cipriani sauce, rocket salad, parmesan, AU$23). Carpaccio was created for the first time in Harry’s Bar, Venice by Giuseppi Cipriani and named after the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio, known for his use of reds and whites. The Cipriani sauce is the mayonnaise-based ‘secret’ sauce slathered over the thinly sliced raw beef. Jac tells me she would not hesitate to order this dish again – the flavours are harmonious and the beef melts in the mouth.
My first course is vitello tonnato, insalata di sedano, tartufo nero (roasted veal in tuna caper sauce with crispy celery salad, quail egg, black truffle, AU$25). If you don’t like tuna, a whiff of the pale pink sauce may well remind you of cat food. If you like tuna, it’s an entirely different story – this intricately plated cold starter is an absolute stunner. The veal is tender, the celery salad crunchy, fresh and light. The quail egg is spectacularly bright and gooey in the centre. I meticulously (or perhaps greedily) mop up every last smear of creamy tuna sauce and yolk with bread. The shaved raw truffle is my first taste of the season – there’s more truffle coming up on the blog, stay tuned for something fantastic! Two halves of a sour caper berry complete the flavours on the plate. Just as Jac would order the carpaccio again, I’ve lost my heart to the vitello tonnato.
The complimentary bread is served with dishes of pink salt, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Served warm, it’s gorgeous bread that tantalises the senses with its wonderful aroma and the superbly crisp crust that crackles when you break it with your hands or teeth.
Jac’s main course is filetto di dentice con salsa all’aragosta, olive nere, gamberoni fritti in crosta di polenta (pan-fried snapper, lobster bisque, black olives and deep fried prawns coated in polenta flour, AU$41). The fish and prawns are cooked well but combined with the seafood bisque, mashed potato, olives and a scattering of micro-herbs, there’s a little too much going on on the plate for Jac’s liking. The frothy milk foam on the dish helps cut through the richness of the bisque, but we’re not fans of foam – it looks like soap suds, spit, cat dribble or on my dish, something caught up in seaweed that you’ve found washed up on the beach – none of which are particularly appetising.
My main course is the fettuccine al nero di seppia, granchio, peperoni, capesante, vino bianco (black ink fettuccine, crab, scallops, red capsicum, white wine, garlic and chilli, AU$30). With more milk foam and a fresh grating of parmesan, the mound of black pasta resembles something washed up on the beach – and I wouldn’t be surprised if something scary scuttles out on poky legs. It’s not pretty but tastes beautiful, with sweet chunks of scallop, plenty of crab meat and a very subtle chilli heat.
We share a side dish of asparagi e funghi profumati al timo (sauteed asparagus and mushroom, AU$10). The vegetables are overwhelmingly rich, served with a layer of Parmesan and flavoured with truffle oil.
Jac’s read the menu on the Modo Mio website and is looking forward to having panna cotta with strawberries marinated in aged balsamic vinegar for dessert but alas – there is no panna cotta on the dessert menu tonight. Instead, she orders the creme brulee pera cotta nello zafferano e pinot grigio, sorbetto all’arancia (creme brulee, poached pear in saffron and pinot grigio, blood orange sorbet, AU$14). The creme brulee’s a cracker but we don’t think puddings should ever be served in square dishes – it’s too hard to get your spoon into the corners to scoop it all up. The alluringly fanned pear could’ve been poached a tad longer but it’s pleasantly sweet with just a hint of saffron.
The blood orange sorbet is delicious, served crowned with a shiny disc of crisp tempered chocolate. A glass of warm syrupy sticky dessert wine with delicate orange notes completes the dish.
The biggest disappointment of the meal is my tiramisu (AU$15). It’s “WHOA, geeeez that’s boozy!” – the excessively strong alcohol flavour overpowering the marscapone and wiping out any hint of coffee flavour I keep hoping to taste with each mouthful.
The restaurant is impressively busy for a Wednesday night in Perth, with a mix of groups, couples and solo diners. Service is attentive and we’ve enjoyed our evening. It’s a shame and probably unacceptable to leave an Italian restaurant knowing I won’t be game to order its tiramisu again (presumably a bad batch as others have raved about it elsewhere) but oh, the garlic bread, and I haven’t stopped thinking about the vitello tonnato.
Burswood Entertainment Complex
Great Eastern Highway, Burswood WA 6100
Open daily for lunch and dinner
Reservations: (08) 9362 7551
Birthdays at Modo Mio
If celebrating a birthday, make sure you mention it when making your reservation. Everyone on the table will receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and the birthday guy or girl will receive a complimentary slice of birthday cake (requires at least 24 hours notice). We witnessed thick slabs of chocolate cake topped with birthday candles being delivered to tables (one waiter even led his tables in singing of “Happy Birthday”). The Burswood birthday deal is available at Modo Mio, Yu, Atrium Buffet and Sirocco.