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When you meet Chef Khalil Rashwan’s his exuberance is noticeable – about his cooking and about his restaurant, Nonna and I.

He’s sharing his philosophy – “come hungry, leave happy’.

Originally from Alexandria, Egypt, Khalil grew up learning his away around a kitchen from his mother and Nonna. After moving to the USA at age 15, he learnt from Nonnas in Lower Manhattan’s Little Italy and opened his first Italian restaurant in Pennsylvania in 2002.

After that, he opened Nonna’s Pizza Art, which also opened in New York and Malaysia. And while in Malaysia, starred in his own cooking show, Habibi in the Kitchen, airing on the Fried Chillies food network.

After moving to Adelaide in 2014 he opened Nonna and I, just off The Parade, at Norwood.

Nonna_01We experienced his hospitality and enthusiasm at a recent dinner. We began with antipasto of fresh mozzarella and tomato served with Italian bread. A wonderful flavour combination, with Khalil’s own homemade dressing, which can be purchased from the restaurant.

One of the two appetisers was a Portobello Parmigiano; a Portobello mushroom seasoned with oregano, basil and roasted garlic served with Napoletana sauce and mozzarella cheese. A meaty mushroom with classic Italian flavours.

The second was steamed vongole in olive oil, garlic and white wine sauce. I could have eaten a mountain of this! Steamed opened with a light sauce streaming through them. Very succulent. For mains we enjoyed a big plate of pasta! Both were in a cream cognac sauce with roasted red capsicum and peas served on capellini pasta, with one dish with veal…

… and the other with chicken and prawns.

Both sprinkled with a good amount of Parmesan and fresh herbs.

For dessert who could go past tiramisu?! A favourite of mine, and this did not disappoint.

Or crème caramel, sweet with a good wobble!

And just the other side of Nonna and I is Khalil’s pizza take away, Pizza Art and I.

Nonna and I located in Margaret Street just off The Parade at Norwood. When you visit, be prepared for a good chat with Khalil, and you too will experience his infectious enthusiasm.

** I was an invited guest.