Pizza. Pasta. Buffet. Hold my spoon, this is a feast worthy of diving headlong into! Sydney’s latest addition to the eating scene is new Italian eatery Pizza Autentico, home to traditional Italian fare and a way to dine like no other. In an innovative stroke of genius, they have designed a 90 minute buffet focused purely on endless slices of pizza and pasta. And the best part? It’s all for $20.
Co-owner and founder Hamilton Kings spent two years searching for the perfect venue to realise his vision of a friendly, upbeat restaurant offering the best quality Italian food at an unbeatable price. “I did this because I love the philosophy of Italian food,” Hamilton said. “It’s all so simple and fresh – I wanted to do something a little bit different that no-one else had done before. It was also important to offer our diners a reasonable price point as these days people don’t want to spend a fortune.”
The interior is chic and reminiscent of intimate eateries tucked away in the side streets of Rome or Milan, with a large communal table seating up to 30 diners on the lower floor that exudes the Italian love for making new friends.
For those who want a more intimate night out, Italy’s cozier side comes out on the upper level with lighting a little dimmer than downstairs – and of course private tables. We loved that the lighting decor was styled like overturned spaghetti strainers!
We’re welcomed with a basket of home-made bread, tapenade, olives and the wonderful surprise that all meats and fresh produce come from the ever-popular European food wholesaler Salt Meats Cheese! In the kitchen, we found three chefs all hailing from Italy, and as co-owner and founder Jonny Allen explains: “This restaurant all about introducing a unique food offering in Sydney which is authentic and true to itself.”
The pizza toppings focus on the traditional Italian flavours ranging from simple creations like Margherita, Al Funghi and Partenopea to Siciliana, Prosciutto, Quattro Stagioni, Di Marcello Pomodoro, Valtellinese, N’Duja and Capricciosa. The pizza bases are handmade by their Italian chefs, with a total of 12 pizzas to try. And try we did!
Our first pizza, the Margherita, was by far my favourite, with simple flavours that immediately showcased the doughy, thin pizza base Pizza Autentico strives for. The napoli sauce complemented the mozzarella, with just enough basil to herb things up.
The Siciliana was boldly flavoured with anchovies and olives, which was equal parts loved and less loved on our table. Personally Jen and I love anchovies, which I felt worked with the olives – and I am not an olive person.
The Prosciutto came topped with rocket leaves again sparked some gastronomic debate between Grace and myself. While I disliked the bitterness of rocket leaves, she loved their tang!
Albeit my high hopes for the Al Funghi, it was not as light and fresh as the other pizzas. But really, it’s hard to go wrong with mushrooms and cheese!
A highlight of the Partenopea was the generous basil, which brought the palate to another level. However, there were remarks that the tomato was disproportional to the pizza,”That is too much tomato to put in one mouthful!” For the tomato-lovers out there, I say go for it.
The Valtellinese boasted rocket, shaved parmesan, and wafer-thin pieces of shaved beef I wanted more of. However, something I would’ve loved less of was the extra charcoaling that started to become a theme in the next pizza batches.
I enjoyed the spiciness of the Italian pork sausage in the N’Duja, which lent itself to good body and flavour. At this stage I had opted to decidedly split my servings with my table-mates so that we could try more of everything. What can I say, I’m highly experienced in the art of buffet gastronomy!
I love a bit of cheeseporn, and the buffalo mozzarella in the Di Marcello Pomodoro was oozing with stretchiness. However, I found it hard to distinguish between the buffalo mozarella and shaved parmesan elements, with a remark that the combination had the flavour of tasty cheese. This pizza would do well, again, with more of everything, to complement the doughy pizza bases with a powerful palate. You’ll have to see it to find out – the waitstaff left before we could snap a photo!
Pizza Autentico’s five pastas cover the gastronomic spectrum with traditional Spaghetti Bolognese, Penne Arrabbiata, Trofie Pesto, Orecchiette Norma, and Rigatoni N’Duja. We started with the Penne Arrabiata, which was spicy enough to keep it interesting, but missing the bite of al dente pasta.
Unfortunately the waitstaff missed my corner of the table, and I was left to eat the Spaghetti Bolognese with my eyes, although there was a general consensus on the table that it was slightly watery. Now now, all should be fair in love and food – especially in a buffet! Let’s not have to fight for it.
The Trofie Pesto came with generous amounts of pine nuts, which I completely loved. However, the quantity of pine nuts were also too copious for some, a point which I could understand as it shielded the flavour of the basil pesto sauce. But I do love my pine nuts!
The Orecchiette Norma portrayed delicate flavours I would’ve enjoyed more if they were stronger, with more of the eggplant and ricotta influence that’s promised when serving.
Now if you’re looking for that extra flavour, side dishes are also on offer for $9 each, including Sicilian Arancini, Anchovy Cigars, Meatballs in Napoli Sauce, Rocket & Parmesan Salad, and Buffalo Mozarella with Tomato and Basil. I chose to try the Chicken Stuffed with Prosciutto & Mozzarella, which was not what I had expected. Yet isn’t that what defines innovation? I feel this side would’ve been perfect as some bar-side finger food. Dessert is also offered in small macchiato glasses for $4.50 each. Selections include a Raspberry Semi Freddo, Chocolate Mousse, and Pannacotta.
During dinner, the hearty feast is complemented with a choice of wine such as Tuscan soave and chianti, Sicilian chardonnay and Piedmont Barbara, ranging from $8 to $12 per glass. Italian cocktails are also on offer for $15 each, featuring traditional spirits like Campari, Martini Rosso, and of course Prosecco. Of course, soft drinks such as Sanpellegrino and Pepsi are always on offer for lunch-goers like ourselves!
Parties and group bookings are more than welcome, where large gatherings of eight or more people can book a private space upstairs. Pizza Autentico is the place for easy authentic Italian fare for an even easier price.
15 Brisbane St, Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: (02) 9267 9992
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Pizza Autentico