Archive for September, 2009

Rosso Pomodoro

September 23, 2009

Shop 90-91, 24 Buchanan St, Balmain

www.rossopomodoro.com.au

Friday night out and since we’re trying to save a bit of money, pizza was on the menu. (Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly). We decided to head to Rosso Pomodoro in Balmain, reputedly one of Sydney’s best pizzerias. As a good meal it wasn’t a foregone conclusion. A few weeks back we’d been to the Time Out rated Dimitris in Surry Hills, which was pretty poor. It was the sort of pizza I’d imagine you’d get in the 70s when no-one knew any different…

Rosso Pomodoro on the other hand got off to a good start. It was frenetic as all pizzerias should be and it was free BYO. So you can get stuck into the vino without the wait.

There were four of us and taking our cue from other diners decided to share only 3 pizzas. But of course we had to start with an Antipasto.

 

 Sydney Sept 071

It was surprisingly good – 3 different types of ham, decent warm breadsticks, marinated onions, olives & artichokes and the rest. It was a generous serving. However there were the obligatory feta stuffed peppers, which are generally a bit acrid and an unwelcome sight to most plates of these kind.

 

 Sydney Sept 072

Sydney Sept 073

The pizzas arrived (in two courses) and were very good. We started with the funghi & capricossia. The bases were just the right side of chewy and had a good charcoal flavour. I’m a sucker for funghi pizza and this had that familiar moreish woody flavour. The standout though was the capricossia for the ham, which was clearly a couple of rungs above the normal cut you get on average pizzas.

 Sydney Sept 075

The ‘main course’was the patate e salsiccia – a white pizza with Italian sausage, rosemary & potatoes. This was a proper man’s pie. It was rich and heavy and impossible for the collective group to finish. It was very good with the various ingredients collectively adding to the dish, just a lot to deal with after a sizeable amount of bread & ham already.

 

 Sydney Sept 076

We did though still have room to share a Tiramisu for dessert. This actually ended the meal on a minor downer. It was all cream, without the counterbalance of sufficient espresso or liqueur. It was a little pedestrian and came across as a dish for kids – not Friday night fodder! It was surprising since this place certainly had a bit of Italian authenticity in terms of staff & décor.

 

So overall, it was well worth the trip from the North Shore and restored my faith in getting decent pizza in Sydney, though as you’ll see in below posts, we’ve got that covered at home. I’ll be back though.

Berry Woodfired Sourdough Bakery

September 20, 2009

23 Prince Alfred Street, Berry, NSW

After two months of exploring Sydney, it’s about time to get out and see more of Australia. Buying a book on weekend breaks around Sydney it’s a little surprising to see suggested retreats up to 700 kilometres away. Wow… I guess it’ll be a case of baby steps.

Jervis Bay, famed for its beaches and was a manageable distance of only 3 hours drive away.

We cunningly left late morning which meant we had to stop somewhere for lunch on the way. Delving into the new SMH Good Food Guide we latched on to the Berry Wood-fired Sourdough Bakery. (bit of a name)

 Sydney Sept 019

This was a delightful place – a proper bakery down a side-street with an outside deck, with a nice washed out, laidback feel. It’s the sort of place every town needs – a place to get some decent bread and a good value plate of food. It’s clear they’re not out to fleece people with only ‘main dishes’ for sale and nothing over $25. I guess when every customer is leaving with a loaf of bread, you don’t have to worry too much.

I opted for the pasta with lamb-shoulder ragu while my wife had market fish with parsnip puree & beetroot.

 Sydney Sept 021

The ragu was unctuous, meaty and satisfying in a way that only ‘bolognaise’ can be. It didn’t overwhelm the pasta, just providing a good coat with soft chunks of meat.

 Sydney Sept 020

The fish was almost upstaged by the vegetables. It sat nicely on the puree with the surrounding beetroot & other delights fresh & wholesome. There’s clearly a good vegetable patch in the near vicinity.

 

 Sydney Sept 022

With the main courses a success it seemed rude not to sample the Tiramisu. This was a joy to behold in the early afternoon sun. It was soft and yielding, with a subtle hint of booze. The extra cream did not distract too much.

We were on our way to our cottage so it seemed rude not to also buy some bread (it was very good), including some excellent brie and dips. All we then needed was wine and we were sorted.

