Cul­tura club

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Graeme Phillips

SI­tal­ian cui­sine the right way at ER­GIO Si­mon­etti, for a long time the owner of Don Camillo, said to me years ago that only Ital­ians can cook Ital­ian. Look around at Da An­gelo’s, Solo Pasta, Cucini and oth­ers of our favourite Ital­ians and what he says would ap­pear to be true. But, like most sweep­ing gen­er­al­i­sa­tions, there are ex­cep­tions. Alex Jo­vanovic at Pic­colo is one ex­cep­tion. But, he’s sim­ply an ex­cep­tional chef by any mea­sure.

At lunch at Cul­tura a few weeks ago, I thought I’d found an­other in Cul­tura’s head chef Jay Marsh. How­ever, it was his day off and we were in the hands of John Molina, re­cently down from his years in the kitchen at Mud Bar in Launceston. And he’s an Aussie with Span­ish roots.

Our waitress was Aussie/ Uruguayan, the waiter Aus­tralian/ Scot­tish/ Yu­goslav and Spiro on the cof­fee ma­chine is Greek.

So I don’t know where that lit­tle mul­ti­cul­tural round- up leaves Si­mon­etti’s claim, ex­cept that the owner is Luca Roc­chia, his Ital­ian her­itage no doubt ac­count­ing for the buzz and won­der­ful warm hos­pi­tal­ity of the place.

And the great desserts made by his mother. And the old pho­tos dec­o­rat­ing the walls, mainly of his fa­ther as a young man back in his vil­lage and of his late ma­ter­nal grand­fa­ther step­ping off the boat in Melbourne in the 1950s and sub­se­quently – as did so many other newly- ar­rived Ital­ians– work­ing on the Hy­dro.

And the food? Ital­ian all the way, and, with only one ex­cep­tion, very good Ital­ian at that.

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