Monday, February 7, 2011

Review : Pastizzi Cafe

523 King Street
Newtown 2042

Open 7 days
9am - late

My love affair with pasta ended almost two years ago, when I decided to 'try' & eliminate carbs from my diet. For the most part I have succeeded, pasta & rice have really not featured in my diet at all & potatoes, bread & sugar are very much reduced.
What were once daily delights are now, at most, weekly highlights.
So, when after all this time my thoughts do turn to pasta, I immediately start thinking about the pasta of my mother country, the wonderful ricotta & parsley filled Maltese Ravjul.
The Pastizzi Cafe is thankfully very close to home, so it is quite easy for me to satisfy this craving. I need to get it out of my system.

It is a Sunday night & we foolishly think it will be easy enough to get a table, how wrong we are, the place is buzzing. These diamond shaped pastries certainly seem to be popular with the local population.

A ten minute wait and we finally score a table. The cafe is very small, and being packed to the rafters with those dining in & those ordering takeaway, it is consequently incredibly noisy.

We decide to start with a couple of pastizzi each. In Malta I believe there are only two types of pastizzi; pastizzi ta' l-irkotta (ricotta) and pastizzi tal-pizelli (pea).
The Pastizzi Cafe however, offers a much, much larger selection which also includes; chicken & mushroom, chilli con carne, salmon dill & ricotta and many more. There are also some sweet variations such as chocolate & ricotta, cherry & ricotta & apple.
Buggles decides on Chicken & Mushroom & Salmon, Dill & Ricotta, while being a traditionalist, I go for the plain Ricotta (they have always been my favourite), I also decide to try the Ricotta & Feta. The pastizzi are wonderfully flaky & plump full of filling. Buggles enjoys both of hers but the Chicken & Mushroom is the standout.

I should have just stuck to my favourite, the plain ricotta as the feta variety is just way too salty.

Our mains arrive not too long after, we have both decided on the Ravjul; Buggles the pumpkin & ricotta and I the ricotta & parsley.
You can choose from a variety of sauces to top your ravjul, but we go with the traditional Maltese zalza of tomato & garlic....this is about the ravjul after all, the sauce should complement the ravjul, not overpower.
The pasta is hot & steaming, the perfectly cooked pillows are stuffed full of ricotta (and in Buggles' case...not much pumpkin), the accompanying sauce is light & delicious with just a hint of garlic.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as eating the food you grew up with.

Even after a huge plate of ravjul, I am still ready to take on some dessert & decide the tiramisu will fill that nagging empty spot. Buggles obviously feeling a little fuller, decides on just 1 Kannoli (or should that be kannol?).

The tiramisu is lush & creamy, if a little dry, I think it needs more of a boozy hit. Still very good though.

The Kannol has a very light yet crunchy shell, while the dark chocolatey ricotta filling is sweet & wonderfully creamy. Buggles enjoys this very much.

Despite the red & white & the Maltese Cross, the Pastizzi Cafe is essentially an Italian restaurant that offers a few Maltese dishes.
Maltese cuisine remains one of the most underrepresented in this country and the Pastizzi Cafe does not do much to redress the balance. It would be great to see dishes such as Ross il-Forn, Mqarrun il-Forn and Braġjoli on the menu.

With that said, if Pastizzi & Ravjul aren't your thing (impossibbli!), then the Cafe offers many other pasta choices (think Marinara, Carbonara, Bolognese and the like), as well as quite a few Veal & Chicken dishes.  

Service is quick (but not rushed), friendly & efficient.

The Pastizzi Cafe is always busy and as such booking ahead is well advised.

Pastizzi Cafe on Urbanspoon


joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

We walked past here Saturday afternoon in the heat! There was no one inside at the time (they were probably all at home in air-con). Haven't really thought about coming here but maybe one day.

john@heneedsfood said...

This is one of my favourite locals. Love the fettucine with chicken & pesto as well as the four cheese gnocchi. Sensational!

Buggles and Squeak said...

Joey....certainly not the kind of food one would want to eat on a sweltering Sydney Saturday....but perfect after the change came through on Sunday.

john...It is also a firm favourite with us, such is the beauty of living in the Inner West.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

I love the pumpkin and ricotta 'ravjul'! I had the ricotta pastizzi recently for the first time, and found it not nearly as exciting as the other offerings - I guess I'm not a traditionalist :S

Buggles and Squeak said...

Maybe you have to have grown up with the ricotta pastizzi to truly appreciate them.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I didn't realise that they did other meals as well as pastizzis! Good to know if we want a quick meal :)

MissDissent said...

Looks very tasty and comforting.

Thanks also for your recommendation of Bar Mattino, I followed it this week, and you can check out the results here:

Tanja Cilia said...

Ravjul after pastizzi? Oh my goodness, you ARE courageous!I think kannoli (yes, one is kannol) work best when they are stuffed with plain, perhpas slightly sweetened, ricotta and the edges are dipped in crushed peanut and hazelnut mixture. I don't like finding candied cherries and chocolate chips in the filling. And one hopes you did have a huge glass of Kinnie to complete the feast!