Tag Archives: Paolo Gatto

PaRi Pasticceria, Concord

PaRi Pasticceria, named after owners Paolo and Rita, opened just after the new year. For some time now, they have wanted to share with Sydney some of the sweets they grew up with in their home town in Sicily in Italy’s south. A pretty little spot with parquetry floors and marble tables on the Concord strip, the shelves at PaRi are laden with glistening deliciousness and service comes with a smile and authentic Italian accents.

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They particularly wanted to serve traditional Sicilian granita with brioche, something you’ll find many enjoying in the piazza in Taormina in Italy during the hot Summer for breakfast. I tried the refreshing espresso granita (it usually comes with cream on top if you choose) and it’s generous enough to share. There are a few flavours to choose from, among them strawberry, almond and pistachio. The texture of granita varies from place to place in Italy, with PaRi’s version being a smoother sorbet style.

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The Marito and I both loved the brioche with the ricotta and pear compote

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The baba was lovely, one of the better ones I’ve tried in Sydney, as was the ricotta cake.

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The (Not So) Small People rated their Nutella ciambella.

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You’ll also find plenty of other traditional Sicilian sweets such as cannoli and Minne di Sant’Agata (Saint Agatha’s breasts), a sweet with ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit. In the next few weeks you’ll find a traditional Pignolata Messinese, something hard to come by down under.

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If you’re not into sweet stuff, there are arancini with ragu and vegetarian arancini (I really liked the spinach filling, next time I will try pistachio which I’ve never had before) as well as focaccia. There’s a breakfast and brunch menu and a small selection for lunch.

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PaRi Pasticceria, 83 Majors Bay Road Concord, Ph 02 9743 425
http://www.paripasticceria.com.au

PaRi Pasticceria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sud, Concord

It’s no secret that Italy has been in some fairly dire economic circumstances in recent years. This has meant there has been an exodus of its young, highly educated workforce. I was surprised to find on a trip to our Hong Kong office last year a cluster of people from Milan and Rome – extremely talented, they couldn’t be in an environment more different from home (“have you seen the price of prosciutto here!” one of them said to me), but necessity has meant they had to leave it behind and find employment elsewhere.

Australia has also been the beneficiary of this exodus, particularly in hospitality and food. Attracted by our climate – which is not that dissimilar to Southern Italy – our great produce, and an existing large Italian population (they’re bound to find a long lost relative or a cousin somewhere), we’ve seen some very talented Italian chefs, pizzaioli and gelato makers arrive on our shores. Paolo Gatto is one of those. He and his wife Rita arrived in Australia in 2008, and opened Gatto Matto in 2011. It has gotten better and better since my first visit, driven by Paolo’s passion (the name Crazy Cat is no coincidence) and Rita’s warmth. They have now opened a second venue, Sud, which simply means South. Southern Italian street food is the order of the day – it is where they are from, and it is the food close to their heart.

We arrive relatively early but within half an hour the place is buzzing, pretty good just one week after opening. While I sip my Bellini we peruse the menu, which is charmingly smattered with Sicilian dialect, and debate what to order – over-ordering would be very easy here because there is plenty to tempt. Fortunately most dishes are for sharing so we get to try quite a bit, though I see plenty of other dishes emerging from the kitchen, including a fabulous large antipasto platter for a big group, that we will have to try next time. The pizza bases are excellent and so are the toppings. But one of the favourites of the night is the baby octopus that comes with the spiedinu. I find out that it has undergone six hours of confit – if that’s Sicilian street food, unemployment be damned, I’m moving there; the rosemary flavoured wedges that accompany it are delicious too. The trofie cu sugu is also another winner (if it is nonna’s recipe as it says on the menu then to be expected), a fragrant, rich, robust meat sauce.

We are wondering what to order for dessert and aren’t convinced when the raviolo di ricotta is suggested to us, but decide to give it a whirl and we love it. It is a giant raviolio which can easily serve 4, and I’m glad the honey is on the side because I don’t think this light dough with a gorgeous creamy filling needs any further embellishment. The cuzzoli, light ribbons of dough to be dipped in the accompanying Nutella, are a crowd pleaser, but anything with Nutella always will be.

With generous serves, great flavour, and an attractive price point – the most expensive menu item is $28 – you’ll find a great little slice of Southern Italy in downtown Concord.

Arancini – deep fried rice balls filled with ragu and peas
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Panzerotti fritti – fried calzone filled with mozzarella and ham
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Calamari and chips
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Pizza Margherita
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Pizza vegeteriana – fiordilatte mozzarella, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini and truffle oil
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Pizza Italiana – fiordilatter mozzarella, prosciutto, rocket, cherry tomatoes, parmesan
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Trofie cu sugu
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Spiedinu di pisci – prawn and swordfish skewer with baby octopus, salad and potato wedges
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Raviolo di ricotta – sweet ravioli stuffed with candied fruits
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Cuzzoli
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Sud, 10 Cabarita Road, Concord Ph (02) 9739 6120
http://www.sudfood.com.au

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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

http://www.gattomatto.com.au/

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