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Byron Shire
January 18, 2022

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Sticky-Fingers-Mediterranean-EJ-9W6A4384
Sticky Fingers’ Mediterranean pizza

Matthew Michaelis

Pizzas are no longer just the go-to snack of drunken teenagers and the midnight munchies. Pizza kitchens are serving their fare with more care and generosity than some restaurants. These days you can get a square meal that’s round for a reasonable price keeping the gourmet and the fussy tastebud both happy. Pizza has usually been a thing of the Italians, though these days, I’m not sure that’s the understanding anymore. The northern rivers has some of the best pizzas you could ever want or wish for. This week Matthew Michaelis looks at three very different types of pizzeria:

Sticky Fingers and wagging tongues

Generally you can glean an eatery’s reputation from a local faster than a hungry cockroach on a wheelie bin. A good reputation equals superlatives, while bad reps receive the verbal equivalent of CAPS and exclamations!!!

At Sticky Fingers the words used to describe this place are the former. You’ll hear the likes of ‘best thin crispy crust anywhere in Australia’ or ‘huge pizza’, ‘generous toppings’, ’best I’ve had’.

These aren’t shy commendations. There is, however, nothing like trying the goods yourself and when you do, have a squiz at the top sellers. This isn’t the billing for a confused stage show, they’re some of the cast of Sticky Finger’s menu; the ‘Sinderella’ is topped with caramelised onions, sundried tomato, marinated pumpkin, spinach, pine nuts and pesto. The ‘Mick Jagger’ struts to table with pepperoni, ham, chorizo, onion and pesto. The ‘Diana Ross’ is one of the stars; topped with pepperoni, ham, onion, mushroom, toasted capsicum, olives, pineapple, anchovies and pesto (like the singer – this pizza is larger than life).

The salads here are tremendous too: large servings of piled-high roquette, apple and a generous garnish of shaved parmesan cheese; or a roasted pumpkin, spinach, pine nut and fetta salad. Salads come forth in good deep white china bowls. It’s fully licensed, so ‘vino’ or beer is on the table if required. Whatever your ‘take’ on recommendations, the wagging tongues do appear to enjoy their Sticky Fingers (don’t take my word for it!).

Sticky Fingers – takeaway / eat-in. 7 days 5pm to 9pm. 26 Mullumbimbi St, Brunswick Heads phone 02 6685 0222.

 

Pizza-LusciousLuscious choices

To the uninformed, this cafe is not in plain sight neither is its location so easy to describe: turn down the main street into Byron at Ozigo, past the BP, turn first left then second right into Tasman Way then just ’round the corner turn right into the carpark… you get the idea. I had absolutely no trouble, Apple’s voice of reason led me directly to the door.

It seems that most people who eat here are already in the know. They’d know the energy and care the menu provides. They’d also know it’s a ‘come as you are’ affair. With relaxed and casual furnishing, big corners, cushioned and comfortable – you’ll get to know it’s the food that’ll excite here.

Here the owner, Zohar Flantz, offers an eclectic selection of his own specialities from throughout the Middle East and wood-fired pizza the Italians would envy. He made it his job to learn how to make pizza dough, toppings and get the ‘good oil’ on the ways of the Romans. He did so by hiring an Italian to teach him the things he didn’t already know. Clearly he’s a grade A student.

A wood-fire-oven stands central in the shop and provides the heat for more than just the pizza. Freshly made wood-fired pita is filled with hummus, tahini, green falafel and tabouli. Or try the zatar flat bread, topped with labneh, tabouli and olive oil. The dough for his pizza is proven for 48 hours to give it a depth of flavour like a sour dough.

The Calabrese pizza with tomato base, mozzarella and Salumi salami is great with extras such as anchovies and chilli oil. For sweet try a freshly baked babka.

You may need your GPS to get here and you’ll have to get here between 7.30am–3.00pm, Monday to Friday, but try the food and you’ll be wanting others to be in the know too.

Luscious Foods – 1/6 Tasman Way, Byron Bay. Monday-Friday, 7.30am –3.00pm (ish). Phone 02 6680 8228.

 

Pizza-MerakiMeraki – from Santorini to Pizzeria

Line up, Line up, Line up! You’ve arrived early to notice a healthy queue already extending itself out the door and around the corner. The front counter at Meraki Greek Restaurant at 5.30pm on a Wednesday was like the box office at a popular show. And, pretty much, that’s exactly what this clever eatery is. Here the popular pizza menu is in lights and starring alongside is the Greek cuisine. Enter stage right: the support act – a $10 schnitzel that’s so sizable it could take out the waitress carrying it.

Inside the comfortably lit restaurant the seats were starting to fill with ‘eat-ins’. Chef and owner Dino Georgakopoulos, it seems, has been quick to see that old club grub isn’t always the ticket. Of course, the well-priced grog is certainly a drawcard (and goes well with pizza, kids and fizzy drinks).

The bases and toppings on these pizzas are well worth a try (if you haven’t already joined the throngs for a takeaway). Recommended: the Garlic Prawn served with Napoli, spinach, Coopers Shoot tomatoes, Fior di latte (mozzarella made from cows milk), prawns, garlic, olives, lemon and pesto; Greek lamb with Napoli sauce, spinach, tomatoes, and sliced slow-roasted shoulder of lamb; Kalamata olives, feta and tzatziki (almost a souvlaki). The vegetarian choices will certainly not disappoint, with a hearty and well-flavoured roasted pumpkin, Napoli, feta, Spanish onion, pine nuts and spinach – The Calabaza (pumpkin) or marinated field mushrooms, truffle oil, shallots, mozzarella and roquette.

This is a colourful and tasteful cheap eat, decked with images of Greek islands and a nice low light; an affable, energetic service and the best of three worlds. Santorini – who needs it? (well… maybe a little).

Meraki Greek Restaurant – Ocean Shores Country Club, Orana Rd, Ocean Shores. 5.30pm–8.30pm 7 days. Phone 02 6680 1809.


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Au revoir La Table

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Educating the palate; feeding the imagination

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Making a crust

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A northerly aspect

You’d need a couple of lifetimes to get to the end of the good things happening on the north coast.

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Cafe culture by night

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Managing to feed the soul

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Bonne Santé

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Phở (‘fahr’) the love of food

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