Archive for the ‘Pizzeria’ Category

In all my years of living in Sydney, I have surprisingly explored little of the city and its surrounding suburbs.  And as restaurants and dining go, I’ve always opted for the usual suspects: the CBD, Chinatown etc., so I was particularly excited today to have lunch in Sydney’s ‘Little Italy’, the suburb of Leichhardt.

Walking down the main street, Norton St, the first thing I notice is the countless Italian restaurants with their tables lining the sidewalk (and also GPs and pharmacies…but that’s another story). It all kind of felt like a big Italian courtyard. Since there were so many restaurants to choose from, we decided on Cafe Gioia, which was right across the road from where my friend lived (lucky!)

The restaurant was originally an old petrol station and some of the structure remains, including the car park. Since it was a nice and sunny day we decided to sit outside. The only complaint was that the seats were right next to where the cars were parked, and whenever a car left we got a nice big swiff of petrol exhaust.

As expected, their menu had an extensive range of all thing Italian, from pizza to focaccia and a really really long pasta menu. The pizzas looked huge and ranged from $20 and onwards, while the focaccias were pretty cheap (around $8-9ish). I really felt like pasta so we settled on that.

Tortellini papalina – $17.80

Personally, for a cheap/poor uni student, the menu was kind of pricey, but it seemed to be the standard in Leichhardt and it was completely worth it.

The tortellini was stuffed with a meat filling. The papalina sauce was rich and flavoursome and tomato-y, and was accompanied with mushrooms and bacon. The friend ordered a seafood marinara sphagetti with a similar sauce but more…seafood-y? in flavour and less rich. It was served with mussels, prawns and a heap of octopus, so pretty good value for seafood!

Spaghetti Marinara – $17.80

Although the servings didn’t look large, they were deceptively filling and I was stuffed by the end of my pasta. However, I just couldn’t resist a good genuine, home-made Italian tiramisu.

Home-made tiramisu – $7.70

The tiramisu had nicely complemented layers of fluffy cream and chewy shortbread, and it wasn’t too rich which I liked. It was served with a chocolate and rum(?) sauce. You can get cream and ice-cream with it for an additional $1, but I was glad that I didn’t because against my stomach’s protestations, I finished the tiramisu and pretty much couldn’t move afterwards.

Overall, it was a satifsfying, hearty Italian meal and I can’t wait to go back to Leichhardt: one restaurant down, many more to go!

Gioia Cafe (visited 8/05/09)
126A Norton St
Leichhardt, NSW 2040
Ph: (02) 9564 6245
Website: http://www.gioiacafe.com


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When I was younger, I always loved reading books about food. Before I’d started primary school, one of my favourite books (from the Little Miss and Mr Men series) was Little Miss Plump (the one who ate twenty-three slices of toast, sixty-six sausages and twelve cups of tea for breakfast, and once ate a currant cake for breakfast, lunch & dinner). And whenever I heard the name ‘Little Miss Contrary’, I’d always think about roast beef & Yorkshire pudding 

Part of the reason my favourite HP book was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was because that was the first time Harry went to that candy shop in Hogsmeade …And whenever I was bored, I used to always reread that Goosebumps book about the invisible human kid who was always hungry (he ate string beans and pizza) – “My Best Friend Is Invisible”. …until my sister sold my entire Goosebumps collection for $20.

Clearly, I was a really cool kid.

But speaking of pizza, a new gourmet pizza bar opened in Castle Hill recently, and I’ve been dyiiiing to try it out ever since.


guilt-free pizza!!! There’s something a little strange about getting gourmet pizza in a takeaway box …but anywaaaay.
Apparently Crust’s pizzas were recognised in the 2009 Slimming & Health magazine for Healthy Eating Awards …LOL! They also have a selection of ‘Healthier Choice’ pizzas that apparently received the Heart Foundation TICK ! I will definitely try these next time :D


Gourmet Smoked Ham & Pineapple – $16 M
Smoked Ham, Pineapple, Roma Tomatoes & Brie, topped with fresh basil

My mum wanted to get this one, which just sounded like a fancier version of Hawaiian (which it actually is).  Hilly mountains of pineapple pieces, tomato slices and strips of tasty smoked ham, drowning in melted cheese that you chew your way through XD yummm
The basil tasted like ROCKET SALAD to me (i.e. grass), but having tomato on a Hawaiian pizza is surprisingly nice !


A close up of the oily goodness XD yumm . If you’re not a fan of pizza, you’ll probably feel grossed out by these photos, hahaha.
that cheese looks like you could swim in it


Shepherd’s Pie (15 inch) – $23
White cheese base, slow cooked braised lamb in red wine sauce, potato puree, garnished with a parmesan crust and parsley

This pizza was one of the WOW factors of eating at Crust’s, and definitely part of the reason why I want to go again (just so I can see what the other pizzas look like) !
Little meringue-shaped mounds of fluffy mashed potato puree and a thin crispy crust. The first thing I could taste was just CHEESE, but the lamb was ORGASMIC =9 ..and for those of you that aren’t alcoholics (I know I’m not), not to worry ! :D I couldn’t taste the red wine sauce at allllll.


And did I mention how CUTE it was that each slice of Shepherd’s Pie pizza had its own dollop of potato puree?


Potato igloos patiently waiting to be relocated to eager stomachs XD


We also ordered salad, which came in this convenient bright green box! Although the label kind of made me think that it was pre-made ages ago, lo and behold XD


Roma Tomato, Bocconcini & Basil – $7.50

Mmmm…garden fresh ! Crispy greens, juicy tomato slices and what I think was probably strips of basil! Crust also gives you a sachet of balsamic vinaigrette (olive oil, balsamic vinegar and whatnot) to add at your own discretion
The white blobs were pieces of bocconcini – spongy blobs of cheese that look like mushrooms and are made from water buffalo and cow’s milk!

What’s great about this place is FREE local delivery (though I wonder what happens if you order and you don’t live within their vicinity ..but I guess since it’s a franchise you can call elsewhere)

The aptly named Crust also makes really nice, crunchy crusts for their pizzas XD Not that it really matters, considering most people don’t eat their crusts anyway.
Next time I want to try the calzone (folded pizzas! can you imagine a pizza sandwich?)
If you look at the online menu, it just makes you want to droool …and I could probably spend hours reading it over and over again (like I did with my favourite books in primary school -_-)

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar – Castle Hill (v. 02/05/09)
Shop 2 / 297 Old Northern Road (corner of Crane Road)
Castle Hill NSW 2154
Ph: (02) 9649 3300
Fax: (02) 9659 0007

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