My Mother’s Cousin – Bexley NSW Restaurant Review

As a disciple of New York City food videos and pizza in general, My Mother’s Cousin has been high on my list of restaurants to visit for a little while now. Moving to the vaguely inner, vaguely South, vaguely West of Sydney has finally given me opportunity to go. As someone who’s never been to New York and whose only New York style pizza has been a single slice of Marinara from Frankie’s back in 2017 I really had no idea what to expect, and probably thanks to my partner’s choice in pizza I still don’t know what to expect, even having been.

I am grateful for my partner arriving at the restaurant before me, and ordering pizza so that I could inhale it and make a mad dash to the other side of the city for my night shift. Her choice of pizza was the Snag-a-Relli ($27), a 13-inch pizza with fior di latte, “pomodoro” which I think is just Italian marketing speak for tomato, Italian sausage, Smoked housemade “MMC” sausage, parmigiano reggiano, and pickled Jalapenos. It’s not what I would’ve chosen, but I sent her with no instructions, and again I am grateful.

This pizza, if not the Platonic ideal of the New York City Slice™, was still a pretty good pizza. The pizza was highly moist with a structure that didn’t quite stand up to it, resulting in some drips and some sagging of the very thin base of the slice on holding. This sagging was aided by the superior, top-heavy topping to base ratio, with plenty of toppings on board for maximal (but not supra-maximal) flavour. It reminded me of the meaty pizza with Jalapenos that my mum would order from Domino’s or Pizza Hut Wentworthville back in the early 2000s – though I think in the context of their last fifteen years of health kick (metabolically they’re doing great for their age) I don’t think either of my parents have had pizza in a very long time. Despite these comparisons, MMC’s Snag-a-Relli was a decidedly elevated adventuer over the old $5-with-coupon deep dish pizza (more bread for the same money!) from back in the day.

Having said all of this nonsense, my overall feedback is that the Snag-a-Relli is a good pizza, and well topped to boot. I particularly liked the texture of the sausage topping (it remains unclear at this point which pieces of sausage were Italian and which were Martian), which I felt was quite moist, as well as its taste, which I found to be not too salty (frequent readers of this blog will understand that this is quite a compliment from me). I don’t know that I would even change anything – it’s just not what I wanted in my mind, but did not convey with my words to my partner.

The hot honey with parmigiano reggiano wet wings ($12 for 6) was our other pick. They were my consolation prize for not being able to have the hot honey and pepperoni pizza, but sadly not as good as I expected. I felt that the honey was sweeter than I would’ve liked, and I was also surprised that “hot” meant warm rather than spicy. My partner enjoyed these wings, and I must admit that perhaps part of why I wasn’t so enamoured by them was the rift between expectation and reality.

Pretty good. I also like that they have separate handwashing facilities inside, because they know you’re going to make a mess. Can recommend.

My Mother’s Cousin
9 Shaw St, Bexley North NSW 2207
0410 913 335


Fratelli Pulcinella – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review

Fratelli Pulcinella really makes you question the difference between a ‘sit-in restaurant’ and a ‘takeaway only pizza shack but feel free to sit in our extensive backyard with undercover seating and tables, but don’t call us a sit-in restaurant’. Our visit came after a strong recommendation from our friend and local baked goods oracle CRN (née CRE), who had hired them to cater for their wedding.

Their operating model, at least on our afternoon visit between two stroke calls at the local quaternary referral centre, seemed to be extremely hands off, with the backyard pizza kitchen completely unpopulated when we arrived, staff being summoned from within the presumably air-conditioned confines of the house by an online order placed by phone. It honestly seems like a highly efficient and comfortable way to work.

We will start with a description of the Vesuvio ($30), a double layer pizza of tomato, ham, mushrooms, italian sausage, mozzarella & parmesan cheese. The flavours were good, with a saltiness erring to the saltier side of things. The base pizza structure was good with good foldability as well as long-lived crispness of base, though I’m not sure that I’m fully sold on the double-layeredness of it all. I don’t know that it really added anything above and beyond what could be achieved by a conventionally structured pizza, nor did an extremely cursory web search of the history of double layered pizzas in the Neapolitan school really turn up any useful results.

The Funghi ($20) with truffle mushroom pesto, mushrooms, mozzarella, rocket, garlic & chilli oil was a rare vegetarian pick for us, but not one that we regret. The dominant earthy flavour of mushrooms was matched well with the freshness of the huge amount of rocket layered on top, though neither my partner nor I were able to pick out any hint of chilli flavour (although on review of the photos whilst writing this post I do see some red spots). I again enjoyed the extreme thinness of crust, which held a great crispiness, even if it did sag under the generous weight of the cheese on top.

OVERALL I agree with the general opinion that Fratelli Pulcinella offers the best pizza in Parramatta at this time – though to be honest it’s not a high bar given its main competitors have been Bondi Pizza and the recently-deceased CicciaBella, a restaurant for which I had not published a review until now because I didn’t want my site with three monthly readers to be blamed for their inevitable downfall.

Fratelli Pulcinella
44 O’Connell St, Parramatta NSW 2150
0420 667 296


Pizza by Pietro – South Nowra NSW Restaurant Review

These guys are completely slept on. They operate a RV-cum-pizza-restaurant out of a small yard in sleepy South Nowra, and make authentic, Neapolitan pizza to a standard not achieved within 75km radius. A couple of nurses at work recommended to me the BBQ chicken pizza at other nearby “Woodfire” restaurants, and while I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t gone and don’t have any plans to go, just a chart review of the menu and online images from these places tell me that they could not possibly be as good, at least for what I’m looking for.

