Who would have thought that my favourite pizza in Sydney would have a Swedish origin? I certainly didn't until I tried
Sven’s Viking Pizza at Bondi Junction, which is apparently the southern hemisphere’s only Swedish Viking-themed pizza place. I suppose though, when you think of the Viking history (a history of pillage and conquer) it isn't surprising firstly that they have pizzas, and secondly that their pizzas reflect the best bits of a variety of countries.
In the restaurant, you relax on a rustic tree-stump stool at a recycled red gum feasting table amidst wall-hangings that include genuine reindeer hides from the Arctic Circle, Nordic helmets, genuine reindeer antlers and shields.
Start with a real taste of Sweden, the Frö ($21.50/11 inch, $25.50/13 inch) available in all good Swedish pizza stores (basically if you're in a Swedish pizza shop, and this isn't on the menu, the shop is not authentic I am told). It’s an absolutely delicious mix of wafer thin slices of beef eye fillet, béarnaise sauce, fresh mushrooms, onion and cracked black pepper on a thin, crisp puff pastry base. Who would have thought to put béarnaise sauce sauce on a pizza, bar the Vikings? This pizza is what will make me come back! According to amiable owner/chef Sven Gustafsson, it’s a sure-fire hangover cure too!
Also impressive was the Ask ($21/$25) which sees slices of döner kebab join fefferoni (green chilli), roma tomatoes, onion and Swedish kebab sauce on another crisp base. All of the pizzas use quality ingredients, including Tasmanian Smoked Salmon; Sven says emphatically: “You have to have quality.”
Salads including an intense Caesar Salad ($14.50) round out the menu; plus there is beer and reasonably priced wine – try the lovely 2007 Greystone Pinot Gris ($8/glass, $39/bottle) from New Zealand. Swedish music - Abba and Swedish born Jose González – keep you thematic; as do bathrooms labelled ‘Inga’ and ‘Sven’.
Prior to the pizzas you even get a complimentary Swedish 'coleslaw' - to me it tasted strongly of carroway seeds, but I was told there were none in it - just cabbage and an (unidentified) herb vinaigrette. It was good because it stimulated the appetite (as pickled things tend to do).
The next time I am in a drinking mood, you'll find me here, for pizzas with sauce! (Why didn't I think of that?)
Sven’s Viking Pizza
354 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
Ph: (02) 9389 3393