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La Disfida – a taste of little Italy in Sydney

The Speedread…

  • Pizza’s $22; Pasta $19
  • Reservations taken only for 5-10 people (strictly)
  • Home-style Italian cuisine; the best pizza in Sydney

The Need-to-knows…

  • Must try: Barletta pizza: tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto crudo, basil, pepper, olive oil
  • Address: 109 Ramsey St, Haberfield

Italy… a country where, on my most recent visit, I ate endless amounts of paper thin pizzas and super fresh pastas with no fears of calories..and I did that only because the taste was just so good….

Only there was one thing I couldn’t quite get over…the lack of meat present. I’m a self-confessed meatosaurus, and I recall one incident in Sorrento when I ordered a lasagne imagining some lovely juicy pieces of beef mince dotted inside fresh silky sheets of pasta. When it arrived on our tables it was an all vege-only option. I asked the waiter if there was any chance that I could get some meat in it, and he promptly replied that was not an option. Insert sad face.

So fast forward, and I now find myself sat down inside a cosy little Italian restaurant in the heart of Haberfield. It’s 6.00pm and already the place is flushed full of people – we were lucky to have even scored a table on a Saturday night.

It’s always hard to choose what to eat at a restaurant just looking at the menu because you don’t want a case of table envy…you know what I’m talkin’ about…when you think the food on the table next door looks better than yours. …and on this occasion, we chose:

Cuttlefish salad with fennel and agrumi dressing

Perfectly cooked strips of cuttlefish (blanched, not grilled) so it literally melted in the mouth. The addition of the Agrumi dressing was truly unique and captured some very summary flavours – a light dressing consisting of orange juice, lemon and lime  with a dash of extra virgin olive oil. The fennel added a lovely crisp texture to the dish.

Zucchini, tomato, mozzarella and salami $22

Again, lovely and light. You know that you have the freshest ingredients on a whip-thin pizza base and cheese that doesn’t leave your stomach crying for help. It was fantastic. Impossibly thin cuts of zucchini teamed up with the freshest, ever so slightly spicy cut of salami. Yum.

Barletta pizza: tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto crudo, basil, pepper, olive oil $22

Our second pizza – by this time we were all in love with how the flavours worked so well together in a lovely, light way. A tomato base that wasn’t overpowering with thin, juicy strips of prosciutto adorning the pizza. Bellissimo!

Grilled field mushrooms with sauteed rocket fontina fondue

Must admit, we weren’t expecting the dish to look the way it did when it arrived on our tables but, after eating the fantastic pizza’s we knew the flavours would be right and we weren’t disappointed! Lovely rich cheese actually did well with the sauteed rocket. Usually I find rocket a tad on the bitter side but not in this case. The lovely field mushrooms kept their shape well and acted as a “bowl” for the cheese and rocket mixture. Perhaps this isn’t a dish that I’d eat too often for its richness alone, but we did definately enjoy it all the same!

Tartufa: Mozzarrella, prosciutto, wild mushrooms, truffle $26

LOVE, LOVE truffle – the fresh earthy aroma from the truffle served this pizza well. Now, I’ve had truffle before in soups or stuffed inside tender chicken breasts but on a pizza? This was a first, and definately not a last.

Arancini misti (trio): Gorgonzola and truffle, eggplant and ricotta, ham and mozzarella $17

Wasn’t hard to pick our favourite, one clearly stood out from the crowd: Gorgonzola and truffle. Yes, truffle. Again. Can’t get enough of it and together with fine picks of rice, it was a rich, silky and gorgeous dish. Bliss! We definately preferred this over the other two which weighed a little on the ‘heavy’ side of flavour.

Burrata with funghi $18

What is Burrata, I hear? Silky smooth cheese that comes out looking like an inflated egg. Poke it and what you will get is a luscious cascade of cream cheese that spills out from the centre. Teamed up with delicious rocket and marinated mushrooms, it works very well indeed.

Baby beets, buffalo, watercress $18

My partner actually hates eating beetroots, but I’m pretty sure that even he can be convinced with this deliciously light salad. The buffalo melts in your mouth and the rocket has a nice, ever so slightly sweet thick black vinegar to it that clings on for dear life.

Scallops Gratinate $18

Never bought into the idea of having scallops with a crumbly crunchy topping but this worked nicely – the delicate morsels of breadcrumb had been marinated in pepper and garlic and sprinkled liberally over the tender morsels of scallop meat. We were intially afraid the crumbly surface would be dry but this one was perfect, again thanks to the black sweet vinegar spread over the scallops.

Pizza Bianca (white base); sausage and eggplant $26

I love eggplant and this was simply delicious. The eggplant was not soggy but crisp to the bite, and teamed up quite well with the juicy bits of sausages scattered liberally over the surface. Once again, we couldn’t fault the impossibly thin pizza base either. While this pizza was yummy, I still prefer the prosciutto and mozzarella pizza for the flavour it delivers in such a simple package.

Best pizza’s in Sydney? I certainly think so, but then again it is a matter of personal preference. I can recommend any pizza on their regular menu but it’s always well worth your while to browse the specials written on the black boards before ordering because they do try to offer different foods every week and it really is a great dining experience. On my most recent visit I spotted Cate Blanchett dining at the restaurant with her family – this is definately a family friendly restaurant and if you’re lucky, who knows what star you may also bump into :) Happy dining!

La Disfida

109 Ramsey St, Haberfield

(02) 9798 8299


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