196 King Street
From 12 noon
Newtown has no shortage of pizza restaurants, they are scattered throughout King Street & beyond. Some are genuinely bad, some average & some quite good, but there has never been a truly great pizzeria in Newtown....until now.
Ruggiero Lattanzio of La Disfida fame has opened Top Level Woodfire Pizza Bar on King Street, finally Newtown joins the ranks of heavy hitters Surry Hills, East Sydney & Haberfield, with a pizzeria truly worth raving about.
Top Level Pizza Bar resides where ‘Posh Spice’ once did.
We had never visited Posh Spice, but on entering the restaurant we get a definite feel for what Posh Spice must have been like. The décor has a decidedly ‘Indian’ feel & we suspect not much effort has gone into changing the look of the restaurant.
The space is large with ample seating. The room is dominated by the bar to the right & the large woodfire pizza oven to the left.
Next up were the olives fritte, black olives coated in batter & deep fried. I found these very moreish & it was only after a while, that I realised I was popping them into my mouth one after the other without stopping for breath. I had probably eaten about five of them before I figured that Buggles hadn’t had any. When Buggles finally managed to push my hand out of the way & secure one for herself, she wasn’t as impressed, she thought there was too much batter, not enough olive. I gladly polished off the bulk of this dish.
(It was at this point the camera battery died….can you believe it??? Worse still, I didn’t have my mobile phone with me which at least has a 5 mega pixel camera, we were forced to use the 2 mega pixel camera on Buggles’ phone. The results, or lack thereof, bear witness).
Following this... the Mozzarella Fritta, four wonderfully thick slabs of oozing, stringy, battered mozzarella. I am of the opinion that most cheese benefits from deep frying. The batter here was much lighter, barely encasing the cheese. Truly delicious….clogged arteries be damned!
There are about 12 or so pizzas to choose from all priced at $20.
We went with the Napoli... anchovy, capers, olives, fior di latte…done!
Now this was pizza perfection. The base so incredibly thin it was bordering on transparent, yet somehow it still retained that slightly chewy aspect that makes a pizza base so divine. It was also lightly charred & bubbly. The tomato sauce was rich, full of flavour but not overpowering, succumbing to the wonderful smattering of capers, olives & the delectably milky fior di latte.
We demolished this in record time & lamented the fact that we had not ordered a second.
We also ordered the Amara Salad, which consisted of rocket and radicchio with shaved parmesan & a balsamic dressing.
To finish off we decided to share the Tiramisu. There are two options, traditional or berry….we went traditional.
This was a very good tiramisu, in my opinon it ranks second only to the tiramisu at Café Sopra (Buggles ranks it third after Ventuno). Rich, thick, indulgent mascarpone; beautiful, boozy biscuit...who could ask for more?
Much has been written about the poor service & surly waitstaff at La Disfida during Ruggiero Lattanzio's reign. In terms of service Top Level is the polar opposite. The service here is almost too efficient, you are chewing on your last mouthful & the plates are cleared away from under you. While this may be preferable to rude, gruff service; it does make you feel like you can't sit back, relax & take time to digest your meal. Hopefully just teething problems & things will improve in time.
We are very pleased to have a pizza restaurant of this calibre in Newtown & will no doubt return soon.