Whether it’s traditional Naples-style pizza, classic pasta dishes or their iconic wood-fired sandwiches, Vanto restaurant is the place to be when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine. Nestled on the first floor of the Queen Victoria Building, the hidden gem pays homage to traditional and modern Neapolitan cooking.
Noted as Ospitalità Italiana certified (which is a certification of quality Italian cuisine and hospitality), the bustling restaurant has been growing successfully since 2008. The restaurant was set up by a trio of Italian natives, including award-winning Neapolitan pizza chef, Luigi Peluso and alongside him is his managing partner Santino Agrillo and head chef Filippo Perra.
The AU Review caught up with Chef Luigi Peluso who spoke about all things pizza dough and the inspiration behind the menu at Vanto.
Not only has Peluso been making pizzas for 25 years, he actually studied chemistry at university which has aided him in creating the perfect pizza dough. “I grew up in Naples and studied chemistry at university. I used to work in a pizzeria in Naples when I was a teenager. So I have been making pizzas for 25 years. I was the first to bring Panuozzo to Sydney 10 years ago and it is our speciality here at Vanto. It is a traditional Naples sandwich from Gragnano which is made from pizza dough.”
Whilst pizza dough is technically only four ingredients, Peluso breaks down the fundamental process of how Vanto make their pizza dough from scratch. “The process is simple. You just need flour, salt and yeast and water. Once you’ve mixed the ingredients, the most important step is the maturation process. Where we leave the dough for around 3 days before we use it.”
Only once the pizza has matured, Peluso uses a Tuscan wood-fired pizza oven to create their classic Neapolitan pizzas and wood-fired sandwiches. “This process is really important because it makes the pizza really light. The maturation makes the protein become amino acids and the sugar into glucose. So that when you eat it your body doesn’t have to break down the complex sugars, complex protein or amino acids because it’s already been done during the maturation. This process makes the pizza really easy to digest.”
The menu has been derived from traditional Italian family recipes with contemporary alternatives such as gluten-free dough. Fresh and local ingredients have been utilised and have also been imported from Italy. This includes dishes such as the crostini stracciatella, pomodorini e acciughe which is their crostini bread with stracciatella cheese, cherry tomato confit and anchovies.
If you’re a pasta lover, their Pappardelle al ragu is slow cooked with beef and pork with parmesan cheese. Pizza fanatics can indulge in one of their signature wood-fired pizzas such as the Salsiccia, which is a white based pizza with mozzarella, truffle buffalo ricotta, parma prosciutto, parmesan, mushrooms and evoo. Sandwich enthusiasts will enjoy their Naples inspired wood-fired sandwiches with fillings from BBQ pork, pulled lamb, vegetariano and plenty more.
On the drinks front, Vanto has a beautiful collection of Italian wines such as their Fantinel pinot grigio, Loggia Carmina prosecco, Varvaglione primitivo, a classic peach bellini and a variety to choose from.
For more information around their menu, head on over to Vanto