When Alfredo Repole opened Pizzeria da Alfredo he was worried. Even though he's been making pizza since he was 11 (most of it in a famous Naples pizzeria and after at Via Napoli in Lane Cove), this was his first solo project and he was concerned no one would come. With just $20 in his bank account, only himself in the kitchen and two floor staff, Pizzeria da Alfredo opened to 100 customers on the first night. Every day since has been busier.
He thinks it's because, unlike most pizza joints in Sydney, he makes "real" pizza.
Repole is Neapolitan and, like the chefs at Lucio's and Da Mario, he is a strict devotee of the traditional rules of Neapolitan pizza making. It must have a thin, elastic base with a puffy, blistered edge and be topped only with ingredients from the south-western Italian region of Campania. And it has to be cooked in an extremely hot woodfired oven for 60 to 90 seconds. "Sometimes people come and say, 'Ah, the pizza is soggy,' but this pizza is not Italian pizza, it is Neapolitan pizza. It is different," says Repole.
The two most classic Neapolitan styles are the marinara (tomato, basil, garlic and oregano) and the margherita (tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and oil). "Pizza Napolitano is not like [what you get from] Dominos, with every ingredient on it. The pizza is more simple, more good, and it's all about the dough." As well as the four-cheese, spicy-salami, and the sausage-and-potato pizza, Repole also serves metre-long pizzas, a "mystery pizza" that changes each night, and a small menu of carb-heavy non-pizza items.
Repole is particularly proud of his seafood linguini and the paccheri Genovese, a long, tubular pasta served with a slow-cooked beef stew. The same root-vegetable-heavy stew is used to make Montanara Genovese. The stew is rolled into balls, wrapped in pizza dough and deep-fried. With that you'll be drinking what Repole does when he isn't making pizza – Aperol spritzes, full-bodied Italian reds and dry whites.
The space has been designed to give you a rough idea of the places Repole used to cook in Neapolitan. The sunlit dark-timber dining room has exposed-brick walls and there are hanging grapes. On one wall colourful murals show scenes from Repole's hometown. On others there are paintings of his new home featuring Sydney Harbour and the streets of Glebe.