Tag Archives: Five Dock

The hunt for Sydney’s best cannoli – part I


When I did my write up on Sydney’s best cake, cannoli – a traditional Sicilian sweet – should have featured. But my favourite cannoli were from Sulfaro in Haberfield, which unfortunately closed down (Update 2015: I hear Sulfaro has now re-opened but it is different owners and not the original cannoli!). So I thought I’d compare those from a few other Italian pasticcerie around town. Cannoli are a fried pastry filled with either ricotta, a vanilla crème patissiere or a chocolate custard. Traditionally the ricotta ones (my favourite and usually the only ones I will eat, whereas the husband goes for vanilla and the kids the chocolate) will contain chopped nuts or candied peel, and there’s also often a touch of alcohol. For a mere couple of dollars, these are a great little treat. Most places will make mini and larger size ones, and most don’t fill the casings until you order them, to prevent the pastry from going soggy. They are best eaten as soon as you can after the casings are filled with your desired flavour.

On my little trip to the Inner West, where I go regularly to the Italian delicatessans, I tried those from Blue Star, Marineve, Dolcetti, and Tamborrino. Blue Star has been around for as long as I can remember. The wave of Italian migrants to Australia in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, among them my parents, would eventually change the face of dining in Australia. But back then, they struggled to find the food and products they were used to eating at home.

Blue Star was one of the early ones, bringing a piece of the familiar to a little corner in Five Dock; their “continental cake” was a standard order in our family growing up – it was there for every birthday, christening, communion, anniversary and any other special occasion. When we became teenagers we moved away from it, wanting to try things that were modern and more “trendy”. But recently we’ve gone back to the continental cake, and it fills us with a wave of childhood nostalgia. Marineve is very similar to Blue Star, the sweet Italian nonna behind the counter, and beautiful traditional sweets in the counters are just waiting to be eaten (I also recommend Blue Star’s conchiglie biscuits). They are old school, you won’t find a website, their customers are those they’ve had for 30 years, and their children and grandchildren.Tamborrino and Dolcetti are two of the ‘newer’ ones, though still with plenty of longevity – they serve a mixture of the traditional and the new.

So onto the taste test


The verdict? Well, frankly, they were all pretty damn good. I think they could be put into two groups in terms of style – Blue Star and Marineve in one, Dolcetti and Tamborrino in the other.

Blue Star and Marineve were more similar, and more traditional in style with a thicker ricotta filling, and chopped nuts, though Blue Star’s filling was a little sweeter. And Dolcetti and Tamborrino were similar, with the ricotta filling being thinner, probably combined with cream. Tamborrino had no nuts or peel for texture, but it did have slightly more alcohol giving it a lovely flavour. Tamborrino also had the thinnest pastry casing and Blue Star the thickest. The pastry of all of them had a good crunch, as you’d want and hope with good cannoli. So I think it depends on how you like your filling and if you like texture. Out of Blue Star and Marineve I prefer Marineve, and out of Tamborrino and Dolcetti I prefer Tamborrino. My husband and I also compared the vanilla fillings and our preference on that one was Blue Star (I also adore Blue Star’s conchiglie biscuits). But hey, you won’t go too far wrong with any of these places, and many of their other sweets.

See part II here

Blue Star Cakes, 267 Lyons Road, Russell Lea, Ph (02) 9713 9940
Marineve Pasticceria, 71 Ramsay Road, Five Dock, Ph (02) 9712 2293
Dolcetti Pasticceria, 294 Great North Road, Wareemba Ph (02) 9713 8880
Pasticceria Tamborrino, 75 Great North Road, Five Dock, Ph (02) 9712 1461

Blue Star Cakes on Urbanspoon

Marineve Pasticceria on Urbanspoon

Dolcetti Pasticceria on Urbanspoon

Gatto Matto Trattoria, Five Dock

Great name, Gatto Matto.  It’s Italian for “crazy cat”.  And when you meet the chef and owner, Paolo Gatto, you can see a little of the crazy – and I mean that in the nicest possible way (after all, he is Sicilian). Exuberant and welcoming, Paolo wants you to feel right at home in this light filled space nestled behind Five Dock library, and you know that you’ll be able to relax and enjoy.

Paolo and the team are one of the “next generation” of young Italian chefs opening trattorie around Sydney, with a slightly modern take on the great Italian classics. The menu is in Sicilian dialect, and I dare you to have a go at mimicking some of the guttural sounds.  Its got a nice selection of antipasti, pizze, paste and mains, so plenty to please a varied crowd if you’re going with a group. Incidentally, while I like it, how does the Venetian wall paper fit in?

We began with Nzalata di Puppu, octopus salad with fennel and oranges. A lovely and fresh combination of flavours.

Funci chini, stuffed mushrooms with smoked eggplant. A couple of these would be a nice little side with a steak.

Nannata, white bait fritters served in a bed of salad.  Mamma Rosa was like “why you ordering these, I made them last night, why you no come over?”.  And I must admit, hers are better, but it’s a different technique. Lovely salad dressing though.

Tubi, home made fresh pasta with Sicilian ragu`. A beautiful sauce,  “deep” as promised on the menu, with succulent chunks of pork sausage.  The pasta however was a little too on the al dente side for me.

Pappardelle a Marinara. Well executed, and as with the previous pasta dish, a generous portion.

Pisci Mistu arrustutu, grilled mixed seafood on a bed of rocket salad. Again, well cooked, and more of that flavoursome salad dressing.

We also had a sample of the pizza and the base was light and excellent.  So if you weren’t up for a full meal, it’s a pleasant environment to pop in for a quick pizza.  Overall, if I lived in Five Dock surrounds, I’d be a pretty happy local to have this in my corner.

Gatto Matto Trattoria, 2/4 Garfield Street Five Dock, ph (02) 9712 7770


Gatto Matto Trattoria on Urbanspoon