Night Owl has told me before that Italian is one of her least-favourite cuisines to have out. For her, there’s often a too-heavy hand when it comes to seasoning, can be carb-laden, and she reckons I make some of the best pasta that she has ever had (beams).
Pizza dough however, is something I have never attempted to make myself. It’s simply too much work when there’s just two people for dinner, and you have to buy all the different toppings to only use bits and pieces of them. I much prefer not only not having to stand beside a hot oven, but also being able to share a few different pizzas with a few choice friends – more selection, and much more fun!
Sometime late last year I had discovered Maybe Frank through Instagram, and was attracted by their large variety of pizzas and mains, as well as their solid selection of cocktails on the drinks list. My experience of many Sydney venues is that they are very good at either food or drinks – rarely both – so when it came to an opportunity to catch up over dinner with some friends in the Surry Hills area, I put it forward as a suggestion.
I’ve since come twice – with a couple of weeks in between the two occasions, and on both occasions the parties were very eager to combine two of the grazing platters – a meat and a cheese platter. They come with deep-fried bread, but I have to say that there was quite a significant size difference between the boards on the first and second occasion… with the one we ordered the second time being quite a bit more generous.
There’s no way you can order a “larger” one, from what I can see on the menu. But regardless of size, both boards were delicious – with draped slices of mortadella, salami, prosciutto and bresaola, a variety of cheeses that ranged from sharp and tangy to creamy blues. The blue went beautifully with a bit of honey and piece of walnut. The deep fried bread was hot and deliciously chewy – perfect for mopping up remnants of honey and olive oil.
The platters are a good opportunity to relax over a couple of house cocktails, especially during aperitivo and Happy Hour! I can attest that they do excellent Aperol Spritzes, Americanos, and Negorinis. Grande!
On my second visit there, we had taken the liberty of ordering off the antipasti menu. The Gnoccho Fritto are little fried chewy pockets of air, dusted with Parmesan and a high intensity dark chocolate. to be dipped in a luxurious truffle Pecorino sauce. Very tasty.
On the second occasion (we obviously ordered a lot more food that evening), a friend had also requested to order the Lasagne Al Pesto, “Papa Vito’s tin layered lasagne sheets, traditional pesto, beschamel and grana cheese. It was slightly on the oily side, but the basil fragrance was beautifully heady. A lovely dish that was devoured way too quickly.
And yes, of course Maybe Frank do some of the best wood-fired pizza I’ve tasted. On my visits I’ve sampled the Margherita, the Alba, the Capricciosa, and the Tartufo. The Tartufo is mightily fine for the truffle-lover – full of porcini mushrooms, truffle oil and lots of grana cheese. Meanwhile the toppings on the Alba and the Capricciosa were some of the most generous I’ve ever seen, and on both occasions the parties I’ve been with have been unable to finish everything on their plates.
Whether or not you’re planning to hit the Oxford Street area for a party, Maybe Frank is a short walk away from the buzz and a wonderful place to relax and sample some good-quality simple Italian food and cocktails among friends. I definitely will be making this one of my regular haunts for a social call!
417-421 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9357 3838