Arthur’s Pizza – Maroubra

Arthur’s pizza is one of those staple Italian joints – your local where you can call up for that Friday night pizza when you can’t be bothered cooking (or on any night really) and you can always guarantee it’s tasty. They’ve been in the business for over 30 years.

Beginning in the 1970’z, they offered alternatives to the regular cheese and tomato options, they soon became popular with their creative flavour combinations. They’ve have continued to grow, and now have stores in a number of locations: Randwick, Paddington and now also Bexley, Maroubra, Glebe and Rosebery.

Arthur’s stores have a family atmosphere and super casual which makes it a comfortable place to socialise. That, in combination with reasonable prices makes for a good eat in or takeaway option.

We visited in a group so were able to sample a variety of things from the menu including entrees, pizza, pasta and salads.

Entree wise, we ate the saucy meatballs and garlic prawns – these were cooked and served in thick tomato type sauce so a lot of the flavour was retained.

Pizzas come in different sizes; small, medium, large and family. There’s plenty of flavour combinations, but you can pay a little extra if you want any additions. There’s also Gluten free options.

We had the following pizzas – all really good choices!

Campollo: Chicken Fillet, Semi-Dried Tomato, Red Onion, Camembert, Basil

Sassri: Lamb Fillets, Fetta Cheese, Red Onions, Sweet Potato, Mint

Nitro: Pepperoni, Onions, Capsicum, Bacon, Chilli

In addition, we enjoyed the creamy Bosciola pasta with bacon and mushroom and well as the super flavour some mushroom risotto.

With so many delicious carbs, we needed some salads to balance out or lunch and we tried the Greek salad and also a lovely rocket and Parmesan one too.

By the end of this we were super food but did a great job finishing it off. Unfortunately we were too full for dessert, but if you’re not, Nutella pizza or tiramisu would be my pick!

Arthur’s Pizza

35 McKeon St
Maroubra 2035

Phone: (02) 9315 5220

Thank you to weekendfoodesscapes and ompty for the invitation to dine.

Bellbird – great food and even better value @ Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is located in a repurposed power station in the heart of Liverpool and is a cultural facility to showcase a range of exhibitions, theatre, music, performance and events. Although the place is not easy to find, we definitely recommend the trek there. There’s also a train station right on site so it’s easy for anyone to get to. This is our third visit specifically to visit the restaurant and we loved it just as much as our previous visits. 

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The Casula Powerhouse Arts restaurant is called “Bellbird dining and bar”, open 7 days a week from 10am – 3pm.

It is in a small kiosk area that looks like a small cafe, yet they’re pumping out fine dining inspired food from the kitchen, offering seasonal dining, using farm fresh ingredients, the restaurant is promoting sustainability, seasoning their foods with an array of the plentiful herbs and vegetables from their own garden.

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Our visit this time was to celebrate my mother’s birthday and the whole family joined for a big lunch. We called and booked prior to visiting, since we had a big group. There was another large group there and the restaurant dealt well with so many guests. 

Since our last visit, they’ve added an outdoor area with roof and covering so you get a nice bit of sun, whilst still being protected from the elements. Although the dining space is comfortable, we understand they’re also renovating it with new chairs and more. 

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The menu here is excellent, not only are the prices amazing, but this combined with beautiful plating and an amazing display of technique makes for a truly special dining experience.

On this visit we pretty much tried everything that was on offer: 

The Chorizo, chickpea and Chimichuri dish was light and full of flavour. 

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Cured salmon pastrami, poached chicken with eggplant, pork belly and cabbage.

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We loved the risotto and also the amazing fluffy gnocchi. 

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The okononiyaki fries as well as the lightly fried cauliflower were also a winner on the day and we also ordered a salad to cut through the heavy carbs. 

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One of our party is vegetarian and the menu was great for her, she could have the risotto, gnocchi and she also enjoyed a portobello mushroom and haloumi burger with fries.

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We were at a birthday, so had to get desserts. We opted for a brownie, ice cream with poached pears, creme brûlée and a cheese platter. We were surprised with an amazing quince dish that all members of the party enjoyed. 

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With meals approximately $16-18 and $10-$12 desserts, even a $5 creme brûlée, it’s totally worth a visit. You won’t find good this good, this cheap, anywhere. 

We love this restaurant, for its amazing food, lovely staff and great value.

Bellbird

1 Powerhouse Road, Casula NSW 2170

Bellbird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Where to rediscover rustic Italian in Summer Hill! @Andiamo

The beloved restaurant name Andiamo has grown alot in the past 5 years, replicating the magic of rustic feasting from its flagship base in Summer Hill. Flawlessly, its charm and character have since also seduced the palettes of Kensington Street, Chippendale, Rhodes and more recently Abbotsford.

