Cucina Viscontini, the Waterside

I first came across this italian eatery and delicatessen when we held a function at the Waterside, Homebush Bay, and someone came in with these amazing woodfired pizzas.  Crispy thin base, and with topped with fresh ingredients to savour the base and not piled one inch high like some pizza joints these days.   So on another sunny birthday day off (why do they only come once a year?), we set out to find this pizza again.  It’s actually in a little piazza hidden away between the apartment blocks – I’m sure the locals would like to keep their secret to themselves!  I’m torn – do I shop first, or eat first??  Well stomach won as usual, and we sat ourselves at one of the tables on the street – strangely enough, all enclosed in a plastic awning despite being a gorgeous day.

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I had to have a taste of the pizza again – from a plate not a takeaway box, and it did not disappoint.   For lunch, there is only a limited specials menu, and I selected the salamari, olive and chilli pizza ($15).  Just enough for one person – the base was as crispy as I remembered – not merely the vessel for a mountain of topping, but as much as star as the toppings itself – which complemented it, not over powered it, the real way it’s meant to be done.  None of the processed plastic cheese either – real slices of mozarella melted into the fresh tomato base, and scattered with just enough salty salamari and torn olives.   The review on Sydney Morning Herald recommended the calamari fritti ($16) which my friend ordered – and I reluctantly swapped a slice of my pizza to try.  It wasn’t the oily greasy rubber bands that I expected (who am I to disagree with Simon Thomsen!)- but the flash fried, and ever so slightly battered rings were much lighter than most versions, and served with chips and salad.

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A stroll around the well stocked gourmet store after lunch uncovered such treasures as tri-coloured egg pasta, a fresh baked bread wall, and other imported goodies such as the extensive oil and vinegar selection.

viscontini6.jpg Viscontini also has its own wine room – and many varieties of imported water for the non-drinkers.  I’ll certainly be back to try some of the other things on the menu – panini; salads; and the amazing looking antipasti platter that others enjoyed after we had already ordered – d’oh!   The breakfast menu with eggs done all ways, waffles, and omelettes (all under $16.50) sounds like a good next choice too.

Cucina Viscontini 21 Bennelong Road, Homebush Bay (02) 9739 8888   

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