If you grew up or worked in Fremantle, you would know about Nunzio. My first memories of Nunzio was his very popular coffee establish on the corner of South Terrace and Collie Street in the heart of Fremantle 20+ years ago. This place seemed to be the hub of all the Freo community any time of the day from early morning to the early hours of the weekend. It was a constant hub of activity not only for coffee drinkers but a meeting place for all walks of life.
Then from memory, Nunzio decided to convert his basement storage space into a restaurant and as I feel in love with his scallop linguine with lemon cream sauce, it seemed the rest of Freo also feel in love with the food he dished out at this buzzing eatery. I worked in hospitality in Fremantle for about 10 years so I tried to enjoy the scallop linguine at Nunzio’s eatery as many times as I could. That’s when I fell in love with Nunzio’s food.
From then on, from what I can remember, Nunzio went on to operate many eateries in and around Fremantle. His famed reputation was cemented and it seemed everything Nunzio touched turned to gold.
Fast forward 20+ years later, I had stopped working in Freo and only bussled back to Freo every now and then. Then one day, I saw an advertisement for a Gibsons wine dinner hosted at Nunzio’s restaurant which used to be the Essex Street Restaurant. My friends and I ventured to the event where I wondered if Nunzio remembered me.
Well as famed as his touch was in serving great food at his establishments, his memory was even better. He was gracious in his memory of me and showed my friends and I a glorious night. Besides hosting such premium wine events, he’d also enlightened me to his cellar range that is not included in his wine list. It turns out, Nunzio shares the same love for Rockford wines as we do. We were enticed to return so we too can enjoy what his cellar had to offer.
So return we did. We don’t profess to be wine connoisseurs and our knowledge of premium Rockford only extends to the Basket Press range which is hard enough to come by. However, what Nunzio opened our eyes to was another level again. We were truly blessed to enjoy this privilege. This is not to mention the back vintages of Basket Press he was also in possession of.
When we returned, we thoroughly enjoyed the 1998 vintages of Flaxman Valley and Pressings shirazes. I don’t know if you remember mother’s milk as that is the only description I can provide you on how incredible these wines were.
Let’s pause for a moment to talk about his food. With so many years in the food business, you would naturally accept that he knows how to serve good Italian food. On the night of the Gibson wine dinner, he served a delicious array from his menu. On our return, he served us small portions of what we’d discussed we would like to eat. No complaints here.
On the first Saturday of each month, Nunzio also hosts entertainers who will roam the tables singing Italian songs and popular classic standards….think, Frank, Dino, Louis Prima, Pavarotti. This adds to a festive wining and dining night enjoyed by all, it seems….especially if you like a good sing-along!
After a fabulous night of entertainment, food and wine, we vowed to return. Yep, you guessed it, we did return. This time, we’d requested early decanting of the SVS Rockford wines and were treated this time to the Hoffman shiraz, followed by a 2008 Basket Press. Needless to say, we were well nourished and entertained this time by a quartet of singers and musicians. Another thoroughly enjoyable night was had again, not only by us and also it seems a full house seeking the same quality of food, wine, entertainment and a sensational night out.
Need we say more? This man clearly knows how it should be done!