Your first clue that Lucy and Eric Radice’s Pickering Brook restaurant is a little out of the ordinary is the way you reach it. Walking through the car park, you pass the original homestead (circa 1930) and enter through the packing shed. La Fattoria translates from Italian as ‘the farm’ and the restaurant is on a working commercial orchard. You can buy vegetables there as well as fruit, including figs, stone fruit, apples and pears in season.
The Radice family —of Sicilian and British heritage— has resided on the property for over 70 years: currently three generations live and work on the 25 acre orchard. With the decline in water availability and the unpredictable variation in fruit prices, the family decided to diversify into agri-tourism. They decided to go down the path of preserving and celebrating the family’s Sicilian heritage through a food and wine experience known as a “conversation with Italy”. This begins (but does not end) with their restaurant.
TrattoriaThe restaurant is trattoria-style: a family run establishment without a menu but rather a series of dishes shared at the table typical of an Italian family meal. La Fattoria offers some of the Radice’s favourite meals in their ‘Nonna's family table’ lunch. Dishes are rustic and have been inspired by past and present family recipes with an emphasis on home grown and/or locally sourced seasonal produce where possible.
These dishes are presented on a 'share table', where guests are encouraged to interact with each other over food. All guests booked for Nonna's family table also receive complimentary wine/cider tasting prior to their meal of the eleven Italian varietals grown on the property. La Fattoria is open Wednesday to Sunday, offering a four- course meal on weekdays and a five-course on weekends.
A more informal lunch option is also available which allows guests to select from a variety of antipasto delights to create their own platter.
They also offer a nature garden where kids can explore a natural environment in the fresh air of the Perth hills. Kids should come dressed in farm clothes in order to let them discover the chooks, see veggies growing in the garden, pick mulberries from the tree when in season, make a cubby house, explore the dry creek bed, climb the 'mountain' or just have a run and tumble on the lawn.
Join La Famiglia
The Radice family also invite you to become members of ‘La Famiglia.’ Members of ‘the family’ are given the first opportunity to attend other La Fattoria events throughout the year, including tomato sauce making, sausage making, picking grapes, stomping grapes and the end of vintage feast.
A New Kitchen
La Fattoria’s new kitchen and specialised equipment were supplied by Caterlink. The philosophy behind using high-tech equipment such as Frima and Rational was to free Lucy up to spend time with her guests. Additionally, the equipment chosen meant that qualified chefs were not required as talented home cooks could be instructed on how to prepare the meals. Combining modern technology with age old cooking traditions enables Lucy to bring the best of Italian cuisine to the table at a reduced cost. Lucy went on to say:
‘Dealing with Caterlink and Nathan was a good experience — they did a great job. Comcater was brilliant and helped me endlessly. The family has been planning this venture since 2012: a four-year concept has finally come to fruition. Friends and family have come and planted trees in preparation for this, as well as 11 varieties of Italian grapes. A ‘thank you’ lunch was held last week for family and friends who helped us achieve this dream—Mike from Comcater came up and helped us run the kitchen for the first time which was a comforting way to begin our food journey.'
La Fattoria was created from a desire to share both the family’s Italian heritage and the beauty of the property that nestles in the Piesse Brook valley of the Perth hills.
La Fattoria—located at 211 Merrivale Road, Pickering Brook — opened on 23 November 2016.