Monday, 2 November 2015

Pizza of the Week: Rosso Antico, Enmore

I'm the polar opposite of a foodie, but is it okay if I use this blog to talk about really important pizza experiences that I've had?

So last night, Leo had to drop off a key for a workmate in Newtown (Leo, for anyone not immersed in my personal life, is my primary-companion-to-the-exclusion-of-all-others) and I decided to go with her because a) it was Halloween night and I wanted to see how that was going down on King St, and b) I was hungrier for more food than we currently had in the house. After meeting the esteemed colleague outside of The Hub - what's going on with that place, by the way? - we went up Enmore Road, expecting get pizza at serviceable staple like Azzuri, San Remo or Manoosh. But before we hit the Enmore Theatre stretch, we discovered Rosso Antico, a pizza bar which opened only recently on the street level of what used to be the empty and neglected Newtown RSL building.

The food looked decent from afar, so we decided to risk trying this new place rather than seeking out the familiar. It had a good atmosphere, very open. It was full of people enjoying themselves, but not full enough to be oppressive or to have a wait for a table, and it was very, like, on trend, with mismatched low-watt bulbs, unfinished brick walls, and that tried-and-tested hipster stable of cream subway tiling with black grout, which does it for me every single time. Also, their front wall is completely glass, and because it was Halloween, we ended up being passed by a disco Thor, the Phantom of the Opera, a dude Leia and lady Stormtrooper, a gorilla on a bicycle, a ton of wounded civilians and I'm-a-mouse-duhs, and a white guy in a P. K. Subban jersey as we ate.

I like many of your traditional pizza tropes: Italian, New York, Chicago, Lebanese, Domino's... I love them all for different reasons, but I like them to be the best possible versions of themselves, and this was by far the best Italian pizza I've had in Sydney. Gigi's was okay, but they were snooty pricks who have recently launched a vegan-only menu, possibly just to fuck with people. Nom Pizza in Marrickville does a very good take-away Italian-style, and Lucio in Darlinghurst, which is often in top ten lists for Sydney, is pretty much worth the hype. Rosso Antico was better than all of those. It's going to get a rep so fast, because it was fucking unbelievable.

Ohhhh myyyy godddd.


I had what I always have when it comes to Italian pizza - a margarita with mushrooms and black olives added. (If it's a fast-food place, or a crunchier base, I also get pineapple.) They did NOT skimp on the toppings. Thick chunks of mushroom - a lot of it, rather than one single mushroom sliced and artfully arranged across six slices, which is what you get sometimes when you add a vegetable request to a margarita - and handfuls of whole black olives, very high quality ones, I'm discerning about olives. The crust was that very chewy, puffed up type that thins out in the middle to disintegrating levels of floppy, a bit salty in a good way. The sauce was a light san marzano puree, not really strongly flavored with other herbs, but a very perfect blend.

Even the cheese was flavorful, which was a huge added bonus, because often with Italian pizza (at least in this country) the mozzarella isn't very strong - you get the texture and the oil and the basil and everything coming together to make a good package in your mouth, but if you isolate a chunk of cheese it's almost tasteless, especially if it's fior di latte as opposed to bufala. This was the best, yummiest, most stands-on-its-own-two-feet fior di latte I have ever experienced. Thank you, cows.

It was one of those pizzas where you pick up a slice and everything slides off unless you fold it properly, which I am bad at. I made a mess. I do not care. I picked up all the bits with my fingers. Huge puddles of tomato liquid/oil residue soaked through the middle of the pizza onto the plate and that stuff tasted so good on its own that I actually mopped my plate with spare crust, and I am not a mopper. There were too many olives to stay on the pizza, they literally rolled off, and I squeezed the sauce residue out of them into my mouth. And I couldn't finish it, which goes to show how weighty the toppings and cheese were, because usually Italian pizza is pretty light and I can eat a full one.

Leo had potato croquettes, which are the closest thing you'll find to mozzarella sticks in this country, and a pear/walnut/rocket/parmesan salad. She also had my last slice of pizza, though I ate the saucy, saucy mushrooms and olives. The croquettes were so big that she had to cut them up with a knife and fork, and she kept waving bits of pear in my face, so I guess she approved.

~aesthetic. From the Rosso Antico instagram.
Ohhhh my god, it was so very good and so very unexpected. A Halloween miracle. I am ranking it 9 out of 10 slices, purely because I didn't get to eat the last one.

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