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Bondi

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.

The Verdict
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.

Pompei’s 
a. 126-130 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach
t. 9365 1233
w. www.pompeis.com.au

Pompei's on Urbanspoon

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I’ve kept this hidden for a few months now, but I think it’s time to air out my secret and come clean. I think I’ve found the best sausage roll in Sydney. Sure, it’s a big claim and I’m being rather brash, swinging it out there and all that but I’m convinced the butchers of La Macelleria have managed to perfect this Aussie icon.

Now I know that fans of Bourke Street Bakery might protest and I do love their beautiful rendition with aromatic fennel and who can turn down a lamb shank pie from Black Star or a vegetable quiche from La Banette? But for me, the Bondi butchers currently hold residence on the first-place dais.


Clockwise: Yellow Berkel slicers, Panini, Glasseye Creek Wild Meat Sauce, Salumin and Cheese menu board

This up market Italian butchery opened late last year under the care of Maurice Terzini and Robert Marchetti: if these two seem familiar it’s because they’re the guys behind the Bondi institution Icebergs, North Bondi Italian Food and the new Nield Avenue. Never ones to fall short of a dazzling fit out, La Marcelleria’s a lovely clash of traditional (black and white tiles and chalkboards) with the urban (neon type), populated by organic, locally sourced meat and home made salumi. Everything is lovingly shown off, dangling in glass cabinets or artfully arranged in bowls and baskets. If you’re interested they have a rotisserie with organic chickens and stuffed spatchcocks, meat drippings and thick gravy as well as a panini bar, or perhaps you can ask one of the staff in spotless white smocks to shave you some salumi or freshly mince a cut of meat for you to take home and prepare yourself.


Footlong Berkshire Pork sausage roll $12.95

We were merely peckish and thought to give the Berkshire foot-long sausage roll a try. Jen and I sat by Bondi beach to halve the gleaming sesame and poppy seed speckled log; the pork was fresh and intensely meaty with little moments of flaky pastry breaking through each mouthful. I have to admit we initially broke the roll into three but seeing as the third person was running late and it was just too good we shared the third person’s portion and hope she’d never find out what she missed out on.


Sauced up: the money shot

Only the promise of immediate dinner stayed our hand from reaching into our wallets to buy another. Yes it was that good!

The Verdict
A thoughtful Italian upmarket butcher situated next to Bondi beach means a perfect place to stock up your wicker basket and stroll down the beach for a picnic. The staff are well informed and can give you detailed information about where your meat was grown or processed as well as the origins and styles of the products in their salumi bar. Whilst the prices may seem a bit steep this is organic, sustainable meat at its best. Get your 12 inches of heaven right here ladies.

Let me know if you have a ‘best of’ recommendation.

La Marcelleria
t. 9300 6388
a. Shop 14, The Beach House, 178 Campbell Parade Bondi Beach
e. info(at)italianbutcherbondi.com
w. http://www.italianbutcherbondi.com

La Marcelleria on Urbanspoon