I have wanted to dine at Pizza e Birra ever since my Italian friend referred to it as one of the best places for pizza in Sydney. I don’t think I have made it clear in any of my other blogs but pizza is definitely one of my food favourites, and if i could have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner with different toppings daily, I would (as long as it somehow didn’t make me gain a whole lot of weight). When my bf George suggested we get Italian to celebrate my birthday,we ended up in the busy glass walled restaurant in Surry Hills.

The menu choices ranged from starters to pasta, traditional pizza, pizza bianche (without the tomato base) and dolci (sweets). We found out that the e Birra part of the restaurant name is due to them creating their own brand of beer, which is brewed in Orange.

The olives ascolana were biteful balls of flavour. Under the lightly crumbed and fried exterior was a big green olive stuffed with taleggio and buffalo mozzarella. The serving of four is perfect for two, with each olive being so satisfying, all that creamy cheese just melted in your mouth. The mixture of olives and cheese did lead to a salt overdose with plenty of water being needed.

The second starter choice was the fried calamari. The yummy rings were served with a creamy aioli, which complemented the light crispy texture of the calamari. I love it when I can eat fried food, and not have the taste of overcooked oil left on my palette. This was definately a better serving of fried calamari I have had in recent times.

Ahh now for the most exciting bit of the evening, the pizza. We went with one of the traditional pizzas as I enjoy the tomato base, our choice was the Spinaci e Gamberi; spinach, prawns, tomato, cherry tomatoes and chilli. Let’s just say that I completely agree with what my friend told me, and this is one of the best pizzas I have ever had in Sydney, maybe even better then most of the pizzas I had in Italy. The first thing I noticed was that there is no cheese, yet there is still so much flavour you don’t even notice your missing it.  The spinach was wilted in piles on the base, with a decent amount of prawns per slice and plenty of tomato. The chilli wasn’t overpowering, and they could easily have added more without making it unbearable. Every time I look at this photo I crave to have a slice back in my hands.

We also ordered the homemade tagliatelle pasta with duck ragu. In Italian a ragu refers to any sauce that meat is added to, and it is usually served with pasta, we had gone with a very traditional dish. The pasta was cooked al dente and you could tell it was home made as it had a soft and bouncy texture with every bite. The sauce was similar in flavour to the base of the pizza, and wasn’t adorned in too much salt. The duck meat was ever so tender and fell apart in your mouth, I assume that it had been cooked over a low heat for a long period of time. I may have to invest some time in using my pasta maker at home, and replicating this dish.

The waiter organised a candle in the panna cotta, with the few tables surrounding us breaking out in song =P I get extremely shy in those situations, but all shyness was forgotten once I took a spoonful of the creamy gelatinous mound with a bit of fresh peach and peach puree. Perfect texture and consistency, with a subtle vanilla flavour ringing through. I devoured most of the panna cotta, leaving a few small morsels for George.

Just a little photo of us at dinner, I really liked the funky bicycle wall paper, very chic.

Let’s just say that without a doubt I will be making a return visit to Pizza e Birra, I need to make my way through the whole pizza menu. Next time I will suggest going in a large group, we can order copious amounts of food and I can try so much more. The place doesn’t take bookings, so I assume that thurs-sun nights may require a small wait on a table. We visited on a Wednesday night and were seated straight away.

Pizza e Birra

500 Crown St, Surry Hills

Ph: (02) 9332 2510

No website stated.