Simple tucker to yearn for

ARGUABLY the best roast veal in town is consistently served at the Silver Dollar Restaurant in Aberdeen Street.

This dish is my palate magnet.

Silver Dollar novice, Gary Landers was stunned with it on his maiden visit and declared it the best roasted veal he had tasted.

The tender veal and fluffy, pure-potato mash with a feather-light consistency is served with spinach and baked, skinned red capsicums as sweet as a sugar bun.

It’s simple, humble food that is tucker to yearn for and delightfully affordable at $17.60.

My habitual Silver Dollar meal would normally begin with a wonderful potage (soup) called pasta e fagioli ($6).

Chef Francesca Celeghian usually makes this from pork stock with jewels of pasta and the fagioli (beans). It makes for a wonderful, filling soup. Be generous with the grated parmesan because this dish can really benefit from it.

I broke the habit on my most recent visit and moved to a more sophisticated entrée Russian ham ($14.90). Its stunning appearance on the plate had tempted me in the past.

The name is something of a misnomer because no ham is involved. This is more of a seafood dish. The essential caviar topping must be the source of the Russian portion of the title.

Russian ham is asparagus spears rolled in fresh Tasmanian smoked-salmon slices coated in a hand-made mayonnaise and crowned with a sprinkle of black caviar.

Two rolls make up the entrée, and the refreshing tastes of the asparagus and salmon combind with the creamy mayonnaise, highlighted by the salty tastes of the caviar, make a filling beginner.

Francesca prepares her mayonnaise by boiling six egg yolks and pushing them through a fine sieve.

She blends in three raw egg yolks and adds a little canola oil until the mayonnaise is thick and smooth. It is seasoned with salt, the juice of half a lemon and half a tablespoon of French mustard.

This exotic asparagus dish might be better expected in the halls of the haute cuisine rather than a curious little restaurant in Northbridge.

Another dish to hunt down is the butterflied Italian sausages.

After being split and flattened, the textured snagger is laid on the grill, dissipating most of the fat. The spicy sausage is wonderful eating with a dash of fiery mustard ($16).

Francesca was originally from Austria before marrying Joseph an Italian, so don’t be surprised to see dishes that share the proprietors’ culinary origins.

My guess for a description of the restaurant’s cuisine is Austrian/Italian/Australian.

Dishes such as involtini alla Viennese betray Francesca’s background. These are fine-cut medallions of tender baby-beef rolled in bacon and filled with cheese and garlic.

The rolled involtini are then pan-fried in white wine ($20.60).

The pasta is very good and Francesca’s sauces make the change from the mundane. Eleven dishes make up the selection, ranging from $13.30 to $16.60.

The Silver Dollar is extremely well priced and if you want to keep your dining down to ultra-affordable, don’t be shy of the house wines.

They are served in one litre ($12) half-litre ($6.50) carafes and by the glass $3.50.

Chenin blanc is the base of the dry white and grenache grapes make up the red.

The wines hail from the Pinelli Vineyards, a small winemaker from the Swan Valley. The soft-fruit driven flavours are a credit to the restaurant and the winemaker.

A restaurant should be proud of its house wine and at the Silver Dollar that’s the case. Pinelli wines have been served there since day one.

A balanced but small wine list offers a reasonable range and you can select imported Italian reds from a tiny selection. In both cases, wine prices are reasonable.

The restaurant gets its name from the winehouse boom in the early 70s when a small place equipped with awful purple booths began under that name.

Thankfully, Joseph and Francesca Celeghian bought the Silver Dollar and enjoyed great success before developing the current Silver Dollar in Aberdeen Street.

Even the suburban gourmet will enjoy this well priced, humble family restaurant.


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