Picture it: December 2019. A group of friends sit in the Trinity Hotel, smiles on their faces. They have just ridden the Sydney Light Rail from Circular Quay back to Surry Hills for the first time. Drinks are imbibed, more prosecco is poured and Joseph asks if he can play the pubs piano. Mike Galvin founder of the Darlo Darlings, a Facebook group for people who live or work in postcode 2010 turns to me and says “we should do a bottomless brunch! A Darlo Darlings brunch! Wouldn’t that be fun?” I wholeheartedly agree, we toast but the idea takes a back seat as we move towards the piano to sing…
Fast forward a couple of weeks.
Me: Were you serious about doing a Darlo Darlings Bottomless Brunch.
Mike: Yes! Where do you think we should have it?
Me: Well I’ve always wanted to try Pizza Autentico. They have bottomless pizza and pasta as well and it’s in 2010.
Mike: Let’s do it! I’ll talk to Jonny.
We decided on April 4th 2020. I was going to Koh Samui for a wedding and a 50th birthday mid February and there was already a few Darlo Darlings events set for February too. Mardi Gras was in at the beginning of March and I’d be starting a new job on the 9th with a big birthday on March 25th. The beginning of April seemed like a good time to brunch.
UNTIL IT WASN’T
We went into hard lockdown due to COVID19 the day after my birthday and as we watched, waited and held our breath like the rest of the world waiting for everything to go back to normal we soon realised brunch would have to be postponed – indefinitely.
Fast forward months! It’s December 2020. A year since we first started discussing what I began calling in my head the Darlo Darlings Bottomless Brunch cross over event. We’d been living with Covid for 9 months and it wasn’t going anywhere for now. Frankly there was no such thing as normal. This was the new normal. I contacted Mike and Jonny and discussed moving forward with the brunch in the New Year. If all went according to plan we’d be brunching at a huge socially distanced table (4 square metres per person) on January the 30th 2021. Out of the 25 who had originally booked only 7 had asked for a refund and we busily contacted everyone announcing the new date.
Mike had suggested that I create some rules for Bottomless Brunch so I came up with 8 simple rules to Bottomless Brunch by, a play on the old sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenaged Daughter. (seriously I’m probably the only one who thinks that’s funny!) They’re based on my experiences with Bottomless Brunch so far and I’m sure the list will grow.
I walked (see rule 3) and arrived slightly early to place the flyers on the table with the menu Jonny had printed out. Originally it was only pizza and pasta on the menu but because our Bottomless had been delayed so long Jonny graciously threw in some starters. As is always the case in any restaurant you enter here in Sydney I checked in via the QR code with my Service NSW app for contact tracing, sanitised my hands and once I had the 8 simple rules in place I plonked myself down in the middle of the table to await the arrival of the other guests, a glass of prosecco in hand thanks to the lovely Jonny.
My old friend Geoff was the first person through the door and he remarked how strange it was that he always seemed to arrive at almost exactly the same time as I did to any event. He was closely followed by Liza, another dear friend. Kisses and gossip were exchanged as more Prosecco was poured. Next on the scene were Mike and Andrew. It was so good to finally see Andrew again as he had been stuck in France since February and had only just made it home for Xmas! More people poured through the door. This was to be my largest brunch to date, 18 people – some of them unknown to me. What better way to make new friends than at a Bottomless Brunch!
Marion had let us know that she’d be 20 minutes late and a text 15 minutes later informed me that Dee & Mitch would also be delayed. Lucky for them Jonny wasn’t being super strict with rule 2. The first item served up was this perfectly ripe rockmelon with prosciutto. I cut the large melon slice into small bite sized pieces, wrapped it in prosciutto and popped it into my mouth. I love the sweetness of the melon mixed with the saltiness of the cured meat. “Mmm rockmelon” I said. “Why do you call it rockmelon?” Adam asked from across the table. “Er, cause that’s its name?” This instantly started a debate about language and country of origin. Do you call it zucchini or courgette? Eggplant or aubergine?
