The recently opened Spacca seems to have given a nice wee spark of life to Remuera's Upland Road shops. We ventured in on a warm Tuesday night to check out the hole-in-the-wall Italian haunt.
It's a simple, clean room with white tiled walls and black furniture. Be sure to make a reservation, the small space makes it perfect for dates and couples but a little tricky for larger groups. The staff are all originally from Southern Italy, Naples to be more specific, and a love for food is evident in each and every part of Spacca. The kitchen is right there, the chef is vocal, there is constantly stuff happening.
It seats roughly 20, and due to its small size the service is quite amazing, personalised even. Gina, the restaurateur welcomed us, set our table, and gave us a run down of the menu.
From memory, the wine menu is strictly Italian. We ordered a couple of glasses of primivito which were typically smooth. Onto the food; we started with the antipasti which included several exciting little dishes. I can't say I've ever had tomato ice cream before but it went down a treat when accompanied with mozzarella and caramelised onion. There was also eggplant with a sprinkling of chocolate, another strange but delicious combination.
The pizza menu is handwritten above the kitchen on the back wall and is too hard to ignore. We decided to keep it simple and went with the Funghi Pizza $21 (tomato, cheese, mushroom, oregano). We also ordered the Gnocchi Zola $24 (gargonzola and walnut sauce). Both were simple, authentic, and hit the spot. The pizza base was up there with the better we have tried. The soft handmade gnocchi had a tasty creamy sauce and walnuts through it to give great texture. Our choices were perhaps a little unexciting after the antipasti but I would say that was our own fault for ordering such safe dishes. Judging by neighboring tables some of the more daring mains looked amazing and that will be where we will be focusing our attention next time.
Spacca is the kind of restaurant most neighbourhoods would love to have, but few do. It's Italian but a step above what most Aucklanders will be used to, well worth a try. Also a good option for takeaway pizza.