The Wild Mushroom Truffle pizza ($23) was an oily and umami delight. The dough was perfectly light and airy with a nice chew to it. The fior di latte, parmesan and olive oil base was quite greasy, though as discussed in the 2004 hit romantic comedy Along Came Polly, the grease was perhaps the best part. The toppings were basic but effective, with a good texture and juiciness to the porcini mushrooms and a tenderness to the asparagus. Overall a good pizza, my partner’s favourite of the two we had, though I personally preferred a more meat-forward alternative.

Enter the Sausage and Italian Spinach ($21), with a beautiful san marzano tomato base and flavourful and meaty Italian pork and black pepper sausage. Each bite was full of flavour, and my partner and I did though about stopping but did not stop at a reasonable limit. We ate way too much pizza in our car on the side of the road.

Comments: Strong recommend, a slice above “normal for Nowra”

Pizza by Pietro
45 Hillcrest Ave, South Nowra NSW 2541
0467 939 838

Asian Fusion Italian Japanese

ANTE – Newtown NSW Restaurant Review

This lunch at Ante was in temporal proximity to Valentine’s Day but hunger was the only emotion in my mind when I suggested we go. It is a shame because the mere realisation of the date at the time could’ve turned this into a Valentine’s Day celebration rather than another year in which we did nothing for Valentine’s Day.

This travella katsu sandwich with katsu mayo ($17) was pretty good. The katsu fish, apparently minced in the same way as tsukune (the chicken meatball yakitori) had a good crunch but a very light and subtle flavour, and so most of the experience was formed by the sweet and savoury flavour of the light curry mayonnaise. I appreciated the use of a very thin, light, an soft serving of bread, which allowed all the other textures and flavours to be appreciated more clearly.

My partner and I have found ourselves struggling to resist a bit of raw seasoned beef, and Ante’s beef tartare with smoky almond and green olive ($28) was no exception. Similar to situations in which the call is coming from inside the house, the cracker of this tartare dish was coming from inside the meat, with small grains of puffed rice providing the familiar crackery texture in the mouth, whilst not at all aiding one in actually eating it as a cracker normally would. A previous menu found online had specified that their tartare was made of retired dairy cows, which I think is sadder than it is nice. The poor cow’s worked hard all her life making milk and babies, and instead of getting to live out the rest of her postmenopausal days in a nice lush green pasture somewhere, she gets diced up into tiny cubes and eaten raw. I only want to eat palliated end-of-life cow tartare from now on.

The chawanmushi with brown butter crab and herbs ($27) was described to us as large format chawanmushi, though while it turned out to be very large in terms of surface area and circumference, the plate was also much shallower than your standard. The dish was quite oily, owing to the massive amount of brown butter sauce, silky and smooth in texture, and quite sweet, giving it an almost dessert-like quality. Our waiter did say that they used the sweetest possible crab, and we were impressed not only by the sweetness but also the extreme tenderness of the crab. It was pretty good.

Last but not least was the casarecce with prawns, kanzuri, and clementine ($36). I think the one sentence description of this pasta dish would be a ‘very good, wet garlic bread’. Certainly garlic bread was the first taste that came to me, followed by a sweetness, punctuated in some mouthfuls by a hint of fresh citrus and a base of mild spiciness. Texturally the pasta was quite al dente, with harder, chewier prawns that contrasted with that of the pasta, but not to their detriment. This was a real plate licker of a dish. It was an act of cruelty to only give us one spoon.

Overall: Pretty good! Japanese-Italian fusion.

146 King St, Newtown NSW 2042


Scopri – Carlton VIC Restaurant Review

Full disclosure, I’ve had these photos sitting on my computer for the past six months because I’ve been a bit burnt out from Pegfeeding about my Melbourne trip, especially as out-of-Sydney experiences aren’t really why anyone reads this blog anyway. Keen noticers will have noticed that Melbourne reviews have been going up outside of the regular schedule, as they do not form the core content of this blog. I think ultimately the delay is OK though because this is going to be a positive review.

The prelude to our meal at Scopri was us calling an unnamed popular CBD Italian restaurant, confirming that they were still open in the early afternoon, then arriving there about 15 minutes later only for them to gaslight us and tell us they were closed until their dinner service. It is only thanks to them that we were able to have quite a nice meal in a suburban neighbourhood restaurant a little bit out of the way.

The house made bread was pretty good, and complimentary, which made it even better. It was rusty on the outside and gooey and glutinous on the outside, served with some olive oil for dipping.

This Quail Risotto was excellent. It was a daily special so I don’t know how much it was, but whatever it was it was worth it. The sauce was incredibly rich, with a combination of the earthy umami of the mushrooms and the funk of the gorgonzola. The mushrooms were plentiful, and their texture interspersed within the al dente grains made for a good mouth-experience. It’s rare that the protein isn’t a highlight of the dish, and whilst the quail was juicy and also good, ultimately it was the risotto itself that did it for me.

This Agnolotti del Plin ($35) with roasted rabbit, pork, and veal finished in butter and sage was also delicious. The combination of different animals was not weird at all, and only resulted in a very meaty and satisfying filling to each angolotto. The sagey, buttery sauce was divine, and excellent to be mopped up with the aforementioned house baked bread.

The Pappardelle Ragu D’anatra ($35) was a more standard approach to a duck ragu pappardelle, which was tasty and good but not a highlight in view of the high level of excellence achieved by the risotto and agnolotti. But won’t disappoint if ragu is what your craving. This photo is of half a serving of the full size.

This is a good and gigantic tiramisu ($10) that is off menu and asked for specifically.

OVERALL The dining experience was pleasurable. As introverts we appreciated not being interacted with, just as we are sure that the other diners probably enjoyed being looked after more closely by the host. We also liked that each of the mains were split into two servings for ease of sharing, even though we had absolutely just planned to pass our plates around like uncultured animals. A nod from me.

191 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9347 8252