Hats off to this one

2009 and what a steaming hot Italian summer it was shaping out to be. The train was just pulling into Naples and Mr ELG and I had finally located our pensione and off-loaded the luggage. Feeling ravenous and with a few tips up our sleeves from the local who checked us in, we go on the hunt for a true Napoli pizza; arguably where it all started for the flat and round doughy phenomenon. Up a narrow alley where Fiats are squashed nose to nose on the pavement, there’s a hole in the wall and a waft of steamy goodness coming out. Six or so men with red aprons are milling around a kitchen as the day has not yet fully started. They hear our Aussie accents and between us, our pigeon Italian language, some pointing and the locals laughing their heads off, we somehow manage to order two large pizzas of which we know that at least cheese will be present. 10 minutes later and the two of us are perched on some neighbourhood stairs, pizza boxes on our laps, salivating no longer as the pizzas live up to all expectations and an eat moment is banked in my memories. I also recall thinking to myself, nowhere could come close to this at home. There’s pizza and then there’s pizza!


Enter Cappello. Situated on Darling Street, Balmain East – past all of the hype and hoopla of the main part of Darling Street. In a quaint sandstone terrace Cappello do a early and late seating; perfect for those that still want great food even though there’s a highchair in your booking and suitable for those duos who are after a bit of late dinner romance. Offering a small menu where each offering hits the spot, I can never go past the homemade tagliatelle ragu and Mr ELG nearly always orders the gnocchi with lashings of gorgonzola. Straying away from pasta, the pizza Cappello make fresh from their woodfired oven is the closest thing I have tried out of Naples. Thin yet still doughy in the middle, crisp with a variety of mouthwatering toppings. Taking the less is more slant in terms of ingredient combinations, you won’t find ham and pineapple here but more gutsy taste sensations where the biggest decision of the night will be “which one?”

If you make it past the pizza and pasta, the desserts will entice, be desired and and again make the choice hard! Not really much of a chocolate fan, Mr ELG seldom goes past Cappello’s chocolate mousse. As for me, the pavlova with poached pairs sitting in a reduced raspberry sauce sends shivers down my spine now as I hark back to when I went to Cappello last.

So while I’d love to own a lear jet and have a tree in the backyard that grows the green ones so I could just swing by Italy more than just once in a while – the reality is just 10 minutes drive away, I can satisfy my cravings born out of a hole in the wall in a back lane of Naples.

Cappello @ 79 Darling Street, Balmain NSW 2041

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Published in: on August 18, 2011 at 7:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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