Saturday, June 21, 2014

A trip to Italy Via Napoli

We all have food dreams, personally, mine is to have a limitless supply of fresh truffles but as that's an unlikely scenario, we fulfilled Lobo's dream instead - ordering TWO METRES of pizza.

Via Napoli, in Lane Cove, on the north side of Sydney, has earned a reputation for serving authentic pizzas. They have been around for a while but, as word has spread, their initially small home has expanded, even in the short time (3 years) between my first and next (this) visit. And so many diners can't be wrong.

We were there to celebrate Wag's birthday, the perfect venue because her favourite dessert is Tiramisu, but more on that later.

The pizza is infamous but to our delight, there was a selection of other yummy sounding dishes which we chose a smattering of for the table to share as entrees. 

We ordered Arancini ($10.00), which comes as two, tennis ball sized, perfectly golden fried balls a serve with a different filling in each - one with veal & pork mince, buffalo mozzarella & peas, the other with truffle & gorgonzola.

We also ordered Polip Alla Luciana ($22.00) - a dish of melt-in-the-mouth baby octopus presented in a lidded jar and filling our mouths with such a cornucopia of flavours that all gelled to make one tasty dish. Packed with capers, olives, stale chunks of bread which soaked up the glorious sauce infused with garlic, oil, chilli, parsley & white wine, it was probably the dish for which we will all be returning.

 Polenta & Gorgonzola ($15.00) - some of the chunkiest, crispiest ever tasted and presented with a dipping dish of melted peppered gorgonzola, ahhhh, heaven!

Tagliere Di Salumi ($20.00) - a selection of Italian cured meats (the deli slicer sits pride of place in the centre of the main dining room where the two wood fired ovens work overtime).
And the most glorious ball of buffalo mozzarella I have ever seen. I must admit, I'm not a huge fan (I don't even seem to have a photo of it) but in saying this, the texture was far more pleasing than any I had tasted previously and those who were fans assured me that it was amongst the best.

Spaghetti Marechiaro ($30.00) - seafood pasta - al dente of course as it should be and ever so tasty with the freshest taste of the sea in every forkful.

Just after we ordered, our appetites were immediately satisfied with the provision of two baskets of some wonderful crusty bread. Served the Italian way, with oil rather than butter, I initially missed the hit of salt which is usually supplied alongside the oil but a few mouth fulls in and the need was no more. The baskets were almost instantly empty and happily filled once more before our entrees arrived.

The stands on which our ëntrees have been balanced are cleared and we wonder how on earth we are going to fit in any more food. Then, it arrives.....

All TWO METRES of colourful, fresh-looking and smelling delicious pizza!
A word of caution: when you order TWO METRES of pizza at Via Napoli, the toppings are pre-ordained and, at the time of writing were:  Vesuvio (San Marzano Tomato, buffalo mozzarella, ricotta,  ham, salami, pepper & basil), Salsiccia e Friarielli (Fior di latte, italian sausage, cime di rapa, basil & chilli on a white base), Crudo e Rucola (Fior di latte, prosciutto di Parma, rocket, parmesan & basil on a white base), Margherita (San Marzano Tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil & olive oil) and Marinara (San Marzano Tomoato, oregano, basil & garlic). We certainly weren't quibbling but to me it looked like they had baked two one metre pizzas and placed them end to end on a two metre plank but in all honesty, we didn't care! We quickly found room in our stomachs.

And we weren't amazed when we had a family sized regular pizza left over.

Thankfully, Via Napoli are fully prepared with take-away boxes to pack our leftovers in.

What I really loved about the entire meal was that nothing felt overly laced with cheese. The flavours imbued by very talented cooking ensured that cheese was an accompaniment rather than the binder that it can be in lesser versions of these dishes.

Naturally, we had to leave room for dessert and coffee:


But I guess what you'd really like to know is:  would we order the TWO METRE pizza again?

If we had the numbers we had last time, hell yes!

Although some of the slices had lost their crispy base due to the freshness of the sauce and the thinness of the base, they reheated in our oven at home to crispy perfection, the second cooking intensifying the flavours, for a whole other meal the next day.  And we all know there's nothing better than reheated pizza!