I was so excited when someone told me last year that Panarottis was opening in Perth! It has taken many months and a lot of blood sweat and tears but they finally opened officially on 4 January 2016. So I was thrilled when owners Larnae and Raj invited me along to check it out and find out all about the newest South African restaurant in Perth.
First impressions of the restaurant were good, it’s laid out in a long rectangular shape. At the start of the restaurant is the kitchen, welcome area and some tables. A little further along is the bar area, stocked to the brim with a host of local WA wines.
At the far end of the restaurant is a small kids soft play area with a wall mounted TV showing movies and some stands that look they will be having iPads attached very shortly. This is fabulous addition to a restaurant that Larnae wants to promote as family friendly, just like the Spur restaurants below them and in Wanneroo. The long design of the restaurant means that families are seated towards the play area and tables of adults are seated towards the entrance wherever possible to allow for the best dining experience for all customers.
There is also a long balcony running alongside the entire length of the restaurant which is going to be a great addition once it’s got some shading from both the warm and cooler weather. The restaurant seats 124 inside and another 20 on the balcony so has a decent capacity, but despite this they have lately had to turn customers away as weekend evenings are proving very popular!
The menu is pretty extensive which is something that I find great about most Perth restaurants. Not only do they have the expected pizzas and pasta dishes, but they have a salad and grills section too for people who just don’t feel like the Italian staples on the day. So if you are avoiding gluten and bread in general, you have some options too!
It took us a while to decide what to order, especially when we found out that not only can you build your own pizza, but they allow substitutions on their existing pizzas, which is very accommodating! In the end I went with the Californian, but with peppadews instead of bacon, and my husband went with the Peri Peri Chicken with no cheese but extra sauce (don’t even ask!). My son being the fussy eater he is, went with the chicken nuggets and chips, which are a steal at $6.50. I had an Appletiser to drink, my husband went with an ice cold Castle, and my son for the vanilla milkshake (which was inhaled in about three seconds flat so much have been good!).
While we were waiting for our food I sat down with Larnae to find out all about the business and why it took them so darn long to open! She told me there were several delays with the developers, and they actually had their eye on the site for over three years! Hence why the Spur ended up opening in Wanneroo first, but now they have the new one in Currambine too. Larnae’s uncle owns both these Spurs, after setting up and then selling the first WA Spur which opened in Mandurah a few years ago.
Panarottis is owner and run by South African Larnae, her husband Raj (who is the head chef) and her South African parents Gary and Vivianne. Gary and Vivianne used to run a Muffin Break down in the gorgeous seaside town of Busselton but wanted a change and decided to sell up and come to the bright lights of Perth for a new challenge. That challenge turned out to be the first Panarottis in WA, with the South African chain having been over in the eastern states for around a decade already.
The whole family has put so much work into the place and its easy to see the passion in their work. They completed the entire fit out themselves which is amazing. They even had to carry everything up the stairs as the lift was broken when all the furniture and materials arrived! Everyone had two weeks intensive training in Panarottis in Penrith but when it came to running their own restaurant they were allowed to make changes to the menu that they felt would work well.
You’re also in experienced hands when it comes to the kitchen staff as Raj worked under no less than the Michelin-starred Raymond Blanc at his restaurant in Berkhamstead in England. Gary also works in the kitchen and everything is made from scratch (except the waffles for now until they receive their waffle maker!). Larnae and mum Vivianne work front of house and they have an absolutely stellar team of waitrons! Molly was our waitress and she was so lovely, smiley and helpful. It was probably some of the best service we’ve had in Perth (something which constantly lets us down here in WA!).
Now for the food. Wow, what can I say! I went expecting a typical chain experience and I couldn’t have been more wrong. The pizzas were both fantastic! They were definitely not short of toppings which went all the way to the edge so there was basically no crust, just delicious pizza. The chicken nuggets and chips were also great quality and a very decent portion size. The chips were amazing, its probably worth ordering a side portion of these just to experience them!
I’m of the belief that there is always room for dessert, it’s like a separate stomach right? The dessert menu does not make your decision easy, from cheesecake and brownies to waffles and tiramisu. But my eyes were immediately drawn to the Dom Pedro and Amarula Hot Chocolate. Yum! I went with a Kahlua Dom Pedro as it had been years since I had one, my son picked plain vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce (just $2.50 and it normally comes with jelly as well!), and my husband, who does not have a separate dessert stomach, went for an Americano to finish off the meal.
Well my Dom Pedro was simply spectacular! Just as it should be, no faults at all. The ice cream was huge (my husband said he would order one for himself next time!) and the coffee is served in a mug which makes it great value for $4.25.
Overall, I am absolutely loving the new Panarottis in Currambine! I think their food is fabulous, their staff are brilliant and the way they treat their customers should be emulated by many other restaurants in Perth. If you haven’t already been to check it out, or you were waiting for them to get into their groove before going along, don’t wait any longer! They are ready and waiting to give you the best Panarottis experience ever!
Have you been to the new Panarottis in Currambine yet? What did you think? And would you go back? We definitely will!
*Disclosure: I was invited to dine at Panarottis but was not financially compensated. All opinions are my own