“When I went home and saw what I came from, I thought: this is what I want to cook,” declares owner/chef Tony Sabia. He’s realigning his long-standing restaurant to a more authentically regional voice.
What makes it special is that his inspiration is Basilicata - yeah, I had to ask too - the instep of Italy’s boot. It’s rustic and mountainous, a landscape extreme; with “cucina povera” by necessity not clever theme.
So get down with the region (watch the tourism video, it helps).
It enriches the eats, like Lagane e Ceci ($18.90), long flat pasta cooked with tomato, chilli, garlic and chickpeas. It’s probably too stodgy for our sedentary careers, but persevering made me feel at one with peasant life.
Mozzarella’s also bigger in Italy (an end in itself).
Notions of bland are quickly replaced by subtle, as you explore the collection on the abundant Mozzarella Degustazione Platter ($15.50/head).
Gnocchi Sorrentino ($19.90) might not sound exotic, but order it - it’s great. It’s one-gen. off della Nonna too (made by his Mum).
Just save room for pizza, because they’re totally the bomb! Burrata and ‘Nduja ($25) presents the creamiest mozzarella of all against spicy pork paste, sparingly applied so they don’t dominate the base.
And we thought we knew Italian…
41 Crown Street, Woolloomooloo
Ph: (02) 9331 8566