I am a freelance reviewer in Sydney, and lover of sharing my experiences in all things food, wine, entertainment and travel related.
Published October 15th 2012
Good old school Italian food
It is a well known fact that Italians are very serious about their food and why shouldn't they be? After all, it is the food that brings together friends and families and this is why we find Italian people tend to be very fond of spending long hours at the table and meal times occurring at a leisurely pace over the span of a couple of hours. They are also seriously good cooks, with a world renowned cuisine.
With this in mind, and after scouring for an Italian restaurant that is open for a long lunch with family on a Saturday, we stumbled across Caffe Moretti on Norton Street in Leichhardt's little Italy.
Notching up 15 years in business, Caffé Moretti is a long time favourite for lovers of old school Italian food and locals alike, and while Norton Street has its fare share of pizza and pasta eateries, Caffé Moretti is a standout for its warm and charming atmosphere, friendly staff, and of course, its authentic style food which is a must for anyone wanting to experience the true taste of Italy.
With a huge al a carte menu, Caffe Morreti offers its famous Roman style pizzas, as well as traditional pasta , meat and seafood dishes, in a restaurant style that family friendly and simple. While fully licensed, it offers BYO wine, making it an affordable option for diners.
With the huge woodfired brick pizza oven near the entry of the restaurant, and the delicious and distinctive aromas coming from the general direction, I decide that a woodfire pizza must be ordered, amongst the selection of dishes to sample, because that is one of the very reasons that Caffe Moretti is best known for.
We order a mix of appetisers to start, including the sautéed mushrooms, char-grilled Roman sausages and the antipasto platter to share amongst our group, because God-forbid there not be enough food on the table for all the share.
The antipasto misto platter was as expected with cured meats and cold cuts, marinated vegetables, olives cheeses and other Mediterranean delicacies. These are all tasty starters which are polished off quickly with the complimentary bread and butter at the table.
The Veal is generously portioned, and the lemon white wine sauce is a nice consistency, offering moorish flavor and not too much drip when I soak my bread in it. The Spinach side is tasty and garlicky.
The Mussels arrive in a big pot and are fresh and fragrant, taking me back to a time when I was on the Italian coast on holidays.
The real winner though, is the Pizza. The Oscar pizza is large in size and is topped with melted mascarpone cheese, with fresh strips of prosciutto crudo on top. It is creamy and salty, and when paired with the great pizza base. So simple but absolutely amazing.
Last but not least is dessert, which is the Devils Waffle, which is filled with ice cream, whipped cream, and strawberries and kiwi fruit. It's a devil on the hips, but a delight on the lips, and arrives as a masterpiece construction.
Another great benefit of this restaurant, is that is set-back off the street, and has limited car-parking out the front, which is brilliant, as most spots in Leichhardt are metered on two hour intervals, which is not convenient if you are having a long lunch.
Don't come here expecting luxury, but come expecting flavoursome, home-style cooked foods from central Italy just like Nonna used to make, at very reasonable prices with good service.
I am still thinking about the aroma of the pizzas, tender pastas and flavoursome meats and will be back again to have more of the woodfire pizza.
I love this place. I have to admit I loved the first thing I ever tried on the menu and have made this my usual. I don't go often, so I can never pass up the opportunity to order the caprice pizza (not sure if they call it that here though), and a pasta dish (the name escapes me - forgive me it's been a while :P). And the Coppa Moretti is devine!