WITH only a giant packet of spinach in the fridge, the prospect of a hot pizza on a cold Monday night was too good to resist.
Ischia’s a newcomer to Beaufort Street, occupying what had been Siena’s for as long as I can remember.
The restaurant’s layout is undergoing a few changes, but the food is beautifully fresh and high quality, and fits right into the Beaufort Street scene.
Ischia’s pizza menu is divided into three parts: the rosse range is the margherita- based tomato sauce pizzas (from $16), the bianchi are the white sauce pizzas (from $15), and there’s a top-of-the-line Super Mario range.
There’s also a pretty respectable non-pizza menu, from simple starters like arancini ($12) to full mains like pan-fried chicken medallions with sage and prosciutto in a white wine sauce ($29).
We chose the prawn pizza ($25) with a margarita base.
With sauteed spinach, prawns, cherry tomatoes and a bit of chilli to add some kick, it’s a simple dish that relies on high quality ingredients, and everything’s top notch from cherry tomatoes bursting with sweet flavour to the juicy prawns marinated in garlic and parsley. Everything was just so fresh and flavourful.
We also ordered the meaty “Nduja” pizza ($27), named after the Calabrian spreadable salami, from the swanky menu.
The nduja is a chunky paste of diced meats mixed with chilli and spices, and it’s scattered across a margherita base with thin-sliced salami, buffalo mozzarella and red onions.
It’s a perfect mix with the spicy meat tempered by the soothing cheese, and the fresh onion cutting through the dairy.
This pizza’s on the pricey side, but with everything so fresh and carefully cooked I have to say it was worth it.
We rounded off the meal with some arancini: four big crispy balls filled with fluffy risotto and a mild arrabbiata sauce.
Again, the arancini were fresh and perfectly balanced, and they tasted delicious when dipped in the accompanying sour cream- based sauce.
I was pretty full at this point but if I’d abstained from eating an entire pizza plus arancini I’d have loved to order some dessert – they have a Calzone Dolce, a folded Nutella pizza drizzled with chocolate sauce and served with strawberries that looks amazing – but that’ll have to wait until next time (which won’t be long).
by DAVID BELL
500 Beaufort Street