Ta Ta Ta is a pizza shop that sells Roman style pizza or Pizza Al Taglio by the slice or cut. You can get anything from a whole pizza to serve 4 people to a dainty little slice. Or for the terminally undecided or curious, the manager's special is a box of pizza that features 6 of the most popular slices! So what is Roman pizza like compared to Napoletana pizza?
Ta Ta Ta is a small pizzeria located on a hidden away street of Bondi Junction. Gray Street is basically one of the streets where cars exit the Westfield Shopping Centre on and at the time of our visit the street was very much under construction. The pizzas sit under a glass cabinet and when you order a pizza they will heat it up for you in the oven. There's a large open kitchen where they are busy making pizza. There are 8 varieties available and more being made as we watch.
"I've been a pastry chef since I was 12 years old," says Shlomi Palensya, the chef behind Ta Ta Ta. He was born in Turkey and moved to Israel when he was 9 years old where he attended culinary high school and worked at fine dining restaurants in Tel Aviv. Before moving to Sydney he was set to open his own bakery in Miami Florida but plans fell through with his business partner. Most recently he was worked at the Park Hyatt for 6 years as their pastry chef.
So why did he swap the world of pastry to pizza? "I realised that Roman style pizza doesn’t exist in Australia and wanted to bring my knowledge and experience to provide a unique product and the fact that I like feeding people and meeting new people. I still want to open a bakery or a pastry shop in the future or combine it with the pizza shop," says Shlomi.
His recipe for pizza dough features 7 types of flours including wheat, soy bean, rice, spelt and malt flours from both Italy and South Australia. Roman style pizzas are called Pinzas or Pinsas and they use soy and rice flour in their pizza dough. While Napoletana style pizzas have puffy edges and a wet centre, Roman pinzas are thin and crispy bottomed and are crunchy textured rather than wet.
These Pinzas are usually baked in the Moretti Forni oven as rectangles with a crispy base with a range of toppings from zucchini flower and ricotta to mushroom. The pizzas are baked throughout the day. While waiting for our pizzas I see a filled baguette sandwich in four varieties - never one to resist a sandwich we order a mortadella and stracciatella cheese with pistachios. Shlomi is about to make some fresh bread so he pops some dough in the oven and bakes it fresh. 10 minutes later out comes our slices of pizza. You can get a large box for $65 or a medium box for $34 or paying by the slice or weight is $5.90 per 100g.
The most popular pizzas here are the Roman Bianca and the Mushroom Bianca, both white pizzas. The Roman has roasted potatoes, mozzarella, herbs, pesto and parmesan while the mushroom has a mix of mushrooms from champignon, portobello and enoki with a parmesan cream sauce, kale, chilli, mozzarella and parmesan. And that crust? It's magnificent - it's so crunchy that you can hear the sound in your ears as you take a bite. It's also beautifully thin. One bite takes me back to sunny Roman holidays where we would stand at the counter and order pizzas by the slice.
We are actually trying 8 varieties today (basically everything from the cabinet) and my favourite is the classic margarita made with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, grana padano, parmesan and basil as well as the eggplant pizza with roasted eggplant, fior de latte, mozzarella, tomato sauce, chilli, rocket and parmesan.
I also really enjoy the pizza with polenta sauce, shallots and feta cheese for something quite different. The hot salami and jalapeno with spicy salami, cheddar, arugula, tomato and jalapeno is also tasty. The only one we don't really go for as much as the others is the daily special of zucchini flower and ricotta. While it is undeniably pretty it does need a bit of chilli oil added to it for a bit of a flavour boost. I also recommend eating the pinzas there so that you can really appreciate the texture of that crunchy crust.
Then we try the sandwich. The bread is warm, blistered and brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt flakes. It's filled with folds of thinly sliced mortadella, a torn cloud of stracciatella cheese and finely chopped pistachios, an absolutely killer combination. "I never trust anyone that doesn't like mortadella," says Monica, her eyes serious. Holy heavens if I loved the pizza or pinza, the sandwich is absolutely on par with it. The freshly made bread is remarkably light with large pockets of air and the softest dough with a crisp crust. A whole baguette doesn't come cheap at $21 but I have a strong urge to order another full one and then sit in the car and eat it all by myself.
We have to try the desserts because of Shlomi's experience as a pastry chef. There are two desserts served in jars. The first is a Valrhona Chocolate Jar with whipped manjari dark chocolate ganache, opalys white chocolate, crushed chocolate cake and raspberries. This is nice when you get a bit of everything on your spoon. However my favourite dessert is always tiramisu. Shlomi's version uses house made lady finger biscuits (he looks aghast at the idea of using store bought), mascarpone cream, espresso, vanilla bean and brandy and this is so beautifully light you don't even think that it's too much after eating a lot of pizza and sandwich.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried Roman style pizza? What do you think of it? And do you like the idea of buying it by weight or do you think you'd buy it by whole pizza instead?
This meal was independently paid for.
Ta Ta Ta
10 Gray St, Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Phone: (02) 8542 1726
Hours: Monday closed
Tuesday to Saturday 11:30 am–9 pm
Sunday 5–9 pm