Franklin’s Petty Sessions sits on the edge of the Huon River. The late 1800s weatherboard is surrounded by a leafy garden, a lovely option when the weather encourages outside dining. From the veranda you enter the a small foyer decorated by jars of produce and lounge chairs for waiting.
AquaGrill Seafood Café owners, Martino and Sofia Crippa, have moved downtown and upmarket to revitalise a restaurant that had been barely treading water for years. They’re now focused on providing a quality Italian eating experience at their Osteria at Petty Sessions and takeaway fish and chips up the road. The Osteria is a new look for the Petty Sessions which was in much need of love and attention.
The menu is antipasti, pasta, secondi, contorni and dolci – ovviamente.
They are curing their own meats and rolling their own pasta.
Let’s pause for a moment to celebrate the wonder that is fresh, handmade pasta.
It is one of life’s simple joys. Light, a slight bite; straight up or stuffed; and dressed in anything from the gossamer of oil, chilli and lemon zest to a robust ragout. Pasta is the quintessential quick working week dinner or conversely, a weekend labour of love, rolling floury balls through a domestic pasta machine and slow cooking sauces to match.
With the advent of quality dried pasta, some of which is available at large chain supermarkets, making good pasta at home is getting easier. But it’s not the same as having someone who really knows their business make it for you and you don’t have to wash up.
Pasta aside, Martino and Sofia understand their demographic will be far reaching. The table across from us had the butterfly roasted lamb with local artichokes and potatoes ($34), classic beef burger and chips ($22), and the grilled Southport jetty squid and chips ($28).
We ate pasta, choosing the casarecce ai gamberi ($28), house made casarecce, prawns from Queensland, camo de flori saffron and zucchini, and the gnocchi funghi and salsicce ($28), house made gnocchi with Little Isle Farm mushrooms and house made Italian sausage. The prawn dish was big on saffron and the combination of sausage and mushrooms in the creamy sauce was delicious.
Making the point that Osteria has something for everyone, This Girl jumped to the mains and now I want to walk it back and pay the antipasti some well deserved attention.
From memory Me Wah has abalone on their menu. Somewhere I once ate something decorated with a few abalone shavings (ordered for the abalone alone). I’ve seen it in cans at Mako and at Barilla Bay, cryovaced at the very reasonable price of around a grand for a big-un. Needless to say we jumped at the chance to try the Black Lip Abalone patties ($16) using Ralph’s Seafood abalone, spring onions and preserved lemon aioli. Four crispy, little morsels were presented in an abalone shell. And for a few brief moments we enjoyed the elusive mollusc. We also chose the zucchini flower ($10), a Valley Fresh Farm zucchini and flower attached, stuffed with Tongola farm fresh curd and battered with tempura. It was gorgeous, crisp and delicious.
We finished with the KickAss Tiramisu ($12) which was certainly up there (personal preference – I like grated dark chocolate over cocoa powder) and the cannoli Siciliani ($11) which is assembled to order. Hallelujah to crispy cannoli! The centres were ricotta and chocolate chips and ricotta and berries. I would have eaten mine a little sweeter but The Other Girl gave it her seal of approval.
We drank Aperol spritz and coffees.
Overall, we rated the experience. It is a good option for a nice meal if you’re going for a drive in the country or as a destination for a catch up or event. And it’s sooooo pretty.
Osteria at Petty Sessions in at the southern end of Franklin, riverside, on the Huon Highway.
At the time of writing they were open Wednesday to Saturday, 11.30 am – 8.30 pm.
Find them on Facebook – Osteria at Petty Sessions.