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Summer Hill is in a unique position to its sister venues, particularly when the original venue is what set the bar high in the first place. The service team of Kevin and Liam who have become innerwest celebrities for locals, to the swift choreography in and around the wood fired pizza oven, mass producing pizzas for visting diners as well as delivery.

This evening’s menu marked the antecedent of a series of events planned at Andiamo Summer Hill. Each event will be transporting you on a taste journey to specific regions of Italy. ‘Tavola di Luca” (Chef’s Table) is the new concept headed by Chef Gianluca Melis. Luca uses ingredients that are “fresh from the market today and on your plate tonight”, says owner, Joe Rechichi. Flavour influences come from Sardinia, where Luca grew up in the South of Italy.

It was the perfect debut to long time Summer Hill diners as the 6 course degustation of Sardinian dishes had personal ties with Chef Luca’s grandparents and mother. His calm demeanor and meticulous detail in the kitchen was showcased with the announcement he would also be heading up the da Vinci’s which has recently been aquired into the restaurant group. “It’s going to be something different altogether when it comes to the Italian that Luca will be heading up. It’s going to be similar to the food to that served here” says Rechichi.
It was like a stunning showcase of culinary couture as Chef Luca took the Andiamo kitchen into unchartered territory. All courses were accompanied with wine from Sardinia, immersing diners completely into this style of cuisine which has deep roots in agropastorality.

Thin wafers are a staple in the Sardine antipasti, so the lead-in basket of Carasau Bread with fresh tomato of crisp textures and natural tomato flavors sets the tone together with the cured Pork fillet with Rocket & Apple. This was a beautiful pairingwith the caramelized sweetness in the Antichi Poderi Jerzu – Vermentino di Sardegna wine accompanying this. Perfectly rounded off with sips from the Maccori grapes treated with the strong mistral winds blowing in from the north-west Mediterranean.

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The primi (appetiser) of hand made pork sausage and fennel seeds requires no sauce. It’s natural juices bathe in its spiral construction allowing the meat and herb to intertwine beautifully. This represents the epitome of Sardinian style cooking. No sauce required – keep things real!

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The island of Sardinian cuisine wouldn’t be complete without seafood. Baby clams are served with hand rolled Fregola Risotatta – the perfect example of Mediterranean and Italian fusion in which this island has strong influences. There are many many versions of this dish throughout Sardinia. Native only to Sardinia, it’s somewhere in between risotto and pasta taking the form of 2mm beads. Nice earthy brothe paired with the floral fruitiness of the vermin to grape wine.

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The heart of our meal came with the Secondi (Main) pork roast. A world famous signature of the islands, it is served in the chicory plant, absorbing that subtle woody flavour into its meat, rounded off with sips of the warmth from the Bantu annonau wine.

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Dessert blends orange zest, ricotta and corbezzolo honey into a centre of crisp pastry and accompanied with In Fudu moscato. This is an excellent finale to a region not focused on as much in the mainstream.

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Chef Luca will have his hands full as he continues with his chef table series with upcoming events taking us through the style of cooking in Calabria and Sicily! It is a perfect prelude as he crafts the new style of cooking that will form the revitalized menu of da Vinci’s next door. As the master of two kitchens, it will be interesting to see the full creativity unleashed with these event nights at Andiamo while still maintaining it’s own style and feel at da Vinci’s. Very exciting times in the inner west indeed!

Joseph Lloyd, Contributor

Andiamo Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vapiano’s Winter Yumderland!

If you’re familiar with this international brand you’ll know that it’s not about the bells and whistles of their dishes.  Value driven, geared to the no fuss, corporate worker, international traveller and family diner expecting the satisfaction that ‘Nonna’s classics’ cemented into many of the native’s childhood memories making it impossible to surpass.  However, as an avid city diner, and regular visitors here, we have seen the transformation of its seasonal menus over the years. We have frequented their daily lunch specials and happy hours, it’s quite common to spot many service staff we’ve met from other venues we’ve dined at.   That speaks volumes.

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There’s a certain reverence the old Italian culture has with its food and it centres around family and celebrations around many of the Catholic holidays.  Vapiano does well to capture those basics without the extravagance, re-invention or tweaking so many rely on to keep the short attention spans of diners who have so much choice.

It’s value driven, it’s prepared fresh and it’s done in front of you.  The main dining area gives a panoramic view of the kitchen and a bird’s eye view from the second level balcony that’s ornamented with fresh basil pot plants.  Set in the Grace hotel, it’s high ceilings and luxury setting provide an experience somewhere above casual dining without the pretentiousness of over-the-top fine dining.

“Before the meal” or Antipasti is a traditional opener we have of – toasted ciabatta, prosciutto, spicy salami, Parmesan, buffalo mozzarella, mixed olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto basilica and bruschetta.  Proscuitto is a definitive staple that will never not the set the tone of a meal, once described to me as a cured meat prepared with “salt and time”, there’s a captivating feeling about this thinly sliced translucent protein that’s synonymous with Italian culture.   Neutralising that saltiness was the Insalata mists piccolo of  fresh mixed leaf salad with cherry tomatoes and carrots.

