For years Pompei’s was considered the place to grab an authentic gelati in Sydney. Whilst a plethora of new guns have popped up in Bondi: notably an on-rush of speakeasys, beach-side bars and a new Miss Chu canteen, Pompei’s is still as busy as ever.
Spritz: Aperol, prosecco and soda $11
We’ve made a booking and arrived at this North Italian restaurant to be ushered to our table. It’s a cramped spot even for three girls and we awkwardly mid-sit side-step into the cranny (lots of table and chair shuffling were required) and mini-hop our chairs right up to the table edge. Our contortion activity for the day now over, we turn to the menu: a traditional mix of pizzas, pastas and vegetables with a curt page of veal and beef for the hard core carnivores.
Schiacciata Rustica: homade rustic bread with garlic and fresh herbs $7.50 + Flat white $4
We go for the Schiacciata Rustica, a light disc of warm bread studded with herbs and garlic. It’s pleasing but a little under-seasoned. The ravioli is delectable, large crescents of spinach and cheese sliding through a rich butter sauce. We were given a choice of tomato or butter but the waitress tells us the butter is easily her favourite so we go with her recommendation and offset it with an order of steamed organic vegetables which turned out to be rather pedestrian.
Ravioli di Magro alla Tirolese: handmade ravioli filled with baby spinach, parmigiano, ricotta and nutmeg in butter sauce (tomato sauce alternative available) $17.50
Lastly was the smoked proscuitto and mushroom pizza on a airy crisp base: a classic combination has been given an element of uniqueness with the use of smoked proscuitto and earthy sauteed porcini.
Verdure Biologiche: steamed organic vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper $12.90
Speck e funghi trifolati: smoked proscuito scented with juniper berries and herbs, mixed sauteed mushrooms including porcini, fior di latte mozzarella, tomato sauce $24
Although we’ve been looking forward to digging into the gelati, we’re stuffed and already running late for a gig. We promise to return afterwards but as the gelati window closes at 11, we managed to miss this too.
As stalwarts go, Pompei will easily be around for us next year or next decade, so there’s no hurry for when we return for that promised scoop.
I didn’t realise until writing up this post that Pompei’s was meant to be a North Italian restaurant, and in reflection I didn’t spot a heavy featuring of meat, polenta or ravioli in the menu. Perhaps it’s a little at odds to be serving such hearty fare to a tanned beach-going, health conscious clientele. Regardless, at the end of the day Pompei’s serves simple Italian food done well. There’s not much more to enduring success then that.
a. 126-130 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach
t. 9365 1233