Move over Valentines’ Day, you’ve got competition in February. With more than 5 billion pizzas eaten around the world every year, no wonder it has it’s own day on February 9, it’s a huge favourite here at home on tight ass Tuesdays, it’s our no. 1 go to comfort food on our weekends and many of us think it’s quite an acceptable breakfast. Celebrated Chef James Metcalfe (Becasse, St George) a former French master, is now delivering Sydney’s cuisine du jour, big flavoured Italian at recently opened Freddie Greens Alexandria.
This relaxed neighbourhood restaurant has a connection to icon Frederick Green, a brickies labourer that worked his way into politics to become Mayor of Alexandria and who was known for opening up the Italian community in the area. Freddie’s well-respected legacy is how Green Square got its name and was the inspiration for Metcalfe’s newest venture that has teamed up with Chef Concetta Bille (North Bondi Italian, Mark & Vinny’s Spaghetti & Spritz) in the kitchen.
Fresh-faced super friendly staff welcome you in and all have a dish they are keen to recommend. The space is modern with tall ceilings with one wall dedicated to a reasonable collection of Italian wines.
Kick it all off with the summer classic, a spritz. Good to see they are not all just orange, the gin, prosecco and elderflower is fruity with an edge of bitterness while the Limoncello spritz is fresh and strong, they go extremely well with some mixed Sicilian olives and anti pasti. Start with the tomato salad, a medley of super sweet cherry heirlooms nestled around a luxe looking wobbly burrata dome. You’ve signed up to a night of carbs so set all guilt aside and get the charred home baked focaccia to work on cleaning the plate. The crispy squid fritti with zucchini fries and mint is lighter and zestier than you’d expect, both dishes are spot on with the Cantina Riff Italian Pinot Grigio.
If you need a pause ahead of the main event, do it with a glass of the Poggio Anima Tuscan Sangiovese, it’s light and smooth and a little earthy. Since ‘The Hawaiian’ had it’s renaissance it’s totally back en vogue and we feel less bogan ordering it, which is why the Ananas made to order with fresh sliced smoky ham and pineapple is a highlight. The Piccante JJ is hot favourite, literally, with spicy salami, fior di latte, roasted red peppers and pickled chilli, both pizzas are bang-on topping combos and super tasty. We are told not to go past the signature pasta, the squid ink and crab linguine, and you shouldn’t, al dente jet black pasta generously topped with crab is both fresh and decadent at the same time, you can see the class in the kitchen in this dish.
For many cuisines dessert is often in the shadows of the cast, and while you may be sliding into a carb coma, classic Italian desserts are worth saving a teeny bit of room for. Even the “I’m not a dessert person” kind of person should have the cannoli. Purists would limit themselves to ricotta but Connie’s chocolate mascarpone is the pastry of the house, it’s mandatory!
It may be a coincidence that Freddie Greens has a pizza happy hour, we recommend you use it to your advantage to get in pizza eating form to honour its upcoming day next month, check it out 5pm-6pm daily.
18 O’Riordan Street, Alexandria NSW 2015
Monday – Sunday 7am-10pm