Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a pizza?? I do – it’s literally been over 6 months, I kid you not. As expected, the cravings hit a critical mass somewhere around March this year, and I found myself at Rosso Antico. I’ve been eyeing off Rosso Antico for over a year now, ever since I first stumbled across it on my way to Bovine and Swine. I was impressed with how legitimately Italian their menu looked, and their adorable pizza chefs certainly didn’t hurt either. The humble Margherita ($18) is my benchmark for sussing out the quality of a new pizza restaurant, and Rosso Antico fell somewhere in the middle of the road with their rendition. On the up-side, the crust was a gloriously tall and puffy with a healthy dusting of char, and was a complete joy to eat. But I would have liked to see a more robust and intense tomato flavour, as this tasted a little watered-down, and didn’t have enough complexity to bring out the creaminess of the mozzarella.
One year on, I’m still trying to find the perfect pasta in Sydney that doesn’t break the bank. Although I’ve had a few bowls here and there, I found that most of the time they’re either cheap and super inauthentic, or pricey but only somewhat authentic. Admittedly I haven’t been looking around as much as I would have wanted to – at $30 or so per dish, it’s just a little bit out of my price range for casual meals. But last year, La Favola burst onto the Newtown scene in a whirl of rave reviews, with bold promises of freshly made pasta and Authentic Italian, all for something like $20 a bowl – consider me sold.
I didn’t realise how much I had gotten used to the DINK (that’s Dual-Income-No-Kids) life until I quit work to go back to study at the beginning of the year. All of a sudden, I no longer had the funds to go out for a meal at my favourite wine bar whenever I felt like it, and I have to constantly ask myself if I really need a 3rd bubble tea this week. To be sure, there are plenty of delicious and affordable eats floating around Sydney, but I do find myself getting sick of the same-same routine of casual Asian/Middle-Eastern meals after a while, and crave something a little more refined.
And so the search for the local cheap and cheerful Japanese restaurant continues. Kura turned out to be something of a disappointment, so my search led me to Hikaru Japanese Restaurant, located conveniently within walking distance from Sydney Uni for an after-class feed. Hikaru has been around for a solid 30 years, so it’s definitely a little bit worse for wear. But with that said, I actually quite liked the ambience. Instead of being fully indoors, its located within a semi-enclosed courtyard that extends further into the building. And despite its age, it gave off a well-loved atmosphere, rather than an unkempt one.
Long days call for fried chicken. And seeing as I’m far past the age where I can have a meal of nothing but fried foods without mentally preparing myself for at least a week in advance, I decided to hit up Belly Bao for some modern Asian tapas – with a side of fried chicken, of course! Despite serving food that is best described as pan-Asian, Belly Bao (isn’t the name just adorable!!) is decked out in a very much funky tropical style. There is greenery galore, and a huge, colourful mural depicting summery fun-times.
I really love meat, but I also really love veggies. In fact, I love both so much that the thought of going vegan is almost as horrifying as being told that I have to be exclusively carnivorous from here on. But there are definitely days where I feel like one more than the other, and there are no points for guessing what I was in the mood for when I hit up Vina Vegan. Like Fitzroy, Newtown is the suburb to go if you want your choice of vegetarian/vegan meals. Instead of Token Risotto or Chips For Dinner, you can get your choice of Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, South-East Asian – and more, depending on which place you hit up. And Vina Vegan? They do a modern take on Vietnamese and Thai food in a small space with a bit of a Zen vibe, just past the ever-popular Lentil As Anything.