There are certain cuisines that any city worth its salt must be able to produce with pizzazz. Pizza, for obvious reasons I won’t waste time going into, is one of them. Arte Bianca, a nine-week-old addition to Double Bay’s smart-casual scene, is a Sicilian-inspired pasta and pizzeria that deserves to be added to any za-lover's list. And, if it keeps up its current game, it could very well be in the running as one of the best in Sydney.
An ambitious claim I know, but let’s think about this for a moment. There are two types of pizza: the fat, doughy thick-based versions ideal for soaking up hangovers, and the thin, more traditional style versions that focus on real flavour. The only problem is that a lot of places churning out the latter either throw on too much sauce making the dough soggy and causing the ingredients to slop all over the shop, or the base is just too crispy so all you get is an overpowering burned bread taste in your mouth. Arte Bianca, on the other hand, serves up an almost perfect combination of both.
And to be honest, so it should. Owners Mark Paterno and Wendy Limond have been on the hospitality scene for a long time, with Mark spinning pizzas for almost 40 years. Throw his Sicilian heritage into the mix alongside one other pizza chef and two kitchen chefs, and this Italian newbie is prepped and primed for the long haul.
On our visit we ordered the signature prosciutto, aged for two years (the meat, that is), and the seafood. If the former wasn’t served horizontally, it would be literally rolling out the doors, and the latter is so fresh the big fat juicy prawns go in raw, come out cooked and compliment the unshelled mussels like a salty, fishy charm. We also tried the mushroom risotto, which if you like mushrooms, will knock your socks off in the best ways.
The place also looks the part. Bright and white, it includes stylish accents like inside supporting beams left untouched, so their multilayered history of paint jobs shines through loud and proud. The words 'arte bianca' translate as 'white art', in homage to the dough of its primary foodstuff.
We’re told at this stage there have been some issues with the electrics, so dimmer switches will be added to create more ambiance as soon as possible, but to be honest none of that matters if you can nab yourself an al fresco seat. Take in the autumn ambience of this fancy part of town, sip on a nicely made negroni, and after your meal knock back some house-made limoncello alongside one of the creamiest, well-balanced tiramisus we’ve had in a very long time. Did we mention the service is also superb? No? Well, it’s real, passionate and professional.
And to be honest, we’re pretty damn happy about it. After all, pizza has such a history it deserves somewhere nice to be served up. Get in and get in quick, the secret is out and plenty of people will be heading east to get their hands on some of the best pizza in Sydney.
Words by Jack Arthur Smith. Photos by Bodhi Liggett.