Review: Feliciano

Everyone dreams of a little restaurant opening around the corner from their house. If you live in the South-West crook of the city, you are living the dream.

The owner and Chef at Feliciano, Dominic Pelosi, isn’t spreading fairy dust regularly yet. Dominic doesn’t wish to work McDonald’s hours. Dominic isn’t normal. He is much better than that. So it is best to phone 8410 0222 to see if his restaurant is open. Better still, book.

Bear in mind you get what you are given. No menu. Tell Dominic if you have a food allergy before you turn up.

Dominic Pelosi is enthusiastic about the food he cooks. So am I. At my only visit we ate spaghetti with broccoli. Big deal. So what. If I cooked the same dish it would be ‘so what’. It would taste like spaghetti with broccoli.

In the hands of The Dom it grows another leg, then balances on it. A friend I was dining with wanted to know how this humble dish could fly to the stratosphere. And Dominic told him. In detail. We are both going to try and replicate the dish. I don’t like our chances.

Shamefully I haven’t had a pizza at Dominic’s new place yet. At previous Dominic Pelosi restaurants I have eaten saintly spaghetti and meatballs. Where do you get spaghetti and meatballs when the craving hits? Or a robust, intensely rich beef stew? (Spezzatino di Manzo if you want to sound superior, and cruelly, everything does sound superior in Italian. Even sex. Especially sex.)

Dominic’s parents came to Australia in the late 1930s. They met here and a smaller Dominic was born in Waymouth Street. A few streets over from Feliciano. Dominic looks gruff, and he can be, but under the grumpy outer shell is a gentle and generous man. But I wouldn’t push your luck.

Dominic learnt about food from his mother. Like the best Italian food, it is not fancy, but it gleams with fresh ingredients cooked with the sure hand and finesse of a Chef who probably hasn’t cooked from a recipe book in years. “Simple food conceals a hundred tricks.” (Italian proverb.)

The bureaucratic hell that goes with opening a restaurant in Adelaide has been Dominic’s lot for the last few months. For a small restaurant, a dozen or so Bodies, Statutory Authorities, Brigades, Departments, and so on, have to be obeyed, consulted with and regulated by; sometimes more than once. Naturally none of these edifices talk to one another.

One might muse that these regulations could be the same across the State. One could be wrong. Or insane. Could they be merged into a single booklet? Could these regulations be consolidated all across Australia?

Sorry. I have stepped over the line. I am a Commie running dog of Mao Tse-tung. I’ll shut up.

While you are sitting peacefully in restaurant Feliciano, take a minute off to meditate on the frightening facts that you don’t have to know: What is a grease-trap? It costs whaaaat? What does the acronym PPCA mean? Why does Dominic look so tired?

At the moment a lunch at Feliciano will cost about $20.

FELICIANO 57 Gilbert Street 8410 0222

Hours: Ring 8410 0222 for opening times (Or you can book the place out for a party before everybody knows about it.)

Wine: You bring it.