It is the promise of great pizza and amazing gelato that lured me to Da Vinci’s in Summer Hill for a lazy Sunday lunch. Pizza doesn’t tend to excite me that much, but I was assured that Da Vinci’s was something special.
Da Vinci’s Italian restaurant has been part of the Summer Hill landscape for quite a few years. A couple of years ago Nicola Piteo slipped his restaurant in to Da Vinci’s space on Lackey Street. It was a stealthy out with the old and in with the new. The venue didn’t even get a name change.
I had a chat to Nicola before we order and he explains what makes Da Vinci’s piazza different from the rest. There are two factors, firstly the flour they use and secondly how they make their pizza dough.
The flour used is unrefined, stone-ground Petra 1 flour. It isn’t treated, there aren’t any added chemicals and therefore is better for you to begin with. If the flour is good enough for Steve Manfredi of Balla then it must be good.
They don’t follow the popular Napoli method of pizza making. Instead they leave their dough to cold mature for a minimum of 48 hours. By letting it cold mature, the yeast has time to grow, do its job and then die.
Apparently it is the yeast that gives you a bloated feeling after you have eaten pizza. Here I thought it was because I was a pig and tend to eat too many slices.
To start we order a few small plates. We follow Nicola’s recommendation and order camorza affumicata ($9). Baked smoked fior di latte is wrapped in pancetta and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. The cheese melted and creamy is a tasty contrast to the salty pancetta and sweet tang of the balsamic glaze.
Also ordered was the calamari fritti ($18), a plate of deep fried calamari, zucchini and red capsicum. There is bresola on the specials board and I feel the need to order it. Bresola rucola & grana ($15), bresola is air dried cured beef which they then drizzled thin slices with lemon and oil, this is then topped with rocket and shaved parmesan.
Nicola also brings out a serving of Focaccia ($6.50) for us to try. This is their wood fired pizza in a basic state, simply drizzled with rosemary and oregano. This allows us to try and appreciate the pizza base sans toppings.
We are here for the pizza but I can’t resist ordering risotto nero ($28) from the specials board. I am so glad that I did, as it is my dish of the meal. Risotto Nero is risotto flavoured with a little chilli, white wine and squid ink. Sitting in the risotto are fat plump tender baby octopus, which are as black as the risotto.
Now on to the pizzas. How were they? Actually they were pretty darn tasty.
We order two pizzas and they are how I like them, thin bases, with minimal good quality toppings. Patate ($23), a white base pizza with fior di latte, roast potato, Italian sausage and black truffle paste.
Our other choice is a classic Capricciosa ($22) tomato base with fior di latter, San Daniele prosciutto, champignon mushrooms, artichoke, black olives and boiled egg. The boiled egg was a bit of an interesting addition and I’m not 100% sold on it.
Contrary to Nicola’s promise of not feeling bloated, I do. It has nothing to do with yeast, and a lot to do with eating way too much. The risotto is the culprit, it was that good I couldn’t stop eating it.
With very full bellies off we waddle. You think that’s it don’t you. Sorry folks that is a big NO. We don’t waddle out the door and back to the car, which would have been the sensible and wise choice. Instead we waddle down to the back of the restaurant towards Gelatony.
They make their gelato base from scratch. The recipe is from Tonino who use to own the popular Gelateria Caffe 2000 in Rozelle. Tonino has since retired, but continues to make sure his family tradition of gelato making at Gelatony at Da Vinci’s.
They use four different sugars in the base mix and the highest quality of fruits and flavourings. Each batch is balanced for taste. Their one base gelato recipe is what is used for all their gelato flavours.
Da Vinci’s is definitely worth a visit. Make sure you try their pizzas and order from their specials board, which is continually changing. Most importantly, make sure you leave room for gelato!
Belly Rumbles dined as a guest of Da Vinci’s
Must try dish: Risotto Nero, Pizza & Gelato
Who should dine here: Families, parties & those who like lazy lunches
Who shouldn’t dine here: Carb avoiders
What else you should know: Direct access to Gelatony via the Summer Hill car park
Price: $9 – $28
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 5pm – 9.30pm/Sat & Sun 11am-3pm & 5pm – late
Contact details: 25 Lackey St, Summer Hill/+61 2 9716 9000/website
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