For anyone who doesn't live in Surry Hills, the epicenter of casual dining, the name may be misleading. This new venture by the owners of the Bronte-based Vacanza pizzeria hasn't opened in the north-western suburbs of Sydney. The Hills district in this case is the upper end of Bourke St, opposite where the former Hopetoun Hotel used to be.
Vacanza have taken over what was an average corner Italian fast food joint. Upping the ante, the Bronte team have done a little makeover on the interior, exposing the brickwork and darkening the mood, but it's not too flash. The prices for sit-down pizzas in nice surroundings are reasonable, and are actually standard compared to the average takeaway pizza ($19.90-$21.90). Less is more here, at least in terms of toppings.
Emphasising the southern Italian connection, the kitchen staff are from the home country and slide out thin-based pizzas of the more traditional variety. "The Vacanza" is sprinkled with truffle oil and grated pecorino ($21.90), "Il Sacaceno" peppered with prosciutto and parmesan ($21.90), and "Il Capitano" laced with fennel sausage, goats cheese and roasted mushroom.
Elsewhere on the menu, there's four choices of insalate and a mozzarella bar with starters such as bufala arancini ($9), two lightly crumbled rice balls with buffalo mozzarella, or pasta fritta with triple smoked ham ($10).
"Changes and modifications are politely declined unless it is a small matter of life and death" is Vacanza's philosophy and is word around these traps. And if you don't believe us, just sight it on the menu. They're clearly taking this pizza business seriously, dead seriously. They've certainly breathed life into a corner of Surry Hills that was in need of resuscitation.