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It’s supposedly, one of the most searched soups in Australia, so naturally, The Pumpkin Soup served with freshly made bread brings the warmth to the menu needed this Winter.  One of the new highlights of the Vapiano season, the texture is rich and creamy evenly balanced.

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What raises the casual dining status of this establishment is the fully equipped bar providing a pit stop for grown ups whipping up the classics and a few signatures of their own.  A school night, the intermission between courses called for a Virgin colada, Mockito and a ginger hibiscus sparkling situation.

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The Gamberi risotto with prawns, onions, capsicum, spring onions, sun dried tomatoes.  In both dishes, tomato sauce binds the dishes together.  It may sound run-of-the-mill, but in actual fact there are so many different ways to spruce it up.   The cream in the con carne sauce softens the flavour while enriching the body of the liquid.  While in the risotto, the white wine adds a subtle fruit flavour to the risotto that stimulates the bland starchiness of the rice.

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Pollo e spinaci – tagliatelle with tender chicken breast, onions, pine nuts, cream with basil pesto and Parmesan tossed with fresh spinach. The nutty flavours in the pesto and the parmesan compliment each other nicely with hues of saltiness and mint accenting through.

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The  folded homemade pizza dough (calzone) with spicy pepperoni, Aussie smoke ham, mushrooms on homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella will be another Winter favorite striking the nostalgic cords of all with its resemblance to the classic pizza pockets.  Breaking through that flakey crust into the hot filling, a burst aroma rushes at you.

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Homemade pana cotta with fresh vanilla and strawberry sauce is a regular favorite, however the other highlight of the Winter Yumderland menu is the new fondue dessert. For a limited time only marshmallows, strawberries and chocolate brownie bites are accompanied with a palette seducing Nutella dipping sauce.  It’s a simple arrangement that strikes a chord with all.

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The grandeur of the Grace Hotel adds to the flavour of Vapiano’s ambience which generally would be unassuming but flavoursome.   The large spaces, high stools, bar options, cater easily to al group celebrations.   For visitors at the hotel, lifts the experience if looking for an easily accessibe alternative to room service maintaining it’s casual vibe within a very luxurious modern space.

Vapiano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Where to get a fine dining breakfast – the new Edition Roasters

Edition coffee roasters in Darlinghurst is a favourite for many Sydneysiders, this place epitomises Sydney cafe culture.
It is classy, cool and has foreign influences with their Japanese inspired menu. They now have a second location in Pyrmont, a sophisticated space it could be confused with a fine dining restaurant. With the plating prowess and technique on display, it pretty much is, although without the price tag. Although the breakfast options are etching toward and above the $20 mark, it is very well worth it.

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This new space in Pyrmont was somewhat of a surprise, located in between the old Entertainment Centre and Harris Street and out of nowhere this new dining precinct.
The Edition Coffee Roasters crew are known for producing good coffee and a chic Japanese inspired menu.

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As expected, the coffee is on point and to accompany this, some Banana bread. However this banana bread has a luxury add on, the yuzu curd. Banana bread has been done to death and is probably a staple at most Sydney cafes and in general we wouldn’t order unless we were in a hurry. But, a few Instagram pics and the word yuzu curd piqued our interest, never mind the fact it was served on banana bread, it could have been served on recycled paper for all we cared. We love Yuzu and in this instance it has made a great partnership with banana bread the sweetness of the banana bread combining with that sharp yet silky decadence of the yuzu curd. This is a must order.

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The menu will invite thought with a number of flavour combinations you may not consider, including the poached prawns with apple and broken grain crackers which provide an additional texture to the dish. Played in a sophisticated horse shoe/prawn shape arch, that could give the impression of a fine dine establishment. This is countered with a casual vibe and relaxed service, which we like and also helps Edition avoid that pretentious tag, that would usually accompany such an establishment.

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They also do a good barley risotto. We consider ordering risotto very tentatively, having been let down on many occasion in the past. Along with the judges on masterchef, we often cringe at places when this dish is delivered. But we were interested to see what this was like. The Edition Coffee rosters barley risotto with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon thyme thankfully delivered. A comforting dish on an extremly cold Sydney morning. Perfectly prepared and full of flavour.

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For another tasty vegetarian option, the asparagus with puffed wild rice is good option we chose to share this as a side.

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Rising from the fall of the entertainment centre this new dining precinct and Edition Coffee roasters will provide more excitement than a Sydney Kings game, which at one stage was played out in close proximity. This venue delivering a sophisticated daytime dining experience and one of the better cafes you will find in Sydney.

Edition Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato