Pastizzi. They make a mess sure, dropping crumbs everywhere, but they’re crunchy, tasty and obviously really good for you. Basically, they’re just Italian sausage rolls. With more flavours maybe.
Pastizzi Café, as its name implies, has made a speciality of them, and does a hectic take-out trade, selling a wide variety, including sweet ones as well as savoury. But the café is also a restaurant, a very busy one, as I found out when I arrived at 7pm on a Friday night. As I approached, I thought I was in luck. There were two empty tables out the front, but as I got closer it became apparent that the empty tables were occupied by nasty little Reserved signs. Inside the café, all the tables along the side of the narrow room were full. When I asked one of the busy looking waitresses if they had any tables, she said “Sure,” and disappeared so quickly towards the back of the restaurant that I nearly had to run after her. She went out a door at the back, and by the time I got there, I was just in time to catch a glimpse of her disappearing again at the other end of a very narrow passageway. It was so tight that my shoulder accidentally bumped the fence, which was immediately followed by a crash and some muttered swearing. It seems I had upset the neighbours, or at least something that had been balancing on the fence. When I finally caught up with the waitress she was standing beside an empty table in a makeshift dining area that had been created by putting a roof over the backyard. There were a couple of other occupied tables, and at least it was close to the toilets. When this Speedy Gonzales of waitressing had set me up with a menu, cutlery, and napkins, she put some music on and disappeared again. The music was a disco version of Sweet Child of Mine, which she must have like because she had it turned up really loud. When Strop arrived we could hardly hear each other until a second waitress, this one with tattooed legs, turned it down again.
The menu Pastizzi Café is fairly simple and very Italian as you would expect. Lots of fresh pasta options, some fish, chicken and beef. There were some specials too but we decided to stick with the basics. There is home made ravioli and, of course, pastizzi. Strop had the bright idea of topping and tailing the meal with pastizzi. So we ordered a couple of salmon, dill and ricotta pastizzi to start, figuring we’d have a couple of sweet ones for dessert. In between times, she ordered ravioli and a small salad, while I opted for chicken parmigiana. Having decided on the food Strop headed for the nearest bottlo for some wine and I looked at my phone. When she came back with a very welcome bottle of Pikes Clare Valley Riesling, she wrinkled her nose and muttered “I can smell dope.” Now this is a bit of a thing with Strop. She reckons she can smell people smoking dope nearly everywhere she goes, and especially in Newtown. There must be a lot of it about, either that or she has a very finely attuned set of nostrils because I can never smell it. These days I need to be actually handed a joint before I can smell it. When the waitress started pulling a strange face and mouthing something, which, after we gave her a series of bemused looks, turned out to be “Can you smell weed?” She had to whisper it because there were a couple of impressionable children at the next table. Strop was delighted to have her nostril’s accuracy confirmed, “Yes!” she exclaimed, “I think your neighbour is smoking dope.” It was at this point that it occurred to me that the thing I had knocked off the fence earlier, may have been their bong. It would account for the swearing.
Our salmon pastizzi were hot and crunch and tasty. They didn’t last long and were soon followed by the mains. Strop had opted for the entrée size spinach and ricotta ravioli, which was a smart move because the serves are generous. Her small salad was enormous, and my chicken was so big that there was only a bit of room at the edge of the plate for a splodge of mashed potato and a few vegetables. The ‘parmi’ was the best I have had in a long time. There was plenty of eggplant, the chicken was tender and moist, and the tomato sauce fresh, tasty, and abundant. Yum. The ravioli was good too, with a similarly tasty sauce.
Strop wasn’t able to finish the salad, so we decided to take it home, together with a couple of dessert type pastizzi – to have at home, or for breakfast in the morning. Either or.