For the past few weeks my horticulturalist girlfriend Ruby Molteno has been talking about the impending bonus she was due to receive from her employer. She couldn't wait to spend it on new frocks, home-wares and a video camera.
Well, the money arrived in her bank account yesterday and wasn't quite as much as she had budgeted for her shopping spree, but to celebrate she offered to shout me dinner.
Ruby also lives in the neighbourhood, down at ''Darlinghurst Flats'', which for me is the area that sprawls down from Darlinghurst Road (the Ridge area) to the Sydney CBD. I tried to book a table at a newish (six-months-old) tapas place in the flats, called Lot 40, but I only made it through to their message service, so instead we met at the Darlo Bar (on the ridge) and from there we went looking for an outdoor table.
It was a perfect Spring evening in Sydney: balmy, the smell of salt in the air and no annoying wind, so we stopped and sat at the first available al fresco table, which happened to be at Mad Pizza e Bar, at 312 Victoria Street.
We ordered a crispy and fresh, rocket, pear, walnut and Parmesan salad to share, and because I only had my iPhone camera, the picture is a little blurry:
When Mad Pizza first opened they sold square pizza by the slice, but now it is circular and much larger. Their pizza is the truly Italian pizza, with a thin base and minimal toppings, rather than the thick-crusted, greasy, cheesy American pizza (New York pizza is closer to the Italian-style so doesn't fall under my US generalisation in this instance).
I didn't feel like pizza and I had read an article last week about the fettucine and meatballs at Fratelli Fresh's Sopra restaurant. Apparently the dish is so good, grown men cry if the kitchen has run out. As a result I had pasta and meatballs on the brain, so that's what I ordered:
The serving was so generous, I took half of it home in a plastic container to have for lunch today. Ruby ordered penne with chicken and there was nothing left to take-away.
Both dishes tasted authentically Italian and were full of punchy flavour, but they were luke-warm, as if they had been put on the kitchen servery and forgotten about. Ruby had a glass of white wine, while I had a Peroni beer and the bill came to about $70 - but what did I care? I wasn't paying.
Mad Pizza e Bar
312 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9020 7186