You’ll need a napkin on hand to eat this bad boy. Butter will dribble down your chin, run down your hand and drip onto your dinner plate. And isn’t that bloody excellent.
Don Peppino’s $4 garlic bread (bargain!) isn’t done the traditional way – meaning a garlic butter concoction is spread on a sliced baguette and warmed up, à la the Italian dinners of your childhood.
Nope, the Full Circle crew – which is behind the one-year Italian restaurant pop-up in Paddington – use a semi-sourdough roll from nearby Organic Bread Bar that is delivered to the restaurant as part of a roll wheel (meaning a cluster of rolls attached in the shape of a wheel).
When ordered, the rolls are pulled off the wheel, heated in a bread oven so the edges get a little crunchy and the centre remains soft. A small incision is made with a knife and then Don’s golden good stuff is piped in.
“We caramelise garlic in butter, like a kilogram of cloves, so it goes brown, and then the butter is caramelised so it also goes brown and really rich,” says chef Daniel Johnston (ex Vini and Berta). “Then we process that [in a food processor] and then mix through softened butter and add in raw garlic – which you need to give it that depth. We then add in finely chopped marjoram.”
The dollop of butter isn’t warmed; the heat of the bread is what melts it as it’s transported to your table, perfectly timed for you to take a bite and moments later smile.
And before you say this isn’t really an Italian dish, that’s okay, it doesn’t need to be – we're totally into Italian-American hybrid dishes. Everyone should be. And sure, I totally realise last month’s I Can’t Stop Thinking About instalment also championed bread. I say, what a time to be alive.
“I Can't Stop Thinking About” is a series on Sydney dishes Broadsheet Sydney editor Sarah Norris has an unnatural obsession with.