We had dinner in Italy last week. We dined at a delicious wood fired pizza cafe. There were gorgeous Italian speaking staff, Latino tunes belting out of the ipod dock, one Itallian Stallion of a chef, some amazing pizza and tiramisu and even Mickey Mouse was there!
Well I was trying to pretend that we were in Italy but in actual fact we were smack bang next to Meadowbank Train Station. A fabulous little Italian Restaurant called Anema e Core have set up shop in a very unassuming part of Meadowbank and I think you all are going to love it!
As we walked down the street to Anema e Core we were warmly greeted with a big Ciao from all the staff. Having dinner out on a school night is a bit of a rarity for our family and I was a little concerned how my boys would handle it but I shouldn't have been worried. The boys were charmed immediately by the gorgeous staff and their thick Italian accents. I haven't been to an Italian restaurant where kidlets aren't welcome - they love their bambinos! My youngest is learning a little bit of Italian at preschool so he was very excited when he realised that all the staff were from the land of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and he said "grazie" every chance he could!
The seating for the restaurant is located outside under a marquee. The area is surrounded by star jasmine and twinkling lanterns hang from the roof. From your outside table you can see all of the action taking place in the shop front which also doubles as the kitchen. A large wood fired oven takes centre stage in the kitchen and there is a scene on the back wall reminiscent of a view straight out of any Italian street scape with the laundry hanging outside of the shuttered window (jocks and all!). I didn't spy any high chairs so if you have little ones you may need to bring your pram. I'd also recommend that you make a booking and advise them that you will have a pram with you, so that they seat you at table with plenty of room.
When we took our seat we were each given a brightly coloured envelope. The restaurants stamp was on the back of each envelope and inside was the menu. So quirky! The boys loved opening up the envelopes to see what was inside. A sheet of paper had a list of all the delicious pizzas, insalate and antipasti available at Anema e Core. Our super friendly waitress also gave us a run down of the daily specials. We only had sparkling water to drink, the restaurant isn't licensed, so remember to bring a bottle of vino from home or pick one up from the bottle shop around the corner. There are juices, Italian soft drinks and of course coffee available on the menu.
No. 1 son, who seems to all of sudden learnt how to read very proficiently in the last couple of months read the entire menu and stopped when he saw the words "Mickey Mouse". I think his exact words were "what tha". We just presumed that a Mickey Mouse pizza would be a kids sized pizza and the boys both proclaimed that they weren't that hungry, so I only ordered them one and asked that it be a fairly plain margherita type of topping. Imagine our surprise when Mickey actually appeared at the table! Such a cute idea and for ten bucks pretty darn good value, especially as it easily fed our two boys.
We were only going to have pizza for dinner but when our good looking waitress asked us if we were quite sure that we wouldn't like one of Chef's specials as a starter, Mr Munch (a sucker for a wink and an Italian accent) ordered us the Fritto Misto. Thank heavens she did wink because the Italian classic was simply delicious. There were prawns, baby octopus, calamari, scallops and zucchini all lightly battered and lightly fried. It came in a brown paper cone with lemon, rocket and a wee pot of home made tartare sauce.
Now we need to talk about the Pizzas. Anema e Core have 3 sizes of pizzas available - 13 inch; 1/2 metre and 1 metre! (if you are a fan of the pizzas from via Napoli, you won't have to travel to Lane Cove or HH any more for it). The pizzas range in price from $19 for a 13 inch up to $70 for the 1 meter long baby depending on what toppings you choose. There are about 16 different varieties on the menu and we shared a 13 inch Tre Salumi. It had a tomato base and then was topped with fiordilatte (a type of cheese), Italian sausages, mild salami, ham, basil and olive oil. The base was perfectly crisp just as you would expect from a wood fired oven. I'd love to have a go at a 1m long pizza but I may have to wait until the boys are teenagers to fulfil that desire! By the way all of the pizzas are available for take away in case you are lucky enough to live close by.
Personally I don't think you can go to an Italian restaurant without sampling their tiramisu. The version they serve at Anema e Core is amongst the best we've had and their strawberry tart was demolished in a few mouthfuls by my bambinos, another popular choice I'm sure would be the nutella pizza. Just to let you know Anema e Core is open from 6am in the morning - I'm sure they do a roaring trade in commuter coffees. You can also pick up a panino on the fly if you want something quick and easy earlier in the day.
Besides the fact that we were right next to Meadowbank Train Station in suburban Sydney, it still felt as though we had escaped to Italy for our meal. There was a buzz and general craziness about the place which I have fond memories of from my travels in the land of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you want to check out the handsome Chef in action have a look at the following clip. Prego!
62 Constitution Rd, Meadowbank NSW 2114
02 9809 5555
Open 7 days
Mon: 6am - 3pm & 5pm - 10pm; Tue: 6am - 3pm;
Wed - Fri: 6am - 3pm & 5pm - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 5pm - 10pm.