It’s hard for you to know this as all of my reviews are pre-written and scheduled, but this is actually the first review I’ve written in over two months. With the COVID-19 Delta outbreak in NSW and the subsequent lockdown there just hasn’t been much occasion or opportunity to go out and eat nice things. A recent government-sanctioned visit to my partner’s workplace accommodation in Wollongong provided a great opportunity to broaden my taste experiences outside of my 5km Western Sydney radius. Kneading Ruby answered the call of duty, not once, but twice.
My first bite of Kneading Ruby’s Pepperoni pizza ($24) with San Marzano tomato, fior di latte, pepperoni, and gremolata set the bar with quite extraordinary expectations for the rest of the meal. Their pizza bases are thin, but still retaining a good degree of crispiness and structural integrity. Their tomato sauce is fragrant and generous but not soggy, and the gremolata – a sauce of parsley, lemon, and garlic – was an excellent out of the ordinary addition to an already good pepperoni pizza. I enjoyed the slight woodfired char on the chewy, glutinous crust, and can find no faults with this pizza.
The Pork and Fennel pizza ($25) with pork and fennel sausage, cavalo nero, mozarella, and confit chilli was another delight. Each slice of pizza was apportioned with a generous amount of tasty sausage, leaving no mouthful sad and unmeated. The cavalo nero, a kale-like brassica, was a reasonable consolation prize for my partner who wanted to order some vegetables instead. The chilli sauce was good.
This DIY Garlic Bread ($10.50), presented as a cut up cobb loaf with a pot of garlic butter, was only OK. It could’ve used more garlic in the garlic butter, and more butter overall.
Unlike my girlfriend, I’m not usually a fan of potato on pizza. The first time I had potato on pizza was at Lilly’s Cafe in Rhodes, an experience which put a sense of starchy fear in my mind that has lingered to this day. Kneading Ruby’s Pancetta pizza ($25) with pancetta, smoked buffalo mozarella, scamorza, potato, rosemary, and pepper made short work of these negative connotations. The pancetta was again quite plentiful, and the flavours of the meat, cheese, and rosemary synergised well with that of the potato. Though the potato didn’t have a lot of flavour on its own, it was most importantly cut thinly and did not have too starchy a feel. It was more crispy (though not crunchy) than starchy, giving it the feeling of a topping rather than yet another layer of base. Really well done.
I was a bit hesitant to order two white pizzas on our second time having Kneading Ruby, fearing that the Truffle Salami pizza ($24) might be too similar to the Pancetta pizza. My fears were allayed however, by the sheer difference in flavour between the two pizzas. The truffle salami pizza had a mild but solid blue gorgonzola flavour, which I think was far more dominant than any truffle flavour that may or may not have been in it. The crust of this pizza was a little more burnt that I would’ve liked, though you can see from my sample size of 4 that this is more an anomality rather than the norm.
Keeping up a recent tradition for the third fortnight in a row, we again ordered two pizzas that we had yet to try from Kneading Ruby. Unfortuately as it were we had already tried the most promising looking menu items, and were therefore left with the Marinara pizza ($22) and the Gamberi pizza. Neither of these pizzas really lived up to the lofty expectations set by our previous orders. The Marinara pizza is a vegetarian pizza topped with san marzano tomatoes, other roast tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and oregano. The three different types of tomatoes on this pizza, while adding varied tastes and textures, did not do wonders for the structural integrity of the pie, which was somewhat soggy and floppy. Each slice of pizza was adorned by a full clove of garlic, which had been roasted to a pretty nice mild mashiness. This is not the pizza I would’ve chosen to begin with, but a reasonable option for someone with tick-bite induced meat allergy.
The Gamberi ($26) was really not that great either. I had expected a red pizza with some kind of sugo and a scattering of prawns. This is what was pictured on Deliveroo. What I got instead, pictured on the left, was a white pizza with a surprising dominane of zucchini, a small amount of scamorza and the occasional sundried tomato and green chilli. The flavours were mild, with the strongest component the slightly salted cheese flavour. I wished there could’ve been more prawn, but really I wish I could’ve just had what was pictured.
For reference, the right photo was the provided photo for the Gamberi in the Deliveroo menu. Much more appealing, but not at all what I got. (To be fair, incongruous with the written description).
The Cavatelli pasta with broccoli, lemon, pangritata and parmesan ($25) was alright. I liked the crispiness added by the pangritata, and thought that the sauce to pasta ratio was actually quite good for a delivered bowl. I’m just more of a meat guy myself.
I’m so pleased to have found such a nice gourmet pizza restaurant in Wollongong. The quality of their pizza challenges even some of my favourites in the big smoke. Definitely worth a visit.
5 Crown Ln, Wollongong NSW 2500
(02) 4229 7829