It wasn’t until the Pizza Festival last year that I truly learnt to appreciate pizza and the little nuances that makes it such a popular dish around the world.

Authentic pizza is not loaded with toppings, it should only have a maximum of five added ingredients – including the tomato and mozzarella on its base. In terms of regional variations, it’s all about the pizza base. I’ve already covered Pizza Romana style; and will cover Pizza Napoletana next. For now, we’re going to take a look at Pizza Italiana.

As recommended by Matteo, founder of Pizza Festival, one of the best places to try the Pizza Italiana style, is at Pompei’s at Bondi Beach.

Pompei's pizza festival sign at Bondi

The first thing that catches our attention is the stunning mosaic wall which brings together the aqua hues of its beachside setting with the cosyness you’d expect to find at an Italian pizzeria.

Interior of Pompeis Bondi

Here,  the pizzas are made with carefully selected ingredients: stone-ground unbleached flour, extra virgin olive oil, natural yeast, Snowy Mountain’s spring water and sea salt. The pizza dough is proofed for 36 hours in true artisan tradition. Everything, down to he ingredients are the best possible; take for example, the tomato sauce, made with organic vine ripened tomatoes.
Authentic Italian drinks at Pompeis Bondi Beach
Our drinks are also of the imported Italian kind – peach nectar ($4) and Moretti Pilsner ($7).
The pizzas follow the 13 inch tradition but there’s a sophistication about these. Perhaps it’s the perfectly circular base, or the meticulously arranged toppings. The Pizza Italiana base is in between Pizza Romana and Pizza Napoletana. It’s fluffy, but not quite as thick and chewy as the Neapolitan style, yet it’s crispy but not quite as thin and crunchy as the Romana style. This pizza middle-ground, is hearty, and very good looking.
The speck e funghi trifolati ($24) is smoked prosciutto scented with juniper berries and herbs, mixed sauteed mushrooms including porcini, fior di latte mozzarella and tomato sauce. The flavours are clean yet deeply satisfying.
Speck e funghi trifolati: lightly smoked proscuitto scented with juniper berries and herbs, mixed sauteed mushrooms including porcini, fior di latte and organic tomato sauce
We also try the gamberi e pesto di prezzemolo ($24), one of just three pizzas on the ‘without mozzarella’ menu. The toppings consist of local prawns, parsley, pesto, tomato and chilli. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so nourished from eating a pizza! Without the mozzarella, the richness of the tomato sauce and the sweetness of the local prawns really stand out.
Gamberi e pesto di prezzemolo: local prawns, parsley, pesto, tomato and chilli
For dessert, it’s a no brainer to share one of Pompei’s housemade gelato sundaes.

The coppa baba al rhum ($14) features baba soaked in rum, homemade pistacchio, hazelnut and dark chocolate gelato, whipped jersey cream and amedei chocolate sauce. Trying hard not to giggle at the shape of the rum baba which may or may not make you think of a man’s *ahem*, the two gelato flavours work brilliantly together.

Homemade gelato sundaes at Pompei's coppa baba al rhum

As we indulge in the fresh gelato, we ponder upon which style of pizza is our favourite… There’s a mood for each one, I concur. Pizza Napoletana is comforting, Pizza Romana is satisfying, and Pompei’s Pizza Italiana style is clean eating.

Seating interior at Pompeis at Bondi Beach

126-130 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach, NSW
Phone: (02) 9365 1233

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 I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Pizza Festival

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.