I started the night looking for tapas. Let me tell you this – it’s not easy looking for a table for one in Sydney CBD on a Saturday night. Particularly if you are someone that likes to have a bit of everything. I quickly discovered that all the tapas menus were designed for groups – perhaps not entirely unexpectedly, but some places do have smaller tasting plates or even single serve options on the tapas/bites portion of the menu. So changing course I set sail for a woodfired pizza restaurant, with no clue as to why I suddenly branched into nautical metaphor.
I eventually drifted into Macchiato, a large and bustling Italian restaurant and coffee roaster (not being a 9pm coffee girl however, I sadly can’t report on that aspect).
Despite plans to increase the habit, I admittedly don’t dine alone often, and it has usually been in hotel restaurants where business travellers are common place, so I was a little daunted by the prospect of heading out to dinner in the city on a Saturday by myself. I needn’t have worried.
The cheerful barista quickly flagged down a waiter, immediately recognising me as a solo diner and saving me from having to actually ask for a table for one, I was seated promptly. Again lamenting that I could only really fit in one thing, I eventually settled on the truffled Bresaola pizza, and sat back to wait, fiddle with social media on my tablet, and people watch.
That was also when I first noticed the oven.
This thing. Is. A. Beast. It looks like a space ship about to take off (with our pizzas, noooo!) and judging by the speed I could see those delicious doughy discs whizzing through, I can only imagine the temperatures it must reach. Sadly, my phone camera does no justice to the red hot glow emanating from its.. Portholes? (ah, that’s where the nautical metaphor came from).
You can’t see a pizza oven like that and not get a little excited. When the chosen Bresaola appeared let me say it did not disappoint. Whenever I order something with truffles, I’m caught between the fear that it will be either over powering, or that the truffle will be an untasteable slither designed as an excuse to add 25% to the price. This was neither.
The Bresaola may look scarce but it spread out and was flavourful enough to match the base well. Likewise for the truffled mascarpone. As soon as it arrived at the table I was overwhelmed by the absolutely divine smell. This has to be near the top of my list of most aromatic truffle infused dishes I’ve ever had the pleasure of ordering. With only trace amounts of vegetables (admittedly I wouldn’t have minded a little more tomato) this is a pizza that could have ended up overly salty, but it wasn’t. The truffle mascarpone adds a creamy richness that is still light and fresh.
The base as well was very enjoyable, crisp on the outside with that course floured texture that comes from a great fired pizza, but still with a little chewy softness on the inside, I’d imagine due to the speed at which they are cooked. My only complaint would be that with such a crispy base, a sharper knife could be handy as I was really struggling to cut through it and not just give up and use my hands.
Overall it was a thoroughly satisfying pizza experience… But nonetheless, you must be wondering, what kind of restaurant review only talks about one single dish? And the answer to that is, the kind that would rather stress how wonderful the customer service was.
As mentioned I was somewhat uncomfortable with my solo dining venture this night, but during my meal, despite being busy, no less than five separate staff members, including the manager, came by to ask me how I was going, if I enjoyed the pizza, and to top up my water. And every single one of them had a warm genuine smile on their face.
On top of being made to feel incredibly welcome, all the staff seemed to be having a great time, had a great level of camaraderie and I even caught one of the bar tenders humming alone to the music.
Well done Macchiato on providing one of the best and most friendly customer service experiences I’ve had in a long time.