Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta review

Restaurant revival: Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta is back in Bondi.
Restaurant revival: Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta is back in Bondi. Photo: Jason Loucas

3/75-79 Hall Street Bondi Beach, NSW 2026

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Opening hours Lunch Sat-Sun; dinner daily
Features Accepts bookings, Bar, Family friendly, Licensed, Long lunch, Outdoor seating, Wheelchair access
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Orazio D'Elia
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 02 8376 1600

Hello, my name is Callan and I'm a porchetta addict. I am powerless in the face of fatty, herby, abundantly seasoned pork, slow-cooked and sharpened with a liberal squeeze of lemon.

I'll invariably order the rolled and roasted pig whenever it appears on a menu and have, on several occasions, considered booking a trip to Italy just for the glorious porchetta panini found at truck stops on the outskirts of Rome.

This is all to say that I have welcomed Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta's return to Bondi with the kind of enthusiasm my parents have for a Leo Sayer comeback, and the determination with which rap fans queue for reissued Air Jordans. Benvenuto a casa, Da Orazio, it's been too long.

Go-to dish: Focaccia con porchetta.
Go-to dish: Focaccia con porchetta. Photo: Jason Loucas

Chef Orazio D'Elia and restaurateur Maurice Terzini (from Icebergs Dining Room and Bar up the road) opened the original diner just off Hall Street in 2014. For swish locals, it was the perfect restaurant. Family dinner and kids' pizza with bunny ears in the early evening; breezy cocktails and resort vibes after sundown.

Polished service bolstered Da Orazio's postcode popularity, and its focaccia con porchetta made the pizzeria a must-visit for pork fans Sydney-wide: juicy slices of free-range pig, fragrant with rosemary and sage, stacked between two slices of pizza bread, with cos lettuce for crunch and garlic-marinated eggplant. Ooft.

D'Elia left his namesake venue to become a partner at Matteo restaurant in Double Bay in 2017, and Terzini relaunched the site as the very good (but porchetta-less) CicciaBella. However, last year (and I'm trying to keep this brief) Terzini off-loaded the site back to D'Elia, who had just left Matteo and wanted to open a place of his own.

Figs with stracciatella and spiced olive oil.
Figs with stracciatella and spiced olive oil. Photo: Jason Loucas

The Italian-born chef tells me he's stoked to be back at his "first love", which reopened three weeks ago. I'm stoked the porchetta sandwich ($35) has made a return. Staff stuff whole pigs with fennel and thyme, then let the flavours get to know each other in the cool room for a few days, before a six-hour spin on the rotisserie.

The space has been stripped back to its bright, white roots, with walls rendered to look like they belong in a Mediterranean fishing village. Nightclubby music gets loud after the families leave, but sound-absorbing surfaces mean you can at least hear the person in the banquette opposite.

Terzini's original "Pizza + Porchetta" branded glassware has been dusted off for a smart selection of affable wines, too. A Terre di Valter 2018 Aglianico from Campania ($84) is all sarsaparilla and sour cherry, and terrific with beef tagliata ($45): ruddy strips of grilled sirloin served with grated grana padano and rocket, northern Italy-style.

Friarielli pizza with pork sausage, smoked fior di latte cheese and blitzed rapini.
Friarielli pizza with pork sausage, smoked fior di latte cheese and blitzed rapini. Photo: Jason Loucas

The menu is so full of regional specialties like this from the old boot, we're half-tempted to bypass the carbohydrates completely. There are figs anointed with creamy, curdy stracciatella and spiced olive oil ($20). There is an octopus salad ($27) covered in fat leaves of parsley like they do in Naples. There are tender lamb arrosticini skewers (five for $20), served in ceramic mugs like the ones found in hilltop trattorias all over Abruzzo.

But the pizza. You really can't miss the brick-oven pizza, sporting puffy edges with charred leopard-spot bubbles and toppings ranging from traditional – a $20 Margherita – to "come again?" house specials like The Romagnola ($25) with green peas and bolognese-style ragu. Between you and me, it tastes like cottage pie. Odd, but not unwelcome on a cold afternoon.

A Napoletana ($23) is handsomely draped in anchovies, with capers, basil and fire-shrivelled olives. Salty, but not aggressively so.

Margherita pizza.
Margherita pizza. Photo: Jason Loucas

My pick of the pizze, however, is the Friarielli ($28), boasting crumbled pork sausage and smoked fior di latte cheese with a base tinged forest-green, thanks to blitzed rapini. Eager-to-please staff will pack up uneaten slices, and most guests will leave with a pizza box or three under their arms. We take home most of a hot salami-strewn Diavola ($25), which is still a treat 24 hours later.

Meanwhile, leftover porchetta may taste even better the next day, says general manager Cristiano Poddine with a furrowed-brow that suggests he shares – and knows – my addiction.

It's just a shame that there's none left on the table so we can test the theory. "Um, another sandwich, this one to take away please? Heck, better play it safe – make it two."

Open: Lunch Sat-Sun; dinner daily

Vibe: A chic, loud pizzeria for celebrating friends, family and roast pork

Go-to dish: Focaccia con porchetta ($35)

Drinks: Compact list of approachable Italian wines and plenty of party-time cocktails

Cost: About $160 for two, excluding drinks

This review was originally published in Good Weekend magazine

https://www.daorazio.com.au/