Eating with the AU: Janus Italian at Westfield Sydney

Since the Centrepoint Tower’s shopping centre remodeled and re-opened its doors a few years ago as Westfield Sydney, the emphasis on quality food has been as much a priority as the hosting of the hottest international clothing brands. Their food court is widely regarded as the best in Sydney – with upmarket restaurants providing many of the options – and the restaurants themselves, mostly found on Level Six, have become acclaimed destinations in their own right.

One of the more recent additions to the ever increasing list of quality dining options is Janus, an Italian chain that has four – soon five – locations in Sydney. The first thing you notice about the restaurant are its prices. Whether it be insalate, pizza, pasta or an Italian burger, you’re hard pressed to find a dish above $20, making it in a suitable price range for most, though featuring upscale presentation and quality that would leave you expecting to have paid more. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?

I attended on invitation for lunch, which seems to feature the same menu as dinner. The food was delivered quickly and service was phenomenal, which seems to indicate they’re doing well catering for local business lunches. Myself and my guest decided to share two starters and two mains – which proved more than enough for our stomachs.

We started off with the succulent Garlic Prawns ($14) and the Salt & Pepper Calamari ($13), both of which were well presented and just about everything you’d expect from a place such as this. The aioli, which is a must with calamari, was divine, and I recommend fitting on a good drizzle of the fresh lemon as well.

We went for a variation of an old standard for our pizza – the “Ham E Caramelized Pineapple” ($18). The “caramelizing” process for the pineapple brings out a sweeter flavour for the ingredient, and the freshly sliced, roasted leg ham was exactly what you want from a pizza like this. Perfectly cooked crust, fresh and high end ingredients – and somehow the price seems to be less than it is at CRUST. Go figure. I have no doubt all pizzas are of as good quality as this, and will definitely be back to try the others.

For the pasta, we went for a main serve of the Alaskan Crab Linguini ($24 for main size, $20 for entree size) Рthe most expensive dish on the menu (just to give you an idea of the range, not to try and point out we have expensive taste or anything!). The linguine is hand rolled, and you can taste the freshness with every bite. The mix of the crab Рand a healthy portion of it too Рwith the cherry tomatoes and haloumi is a surprising yet sound blend, and is perfectly complemented with garlic, white wine reduction and butter mint. This is a must have dish, at an honestly unbeatable price.

There are plenty of drinks on the menu too – from cocktails to a decent selection of wine and beer – that will suit any budget, though I kept to a soft drink on this occasion.

With fantastic price points and superior quality food, Janus looks like it will fast become one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Sydney.

Janus in the Westfield Sydney is open Monday to Sunday, with Lunch and Dinner served all week from 11am to 9pm and Breakfast served on weekdays from 7am to 11am. More details can be found here: http://janus-sydney.com.au/janus-westfield

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.