Start with a spring Saturday night, add 25 food lovers, some funny ‘designer’ moustaches, masks, a new Italian Trattoria and you have Secret Foodies #8. The secret destination was Lanzafame, the latest addition to Sydney’s casual Italian dining scene in the eastern suburbs. Located just off Crown St, towards Woolloomooloo this little gem is slightly off the beaten track but worth the detour.
Only 5 months old, Lanzafàme Trattoria is the creation of John Lanzafame. No rookie to the Sydney food scene John was the former Executive Chef at Hugo’s. In 2008 he was a member of the Australian Culinary Olympic Team that won gold in Germany (yes there is a food Olympics, how do I get a job being that judge?) John also won the 2005 world pizza champion in New York.
With credentials like that you’d expect to eat some pretty darn good pizza! We weren’t disappointed. To start we tried three of his signature pizza’s including the Margherita, Pork Belly and Garlic Prawn. Not a huge pork eater I was amazed to find my favoutie was the Pork Belly with tomato, mozzarella, sweet & sour onion, porkbelly, orgegano & radicchio salad. What I liked about the pizzas was the simple flavours…no overpowering ingredients.
Feeling satisfied, I managed to make room for the tasting plate that followed. John’s special spiced salami, pork & veal meatball, seared scallop and prawns were laid before us. My favourite was the seared scallop.
Looking around the table I wasn’t the only one reaching their food threshold so when an alternate drop of pasta dishes were brought out I began the mental process of how to finish. Let’s just say I’m writing this with my top button undone on my pants and I intend on going for a long run this afternoon. All of the pasta had been hand made on site, the meat slow cooked and all ingredients were locally sourced.
Sharing with 2 fellow foodies we divided our dishes into 3 and had a chance to taste them all. The simple Italian dishes included Fettucini Beef cheek ragu, Parppadelle with Rabbit ragu and Maccheroni with Lamb shank, potato & pea casserole topped w grated pecorino. My favourite dish was the maccheroni with lamb shank. I found the other two dishes very heavy, especially after pizza and tasting plates and couldn’t finish.
I recommend not eating anything before you come to Lanzafame if you intend on eating half of what we were served. Alternatively you can ask for a take away container for later…one of our foodies did!
The wine list is reasonable and there are some yummy cocktails to be had. We kicked off the night with two great Martini cocktails designed for the evening.
After dinner, John took time out of the kitchen to answer a few foodie questions including my standard 3: Favorite Eat: Pork Belly, Favourite Drink: Bourbon and Favorite Play: Eating again! John also shared his passion for seasonal produce, words of wisdom from his mother on cooking and his upcoming appearance on Masterchef Junior.
Secret Foodies regulars and smiley new faces made it a wonderful evening. I thought the atmosphere was fun for a Saturday night, the food was wholesome and the pork belly pizza was my favourite dish of the evening. I recommend Lanzafame for casual, affordable dining any night of the week and especially great for groups. A great night full of food, wine and as usual the fabulous strangers who quickly became new friends!
But enough about what I thought, let’s hear what our foodies had to say…