The owner was charm personified, also throwing in a bag of biscuits. Knowing that we were unlikely to find as good a ‘bistro’ between Jervis Bay & Sydney, we came back here on Sunday.

It was a blisteringly-hot day on our return. It must have affected my brain since I went for the terrine. It’s really only a step up from quiche, but it was a manly & chunky version with chicken & roast garlic. It also came with some more of that sourdough so it was always going to be a winner.

Sydney Sept 070

 

Sydney Sept 069

My wife had a pretty interesting pasta dish – a sort of crespolini/canneloni dish filled with pumpkin, accompanied with tomatoes, olives and artichokes. It was tasty, though I had to fight to get a bite.

So as you can see, from my point of view it’s a very pleasant spot for a bite to eat. You could do worse.

Pizza!

September 13, 2009

This will hopefully be the first of many ‘home cooking’ posts. My wife finds it hilarious that I also take photos of what I cook. Well you can’t be a foodie and only blog about the food you pay for…

I’m an uncomplicated cook, generally focusing on roasts, pies, braises etc. But I’ve recently become a convert to pizzas. This is due to a wedding present of a pizza maker we received from friends. Since it lived in Sydney we’ve only recently been able to give it a go.

A lot has been written by the likes of Jeffrey Steingarten (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2002/oct/13/foodanddrink.features5) & Heston Blumenthal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uOng2plzZA) on pizza making with the principal problem of getting an oven hot enough to provide a crisp enough base. Most ovens’ maximum temperature is 250c while proper wood-fired pizza ovens are 400c minimum. Our pizza-maker manages about 350c, which at least gets you in the right ballpark.

But of course there’s more to it than the oven. You’d think a combination of flour, yeast and water would be pretty simple. But pizza-making is an art and having been to New York it’s easy to see the culinary heights that can be scaled through good ingredients. After much research we settled with a recipe found at (http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/). A cool blog. Check it out.

After 24 hours of dough proofing, we were ready and as a skeptic I was surprised by the results – proper super crisp pizzas with a proper crunch. Wow.

 Sydney week5 001

Sydney week5 002

The ‘quattro formaggi’ (not exactly picturesque):

Sydney week5 003

Yes, the pizza forming itself will take a bit of practice…..  I’ll need to work at that. But please forgive me for the follow abomination….’The Ham & Pineapple’:

Sydney week5 004

So all in all a bit of result. With a bit of advance planning I won’t be ordering delivery pizza again. Just spend some of the money you save on some decent mozzarella.

(FYI – I’m not really comfortable with plugging products, but it was a Breville pizza maker)

Forbes & Burton

September 6, 2009

252 Forbes Street

http://forbesandburton.com.au/

Old habits die hard. We were meeting fellow Brits for Sunday lunch and only a roast would fit the bill. We were keen to try The Beresford, but it’s an epic lunch for a group and at a time when I’m trying the mind the pennies, it will just have to wait

The Time Out guide suggested Forbes & Burton as a Sunday option that does a good value roast. I booked a table for four and off we went. Venturing out of the North Shore is an undertaking itself, so it would have been a crime if the meal disappointed.

 Sydney Sept 004

The roast rotates on a weekly basis and I was vaguely disappointed to find out it was the week of pork belly. I’ve got nothing against belly of pork, but it’s not really in the same league as a leg of lamb or rib of beef. I’ve had servings where the fat dulls the overall flavour, but this was a pretty fine dish. It was sizeable as well, which does count where a Sunday roast is concerned.

The accompaniments were a fine match. Cabbage is a vastly under-rated vegetable. People talk about the sogginess & pungent aroma and further tarnish its reputation with links to flatulence. If there’s a vegetable which is in need of good PR it’s cabbage.

The potato galette was soft and went well with the crackling. I didn’t care much for the tomato chutney, but my fellow friends enjoyed it.

All this and a glass of drinkable wine was $27. A fine deal.

 Sydney Sept 005

Sydney Sept 006

We shared an alright strawberry shortcake and a brownie. Neither were much to write home about, but the roast more than did the job.

It’s quite a funny lively venue, which fits with the interesting Darlinghurst crowd. Our waiter was wearing a skirt and cowboys boots…  The service was a bit all over the place with orders going missed etc. as the staff themselves were probably managing hangovers. But all in all it was a good place and I’d certainly recommend it for a leisurely Sunday lunch.