Eastwood is known to be quite an Asian neighbourhood, which is why I was quite surprised to find that a little Italian eatery had opened up in the basement of the Aldi building. Italian? In Eastwood? Now this, I’ve gotta see.
Upon entering, we were greeted by a cheery waitress who, though not entirely bursting with food knowledge, was certainly brimming with enthusiasm. We soon learnt that the owner is a chef who dropped out of his course at University to pursue his passion for cooking. His goal is to create honest food with fresh ingredients, and decided that he could possibly create a niche of serving Italian food in Eastwood.
We decided on ordering one item from every category – a burger, a pasta, and a pizza.
Al’s pizza, $20, was recommended as the gourmet option – it had a bit of everything on it. The bases were made fresh, and the owner himself was handling the massive pizza ovens that they had installed in the cozy restaurant. The base was fantastically crisp and charred, and I really liked how he didn’t put ingredients like the smoked salmon on before cooking, which would have otherwise resulted in overcooked slices of salty salmon. Instead, this retained the wonderful texture in the fish, and a lovely freshness to the avocado. Unfortunately, my palette was slightly confused by the fact that it had prawns AND bacon on it as well, and I felt that the bacon and smoked salmon were warring a little in providing different kinds of saltiness to the pizza.
The Spaghetti Cabonara, $12, was also a house speciality. Salty bacon and delicate shallots lace this cream sauce, and the shards of parmesan added to the luxurious richness. The spaghetti was a nice al dente, and there was something so decadently creamy about this bowl of pasta. For $12, I thought that it was a steal, especially when the chef puts so much effort into every plate.
And of course, we couldn’t leave without trying a burger. A nice thick patty, topped with melted cheese, creamy mayo, tangy pickles and bulgolgi sauce – a nod to the chef’s Korean roots – sat on soft burger buns, which were first toasted so the inside had a crisp edge that held up the the sauce. Paired with chips, it was a fantastic meal, and while the burger wasn’t quite as special – I felt – as the Cabonara, I was still a fantastic, delicious meal at a great price point.
Hidden in the basement of the Aldi building, this humble eatery could very well mature into a gem. With cheerful service, and a cosy atmosphere, you can tell that this kitchen is just trying very hard to put out good food for the local punters. I have my doubts whether Eastwood will fully embrace an Italian eatery, but only time will tell.
The Honest Kitchen
02 9874 1218
114 / 62 Rowe St
Eastwood, NSW 2122