Next out was this Rocket, pear and Parmesan salad. These flavours are usually a favourite of mine but this version of it was slightly too salty for me. Slicing up another piece of the sweet melon helped cut the salt down and mellow the taste. The garlic bread was crisp and delicious. I was definitely going to have garlic breath. Seriously I think one of the pieces had a whole clove of garlic on just one slice.
I’d discovered that Pizza Autentico had my favourite pizza crust, thin and crispy. Over the covid period The Darlo Darlings had quarantini parties. For $22 Jonny delivered us (often in the pizza slice costume below) an aperitivo pack consisting of sliced smoked meats, cheese, olives, crustini and crackers. With or without cocktails, depending what you ordered on the day. Mine would be passed over my balcony with a smile and a wave. We would then sit around, eating the same thing together over ZOOM and chat about the weeks events or other random topics that Mike would bring up.
I’d heard the Di Marcello pizza was delicious, but as you know I don’t eat raw or semi cooked tomato, so I can neither confirm nor deny. Anything with sausage is always my favourite.
I’m not very good at taking photos of people to be honest. People move, they don’t sit still like food, architecture or inanimate objects. I’ve always struggled to take decent photos of people or to give them any sort of direction. Luckily I had Mike Galvin running around to snap happy snaps of grinning Darlo Darlings. This is something he excels at. He makes people smile simply by being him and manages to take amazing selfies of us all with his exceedingly long arms.
I’m pretty impressed that I worked out how to lay out these photographs and made them work in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Unfortunately I couldn’t put titles under each of them. But you get the idea of how much fun we had from the smiling faces Mike managed to capture. This is all him – except for Jonny as a pizza slice 🤣. That one was all me!
Our booze options were white, red, Prosecco and beer for this weeks bottomless but most of us stuck with the bubbles. You so very rarely see wines from NSW on a menu so it was lovely to find the Prosecco most of us were drinking was from Tumberumba. A few of us switched later to Twelve Signs Semillion, Sauvignon, Blanc.
Pizza Autentico is always most obliging when it comes to any dietary requirements. We had a couple of vegetarians, pescatarians and one lactose intolerant. I have several friends who are lactose intolerant so I’m sure they will be extremely excited to hear that this pizza made especially for our lactose intolerant friend was quite delicious with its vegan cheese, or so I’m told.
There were 4 options of pizza and pasta on our bottomless menu but frankly there was so much food by the end we skipped a pizza and a pasta and we still had enough left overs to take away.
The Fiessese was my favourite pizza of the day. Not only did it have a delicious serve of sausage but it also had mascarpone and truffle oil. It was rich and full of flavour. Next up was this tasty rigatoni, definitely my favourite pasta of the three we had. Rich and saucy I’ve always found it difficult to say no to anything that contains the word ragu. The pasta had the perfect pasta to sauce ratio which I sometimes struggle with at other restaurants.
As the brunch started to draw to a close Liza and I decided to order an Aperol Spritz ($10 additional every day) and to split a share of Tiramisu (also $ 10.00) What can I say? Another thing I find it hard to go past on a menu is Tiramisu and this one did not disappoint. Unfortunately by that time the photographing part of my brain had well and truly switched off, until I looked up. There was a lovely group of guys who I’d only just met over brunch and I asked if I could take their photo. Squeeze in I said. Thanks for being part of the story Adam, Brad, Matt, David & Dom. It was so lovely to meet all of you. Hopefully I’ll see you again some time soon.
Maybe I’m not that bad of taking photos of people after all…
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore
(That’s amore)Dean Martin
Special thanks to Kim for designing the 8 simple rules flyer and to Roman for printing it.
To Mike and Jonny without them this collaboration would never have happened. ❤️
📍 where – 15 Brisbane St Surry Hills
🌏 www – https://www.pizzaautentico.com.au/
🍷🥂🍺 Drinks – Wine, bubbles and beer (package now available with any food order for an additional $ 39.00 and now also includes Aperol Spritz 🍊🍹for 2 hours)
💵 how much – $ 50 (special event price)
🍕🍝 food – Bottomless pasta and pizza (for groups of 6 or more)
⌚️ how long – 90 minutes (now 2 hours)
🗓 when – Tues-Sun – 5.30 – 9.30pm