We’re seated around a long communal table that’s lit down the centre. The bulk of our dining companions are aged between twenty-five and thirty-five, and from the conversation, many are post-grads in entry-level positions in accountancy firms. Even if you choose not to talk to anyone else, eating at Pizza Autentico feels convivial on a cold, wintery Tuesday night.
Over a floral Monte-Mule ($16.50) with Montenegro Liqueur balanced by ginger ale and lime, and a cut-price Aperol Spritz ($10), we celebrate happy hour by drinking in snippets of conversation.
Our host, Jonny Allen, flips our tokens to green and we’re hit by wave after wave of thin-crust pizzas.
There's pepperoni, mushroom, four cheeses and spicy sausage, followed by a more unusual spinach and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
The pizzas are interspersed with bowls of pasta served on the softer side of al dente.
Moving on to Birra Ichnusa ($9), we try farfalle, (bow-ties) with a cheesy, mushroom sauce, and rotini (spirals) with mushrooms and light tomato sauce.
Gnocchi Gorgonzola remains a favourite, and, even if you’re full, if the cheese, bacon and pea pizza comes ‘round, you should stretch to fit in a slice.
New to the Pizza Autentico menu are salads, priced separately to your all-you-can-eat spend. We share Burrata ($15) and enjoy the indulgent creamy white cheese oozing over sliced Roma tomatoes. Salad is a nice contrast to the carbohydrate-heavy feed.
With my token firmly locked in pause barely forty-five minutes into our ninety minute All You Can Eat ($20/head) six o'clock sitting, I idly watch a couple on the other side of the table take turns juggling a baby as they each eat their fill.
For us isolated inner city types Pizza Autentico offers up the experience of family without the anxiety of actually having one. Better yet: they’re in the business of making people both happy and full, for a very affordable price.
15 Brisbane Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9267 9992