If you yearn for comfort and familiarity, head to SUD where simple and authentic southern Italian style dishes are made with love.
While many people are trying to find the next big thing, owner and Head Chef, Paolo Gatto, is celebrating a return to simple, honest food – just like Nonna used to make.
Paolo studied at four- and five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants in his hometown of Taormina in Sicily and throughout Europe. Despite this, he still counts lunches at Nonna Ada’s among his most memorable culinary memories. During these long Sunday lunches she would cook macaroni with a smoky, slow-cooked meat sauce. Paolo’s love for this home-style of cooking is clearly evident throughout SUD’s menu.
This style of cooking requires a connection to fresh produce. Paolo keeps this connection alive by personally heading to the markets every two days to select the high quality ingredients. SUD’s menu isn’t overly long, but this allows Paolo to be inspired by the markets, creating weekly specials based on seasonal ingredients.
There are some mainstays on the menu. Start with traditional bruschetta – freshly baked pizza crust topped with diced truss tomato, garlic, basil, oregano and onion, or a serve of Paolo’s famous polpette della nonna – homemade meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. The recipe for this popular dish comes directly from Nonna’s recipe book and stays true to Sicilian culinary traditions.
As you work your way through the menu, there are plenty more authentic Italian recipes to be found. Try the diavola pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella, capsicum and olives, with a little heat from salami and chilli flakes.
One of SUD’s signature pasta dishes comes from another of Nonna’s recipes. It’s complete with minced veal and beef, slow cooked for a minimum of four hours in a deep, rich tomato sauce. Slow cooking is somewhat of a specialty at SUD; another favourite is a four-hour cooked pork belly roulade, stuffed with herbs and served with chat potatoes and peas.
Save room for dessert; baked goods are just another of Paolo’s specialities. Indulge in crispy cannoli shells filled with your choice of vanilla, chocolate or ricotta-flavoured custard. Another popular choice is a slice of torta pere e ricotta – a double almond sponge cake stuffed with ricotta custard and poached pears.
While Paolo is in the kitchen, his wife, Rita, looks after the beverage offerings. Rita fills the wine list with a delicious selection from all over southern Italy, with a special focus on wines from their home region of Sicily.
This dedication to authentic Italian offerings extends to the restaurant’s layout, which resembles a putia – a traditional Italian-style grocery store. These stores were the heart of home-style cooking, a place you could find all you need to cook at home, as well as pre-cooked delicious meals, including SUD’s signature dishes of pasta, pizza and roast pork.
SUD provides a true taste of Sicily and for Paolo there is no greater compliment than when a diner compares his cooking to that of their Nonna’s. The best feedback he can receive is that he has evoked a happy memory from the past.