Bill having recently had a Studio Ghibli movie marathon, I decided to keep the theme going and take him to try Porco Rosso (33 Allen Street Waterloo) for our date night – doh he had already heard of Porco Rosso as he works in Alexandria. Porco Rosso is one of Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli films about an Italian ex war hero who is transformed into a pig – although we didn’t know whether the restaurant referred to the Ghibli Porco Rosso. The restaurant is hidden under a residential complex and appears to be a favourite for locals who kept popping in for take away pizzas. Reminiscent of an industrial space it is minimally decorated, concrete floors, bags of flour stacked against the glass panelled kitchen and racks of fresh pasta to dry – I especially loved the magnetic specials board with super cute letters of the alphabet.
The menu has hints of Japanese influence (see the tofu salad and edamame) and is divided into Antipasti, Salads, Pizza and Homemade Pasta. The pizzas were named in Italian numerical order and the homemade pastas were named in Japanese numerical order, both lists omitting the number four which is unlucky in Japanese cultures.
We started off with antipasti of caprese with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, basil, extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper. A simple but beautiful dish, and with tomatoes being the new bananas I savour the chance to have great tomatoes out. We did get food envy when a mountain of parma prosciutto plate with carefully balancing jumbo grissini was ordered by almost all the other tables dining that night and we made a mental note to order that dish next time. Bill chose the Otto (8) pizza, a puffy and chewy crust with tomato sauce topped with fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms, sausage and bitter radicchio. Naturally I gravitated to the Japanese influenced homemade pasta Go (5) spaghettini with mentaiko which is a chilli marinated cod roe, topped with shredded nori, fresh basil and lemon zest each ingredient present in each forkful. Normally I’d only use mentaiko with soy sauce so I loved how the basil and lemon zest added a freshness and zing to the dish. There’s no separate dessert menu but a cabinet showcasing the desserts of the night which filled as the night progressed. A strawberry custard cake with layers soft sponge cake filled with delicious fresh cream and strawberries caught my eye and a traditional tiramisu layers of coffee and marsala wine soaked chocolate cake and marscapone was the perfect decadent end to our evening.
Caprese with buffalo mozzarella, basil, tomato and extra virgin olive oil
Otto (8) tomato sauce topped with fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms, sausage, radicchio
Go (5) spaghettini with mentaiko, nori, fresh basil and lemon zest
Strawberry Custard Cake
The restaurant for dinner has a very laid back vibe, perfect for a casual dinner date and I’d love to come back here for lunch as their coffee was great too. Yet another great addition to the ever growing industrial Waterloo/Alexandria area with friendly staff and great Japanese Italian ‘fusion’ food.