For two decades now, Larry Cherubino’s swarthy Adriatic charm has added splashes of colour and vibrancy to Subiaco, a place which – like him – has strong Italian connections.
Since buying into one of the suburb’s leafiest streets in 2000, the award-winning winemaker has maintained a congenial family presence on the Rokeby Road strip he proudly champions as “our High Street”.
With their three cherubic mop-topped boys in tow he and wife, Edwina, are often glimpsed on regular strolls through Kings Park, enjoying the soufra cake at Boucla or kicking back over a Saturday morning coffee at Community Coffee Co.
For Cherubino it’s a welcome respite from his day job. That’s roaring around on his motor bike through vines in Frankland River and Wilyabrup, just two southern destinations where he plies the wine-making flair which earned him and his wineries a string of national gongs and inspired revered wine writer James Halliday to call him a genius.
Now, Cherubino, who as a youth tasted his first home made wine in his Italian grandfather’s shed, is drawing on his heritage to add a generous wallop of European style to Rokeby Road.
Cherubino’s City Cellar, a wine bar and bottle shop with a private dining room and tasting area, is located above Subiaco’s most popular food lovers’ haunt, Simon Johnson Providore.
It’s a food and wine marriage made in …. heaven? No, make that paradiso. After all, the suburb shares its name with Italy’s Subiaco which was the birthplace of the founder of the Benedictine monks who came here in 1851, planted olive and fruit trees and set up their monastery.
And the Italian heritage lives on in wine tastings which will include plenty of Italian drops along with others from the Margaret River and Great Southern regions. And a good smattering of Cherubino’s own labels of course – AD Hoc, The Yard, Laissez Faire, Pedestal, Apostrophe and Cherubino. A bonus will be cooking demonstrations by Cherubino’s Calabrian born mother, Natalana who came to Australia as a child and is also a proud Subi resident. Some of the food offerings will be dishes remembered fondly from her childhood, recipes from her cookbooks – La Rocca and Summer in Calabria.
Cherubino says his City Cellar is Perth’s counterpart of his Caves Road tasting facility of Larry Cherubino Wines in Wilyabrup using the same casual approach to pairing good food and wine.
“With Simon Johnson being downstairs, it is a natural progression for us to come together for things like wine and cheese nights and champagne and caviar tastings,” says Cherubino.
“Also, we will not just have Cherubino wines on offer but we see it more as a promotion for the wines from the Margaret River and Great Southern regions. And there will be a big Italian wine offering as well.”
Questions & Answers
Here’s Cherubino’s proud take on his beloved Subi:
What do you love about Subi?
We chose Subi because it is central, close to the coast and to the city. We love the village vibe which makes the place. You get a good mix of people, across all demographics and you have some real characters here. And we love the character of the architecture – a mix of the old and new.
We have made a lot of friends through Subi Primary School.
Your favourite breakfast spot?
Boucla, for the soufra cake. We have been going there for the past 15 years. The new owners are lovely.
Your favourite coffee hangout?
Community Coffee. The fact that it is out the back, down a lane way makes it interesting.
Fave weekend activity?
Chilling out in the garden. Because we are up and down from south so much it is a great wind down thing to do. I like shopping at Farmer Jack’s where you can get everything you need. It’s a winner. It’s sort of our Boat Shed market really.
Where will we find you on date night?
Lulu’s, Lady of Ro and Pizza at Delisio Pizza Romana. They’re all great.
Well, I think everyone knows about Souvlaki Friday at Community Coffee. It starts at lunchtime and you just rock up and they have a spit roast out the front of the cafe. Wouldn’t miss that for anything.
Also the Gloster Street Halloween party. We have done that for quite a few years. You wander down the street with a glass of wine and enjoy the trick and treats. It is a great community thing.
Written by Gail Williams
Photography by Frances Andrijich