Categories
Italian

Maranello’s – Maroubra NSW Pizza Review

Back in mid 2018 my partner went for dinner with her friends from work to Maranello’s in Concord. I wasn’t invited along, but boy was I invited to listen to her talk about how good it was. I’ve recently been craving a bit of pizza, so took the opportunity to order from Maranello’s Maroubra branch. It was disappointing to say the least.

For starters, the pizza dough at Maranello’s Maroubra is not the classic kind of dough that you get at wood-fired pizza restaurants. Rather than being light and stretchy or thin and crispy, Maranello’s pizza base and crust is hard, dry, and agricultural. Eating the crust was not unlike eating a piece of high fibre wholemeal toast. In addition to this the dough had a slight bitter taste, and was overall just not appropriate for use in pizza.

The Mamma’s ($24.90) with bocconini, tomato and basil would’ve been good were it not for the base. The flavours were fresh, especially with the inclusion of thick slices of fresh tomato. If I could transplant the toppings on this pizza to a base made by any other wood fired pizza restaurant then this would’ve been a winner.

The Meat Lover’s Pizza ($23.90) was a disappointment of ham, cabanoosi, pepperoni, and beef in a barbecue sauce atop a very bad base. The toppings could’ve been good on their own (though not at all gourmet), but the bitterness from the pizza base really ruined it for me.

VERDICT

After the hype-up from my partner, Maranello’s in Maroubra was quite disappointing. A review of their Concord branch’s website shows that their pizza has the right kind of dough. So why can’t their Maroubra mothership do the same? Expensive and not good.

One lone star. Get da mario’s instead.

Maranello’s Maroubra
Pacific Square Shopping Centre, 51/737 Anzac Parade, Maroubra NSW 2035
(02) 8347 0733

Categories
Italian

Elias Gourmet Pizza – Maroubra NSW Restaurant Review

Elias Gourmet Pizza is not as gourmet as I’d like it to be.

This meal was ordered via the Deliveroo app. The headline photo showed woodfired style pizza, however what I got was vastly different to the photo.

Gourmet Meat Large Half and Half Pizza – Brabyn St Special, Kalymnos

One of the positive attributes about Elias Gourmet Pizza is that there is no significant surcharge for half and half. I had the Gourmet Meat Large Half and Half Pizza with Brabyn St Special and Kalymnos ($26).

The Brabyn St Special consists of “Beef, pepperoni, roasted capsicum, onion, tomato, jalapenos, double chilli with a side of sour cream”. It is actually quite good, nice and spicy. It would my pick of the two halves.

The Kalymnos consisting of “char grilled meat balls, bacon, fresh tomato, onion & roasted capsicum” wasn’t so good. I thought that the meat balls were dry and a bit tasteless, and too sparse to really make the pizza feel like a meatball pizza – it was rather a pizza with occasional meatballs. I wouldn’t recommend this at all.

The American Smoked Pork Ribs ($28) was actually pretty decent, both in quality and price. I would normally expect to pay $35-40 for this quantity of ribs, so $28 from a delivery app is extremely reasonable. The pork was tender and well sauced but not oversauced, which was a plus. Surprisingly much better than the pizza – perhaps Elias should rename itself to Elias Gourmet Ribs instead.

VERDICT
Not really special, wouldn’t recommend their pizza but if you have a hankering for ribs and live within the delivery radius it’s worth a go.

Elias Gourmet Pizza
55 McKeon St, Maroubra NSW 2035
(02) 9315 5575

Categories
Italian

Pepper Gourmet Pizza – Maroubra NSW Restaurant Review

Pepper Gourmet Pizza was my most recent victim after getting home past midnight after an evening shift in the emergency department.

Pepper’s Truffle Beef Pizza ($17, medium) – described as “Béchamel Base, Wagyu Beef, Wild Mushroom, Caramelised Onions, Mozzarella, Topped With Fresh Basil, Buffalo Mozzarella And Truffle Aioli” – was quite disappointing. The “Wagyu” beef tasted no different to regular strips of beef that had been cooked well done. The wildness of the mushrooms I felt did not add anything to their taste or texture, and a more friendly domesticated mushroom would not have hurt this pizza in any way. The truffle aioli drizzle was oily but was unfortunately necessary to provide an additional flavour to this cheesy greasy mess. Not for me.

Garlic Prawns

The Garlic Prawns Pizza ($18, medium) was also a disappointment. Pepper’s idea of a prawn is obviously a very small, budget style acquatic animal with little meat or flavour. The garlic sauce component of the pizza was also very mild. The fresh lemon slice was a good addition but I could’ve used two. It would’ve been better with more flavourful and robust garlic, and larger and more prawns for the price.

The Mexican Pizza ($17 – medium) doesn’t try too hard at incorporated premium sounding ingredients, but actually does what it sets out to do well. This pizza provides a good mix of flavours from its slightly spicy chorizo to its spicy and tangy jalapenos. This is the only pizza from Pepper’s Gourmet Pizza that I would buy again.

Don’t get the spicy chicken wings (6 for $9.95). That is all.

VERDICT

I would not recommend Pepper Gourmet Pizza for your next primary school pizza party, however it is in my opinion still much better than Maranello’s, also in Maroubra.

Three stars

Pepper Gourmet Pizza Maroubra
Shop 2/183 Maroubra Rd, Maroubra NSW 2035
(02) 8041 0511

Categories
Italian

Kneading Ruby – Wollongong NSW Resturant Review

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.

SECOND ORDER

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.

THIRD ORDER

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.

VERDICT
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.

4.5🍕/5🍕

Kneading Ruby
5 Crown Ln, Wollongong NSW 2500
(02) 4229 7829

Categories
Italian

Mapo – Newtown NSW Gelato Review

Mapo is currently my favourite gelato in Sydney.

My first experience with Mapo’s gelato was during my first visit to Kurumac in early 2020, a Japanese cafe which offers a hojicha milkshake as well as a seasonal milkshake made from Mapo’s gelato. I’ve subsequently taken every available opportunity to get gelato from Mapo and have thoroughly enjoyed their selection.

My picks of the litter would be

  • Hojicha (roasted tea)
  • Fior di latte – a really creamy, milky flavour
  • Black sesame – basically any time I have black sesame it’s a blast to the past, evoking memories of that sweet black sesame slurry as well as black sesame filled tang yuang

Other flavours I’ve had are

  • Pistachio – Vegan, honestly pretty good for vegan ice cream, quite creamy
  • Kiwifruit (as milkshake at Kurumac) – Not bad

VERDICT

I would really recommend giving Mapo a try. They have somehow really mastered the art of turning Asian inspired flavours into ice cream, whilst maintaining a strong menu of more traditional flavours.

Mapo Newtown
123 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8937 4919