|Risotto with finesse - the Pollo E Funghi Rissotto, with a white wine sauce, chicken and mushrooms.|
This restaurant is a good recommendation from mates - and I loved this place from my first visit.
Da Orlando reflects cuisine from Roman Italy - and even if this Wollongong restaurant is located in unassuming surroundings, it draws its regulars and new costume. There are two sessions for dining on weekend nights, something which I first observed in Asian restaurants in Sydney.
I like the pizza making oven, just behind the counter on the right hand side of the entrance. That evening A and I chose to sit outside, even if it was a coolish night - but you do not sit on the pavement, like in some other Sydney places, but more in a brick fenced portion outside. The buzz that evening visited was family, group of blokes, couples and lots of children, oh yes it was indeed the school holidays....
Blokes will return for the BBQ Meat Lover pizza (red base), laden as they are with Italian sausages, a BBQ sauce, ham, salami and Mozzarella cheese. Ladies may want to go for the home made Gnocchi, in three options of Napolitana, Gorgonzola and Arrabbiata sauces, with either Pasta or Risotto versions.
The three sauces are so different and this makes it an imperative to compare the various sensations from each of them. Napolitana can be a vegetarian option utilising a variety of flora and spices like peppercorns, mushrooms, olives, cloves, Oregano, bay leaf, thyme and basil.
Sugo all'Arrabbiata has a primary ingredient of chilli peppers, and is therefore a much more spicy sauce made also with garlic, tomatoes and olive oil.
Gorgonzola cheese is crumbly with a nutty aroma, providing a range of taste from mild to sharp as it ages. It belongs to a unique class of Formagi as it is one the world's oldest blue-veined cheese. Unskimmed cow's milk is utilised as part of the making process and it origiinates from the Piedmont and Lombardy, Gorgonzola regions of Italy.
Da Orlando has been around for a year if I got that right. The drinks are still basic and there is only one dessert, a pizza spread with Nutella chocolate and strewn with fresh strawberries - the Diavoletti Alla Nutella.
The main emphasis is pizza, both with a white base ( Bianche) and with a red base ( Li Pizze Rosse), but all are 12 inches in size, generally smaller than what most Italian pizza places in Australia offer. The topping options are good, ranging from Margherita, Supreme, Gamberi, Napoli, Prosciutto and Sicilian (for red base) and from Funghi, Porcini, Rustica, Zola and Italia (for the white base).
Even on a busy night, the two walking staff did not take long to attend to diners, whilst theior colleagues made the pizza, delivered or had inside kitchen duties. The transparent glass outlook of the place made it more welcoming. Vehicle parking is easy on street side, although the complimentary Gong shuttle bus does not go there and it can be a fifteen minute walk from the Crown Street Mall.
|A gathering hub even on week nights.|
There are two interesting things Da Orlando does with Focaccia, the dough infused with olive oil, salt and herbal flavours. Similar and comparable to pizza dough in texture and style, Focaccia is high gluten, although a delicious alternative to our main stream sandwiches and breads. Da Orlando deep fries the Focaccia and allows us to the dip them into a mushroom based sauce for starters. (Deepy Deepy).
The deep fried Focaccia is also served another way when tossed into a garlic and basil mix with cheery tomatoes and topped with Parmesan shaves. (Ciccini).
My impressions of the Da Orlando Wood Fire Pizzeria:
Ambiance: 3.25 out of 5
Customer Engagement: 3.75 out of 5
Culinary Delight: 3.75 out of 5
X Factor: 2.5 out of 5
Overall: 3.3 out of 5
Recommended menu choices:
Polipo, a salad with baby octopus with potatoes, celery, garlic, cherry tomatoes and parsley.
Pollo E Funghi Risotto.
Linguine Meatballs, with shaved Parmesan and basil in a Napolitana sauce.
Salsiccia E Patate, loaded with smoked Provola, rosemary, Italian sausage and Mozzarella cheese, on a white pizza base. Provola is a small version of the cheese that comes form the town of Casilli near Mount Vesuvius in southern Italy.
Penne Gamberi Zucchini - my favourite.
|Penne prawns - the Penne Gamberi Zucchini, with a white wine sauce, tomatoes and a dash of cream.|
Da Orlando Wood Fire Pizzeria is located at 348 Keira Street at the southern end of the city centre, in more quiet surroundings.
Opening hours are every day from noon to 3pm and from 5pm to 10pm.
Contact+61 2 4298 3011