Archive for the 'Italian' Category

Caffe di Stefano: Brand new Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli, Homebush

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Hot off the press!!!! Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli (CWCD for short) has JUST opened TODAY!!!  Driving by this site formerly a motorcycle shop, I was soooo excited to see that it was a proposed coffee ROASTER, warehouse, cafe and providore – 4 in 1 of my favourite things!!! Many a time I drove by, wistfully waiting for opening day.  I thought that day approached when I saw the ad in Seek for the head chef. But alas, more days passed before the paper went up behind the glass facade and then such a tease – the “opening soon” sign!!  And FINALLY this day has come! I saw movement there last week and called up Caffe di Stefano and said they were opening today. I made sure I was there.  It was definitely a low key opening – only locals in the know would find out about it! Just a bunch of balloons at the entrance, and signs of life, as opposed to most of the surrounding Parramatta Road area which is derelict!  The first sight you see is the pizza bar – wood fired of course.  Serving as a takeaway, and provider of freshly baked super thinly authentic pizzas for the restaurant.

The restaurant itself is a wide open warehouse space on ground level, and a mezzanine level.  A number of very large communal tables made of polished timber are surrounded by trendy stainless steel chairs.  A bar runs along the length of the window for gazing out into the street – or for me to sit and read my paper as I intend to, every single weekend for the rest of my life ;)  There are also tables of four as well.  Well , not time to eat yet – so I browsed around the shop.  It wasn’t so huge, but the offerings were quality.  Fresh italian crusty bread in every shape you would need for your weekend gourmet table, and at VERY reasonable prices.

The deli has a wide variety of salumi and other meats, as well as anti pasti.  Judging by the hooks above it, I am guessing that some lovely legs of proscuitto may soon arrive :)


Fennel and Rosemary Pork Belly

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

pork belly1.jpgI really wish someone would breed a pork species which had a fat free pork belly.  Because it’s a weakness of mine – crunch crackling atop layers of soft stringy white meat interspersed with smooth fat.  Alas. Pork belly makes my belly porky too.  And so it is reserved only for auspicious occasions.  Well there wasn’t really one this time, but a girly cooking session.  I dragged out a recipe from my Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine.  (more…)

Cucina Viscontini, the Waterside

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

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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Casa di Nico, King Street Wharf

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Very pleasantly surprised at the Italian offering from the Nick’s group (Nick’s Seafood/Bar and Grill/Bondi Beach/I’m Angus).  I’m a fan of I’m Angus but wondered what steak and italian had in common!  Well I thought I should make my way through the chain… At the quieter end of King Street Wharf, it’s a cosy waterside location, with wooden decor and open kitchen - centered around the wood fired oven.  Out of which come some pretty amazing pizzas – thin and crispy base, with fluffy bubbled crunchy but still with bite crust.  The Capricciosa ($23) would make a nonna proud with not too much topping of smoked ham, mushrooms, tomatoes, artichokes and scattered with olives 

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My sister raves about its version of the vegetarian lasagna ($24). It could fool any carnivore – tuck into it and see if you can finish the rich slab of layered zuchchini, spinach, mushroom, eggplant and cheese, lovingly adorned with shaved parmesan and fresh parsley.  Not over powering, but nevertheless an efforto finish it all due to the sheer size of the thing!  Other pastas include carbonara ($24), ragtoni with salami, capsicum, asparagus, walnuts and gorgonzola ($25), and risottos ($34) of chicken and mushroom (below) or seafood.

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We also tried the fettucine ai Gamberi – fresh king prawns, garlic, basil and chilli in tomato sauce ($29.50). The prawns were unreal – plump and fresh, and plenty of them – although personally I prefer thinner fettucine. Again – huge serving and couldn’t finish… the sauce was satisfying and not too brothy but not too thick either.  Strange pricing structure though where seafood pastas cost only little more than non-seafood ones!

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The seafood platter for two ($85) wowed everyone – an impressive crustacean tower comprising wood fired scampi, balmain bugs and king prawns, sitting on a bed of tasty marinated octopus, mussels and vongole done in garlic, chilli and olive oil.  We LOVED the variation on bread - crispy garlicky garlic naan to scare the vampires away.  I would have loved some chips with this, but oh well – as if there wasn’t enough carbs in the pasta/pizza!  Dad didn’t find the seafood that fresh though – maybe because we went on a monday night - or was it Friday that you’re not meant to have seafood??  (more…)