As he grew up watching his mother and grandmother shopping for the freshest seafood around town and sharing recipes at home, the young Khalil Rashwan developed his own passion for cooking. Many years later, following success in both the USA and Asia, Chef Khalid has brought his fusion of old-school Italian cooking and modern twists to the Australian restaurant scene. This was realised in the restaurant simply called Nonna and I, which launched to much success in Norwood.
On the back of this, they have opened a new, slightly roomier second restaurant in Kensington Park, so now more family and friends can enjoy the impeccable hospitality of Chef Khalil and his team. The Tuscan theme is very similar in the new space, and is both clean and uncomplicated, as well as homely and welcoming at the same time. The Norwood menu has been carried over to the new location, which includes excellent options and catering for all dietary requirements.
Feed Me Adelaide was lucky enough to be at the opening, which was a 3 course Italian feast with matching wines. Yes, its a tough life sometimes. As such, all food and wines were provided for free. However, as always, this doesn’t influence our opinion in any way.
The meal kicked off with a very Mediterranean Antipasto Plate. Fresh basil and mozzarella nuzzling up with tomato, roasted capsicum making friends with olives, fried calamari chatted to the mini bruscetta, while house made garlic bread sat atop the ensemble. It was then all dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Beautiful simplicity. A 2016 Eden Hall Gruner Veltliner married with this wonderfully, with its crisp minerality and stonefruit background cutting through the rich oily ingredients. A classic and delicious way to start.
Next up – Beef Cheeks. Oh the humanity! These were so tender that they simply fell apart if you gave them a stern look. This was sitting in a paddling pool of balsamic and red wine reduction, with Nonna and I’s delicious garlic mash as an accompanyment. Some broccoli fought the good fight against all this richness, as well as added some much needed greenery. I think it pretty much goes without saying – this was all stunning. De-lish-us! The wine in the glass for this course came from Stage Door Wine Co., with their 2015 Full House Cabernet Sauvignon offering some fruit and herbatious characters, as well as some firm tannins to counterpoint the richness of the dish.
Tiramisu. Yeah, it might seem like a cliche, but things become classics for a reason. This particular tiramisu didn’t disappoint either, with the sponge and cream veritably dripping with coffee and liquor. No mucking around here – this was everything you would want from this dessert, turned up to 10. I was somewhat less convinced by the wine choice – sure the 2006 Eden Hall Ratafia Riesling was sensational (and best enjoyed by itself really) but I would have thought a fortified might have paired better. Still, minor details, and all down to personal preference.
Aside from the fine dining space, at the Kensington Park location of Nonna and I there is also a cooking school attached called “Studio 324”. Khalil plans on holding cooking classes for up to a dozen people, so he can pass on some of his skills and tricks in constructing his delicious dishes.
The bottom line though – Nonna and I bring so much to the table. There is great food, a passion to deliver a memorable experience for customers, all in a manner and location where you are made to feel almost more like family. To put it more simply – I will end with Chef Khalil’s motto as this sums it all up perfectly – “Come hungry. Leave happy.”