I’ve walked past Panzerotti Cafe almost every day for the last two years and I never thought it was anything more than a generic CBD hole in the wall that did takeaway coffee and mediocre cafe fare. I was skeptical when my work mate and Former Fat Kid Friend (hereinafter, FFKF) suggested it as an exciting new lunch venue with the promise of authentic Italian food. With a cheesy name like “Panzerotti” and a Superman-esque sign as a logo…. can you blame me?
Walking up my familiar homeward path, I was pleasantly surprised to find that beyond the ugly sign, Panzarotti is a very cute little lunch cafe with très chic black/white/brown decor and my favourite uber-trendy Eames-inspired dining chairs:
There are a few shortcuts to trendy cafe decor. Eames chair is one. The other is menus printed in typewriter font on brown Kraft cardboard.
It says: “Hey, I’m cool, trendy and modern, but also authentic, rustic and down-to-earth”
Moving on from the aesthetics to the food, FFKF ordered the pasta special:
Duck Ragu Linguine. Generous, rich and flavourful – tasted as good as it looks!! From the one bite I had of it anyway. Writing this blog has become very educational because now I’m actually bothered to learn the meanings of food terms like “ragu” instead of just making them up and hoping no one realises. Ragu (in the Italian sense) is a meat sauce which usually contains tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, white wine and seasonings. Originating from Bologna, this sauce is also referred to as Bolognese. However, as Bolognese possesses connotations of mum’s bastardised Dolmio spaghetti, the mysterious and ambiguous “Ragu” is clearly the smarter choice when naming your pasta special.
Still in semi-coma from the previous night’s ramen, I opted for the Panini as the “healthier choice”. In my head I imagined two thin rectangles of toasted Ciabatta filled with a nice balance of meat and salad. I was served with this:
Panini is simply “sandwich” in Italian, which I suppose can be interpreted very widely but this ain’t like any sandwich I’ve ever seen!!!
What’s that 1-inch thick layer of white? It’s goat’s cheese. I always thought goats cheese was a mild cheese… but this tasted more like Fetta. Clearly the mediterraneans like their cheese with a significant sodium injection.
And that yellow substance soaking through the bottom layer of the bread? It’s olive oil.
So. Much. Oil. I’m not saying it wasn’t delicious – dense and spongey cake-like bread soaked in olive oil with salty cheese, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and grilled chicken – it was a tasty tasty festival of calories. My skin’s been breaking out since then and I’m pretty sure this sandwich is the cause!
But seriously, what is with the oil??? I’ve NEVER seen a sandwich like this. No exaggeration, the oil soaked through the bread to leave a nice glossy coat on the plate, and soaked all the way upwards through the spinach too! If I saw the amount of olive oil spread on this sandwich extracted into a measuring cup, I think I would spew. I’ve seen people fry bread in a shallow pan of oil to get a nice crispy bruschetta base but this is an entirely different monster. Did the kitchen run out of butter? Or for those of you who have been to Italy, is this how Italians eat sandwiches? Doused in olive oil? I’m curious to know if anyone has had a similar oil-soaked experience anywhere else.
If you haven’t ever tried one, but would like an olive oil sandwich, Panzerotti is your place. More waistline-conscious diners should opt for one of the salads, but without having tried one, I can’t guarantee that they don’t have the same approach to salad dressing as they do to sandwich filling!
42 Margaret Street