Adventures at Five Dock
What do you do on a Friday that's pouring down with rain? Photographer Lorrie Graham and I set off this miserable grey day in search of some food fun and decided to try our luck at Five Dock.
The shops at Great North Road look like they could do with some new neighbours. And yet, a few stalwarts anchor this main street and give it life, reassuring the locals against the ebbs and flows of business at this tricky economic time.
Peter and Serena have owned Ranieri's Continental Deli for over thirty years, and stepping into their traditional style deli will make you nostalgic for such places in Italy. A pristine, brightly lit glass counter runs almost the entire length of the store, behind which is a wonderland of antipasti items from grilled eggplant, olives, dried tomato and artichokes in oil, to balsamico varieties and the best range of olive oils. Prociutto translucent and dry, salami spicy and meaty, and hams in the palest of pink. Soft goats cheese, parmesan laced with truffle, hard and crumbly reggiano, bright on the tongue asiago, and so many other varieties are carefully cut from giant wheels, while many extra slices slide across the top of the counter on wax paper for tasting.
Exploring the racks and shelves around the store reveals a myriad dry good options. From biscotti in packets and cakes in boxes, and rum babas in jars, to pasta of every shape, dried oregano, chillies, nuts and fruits, the shelves are neatly packed and piled high.
The refrigerators are not to be bypassed where excellent locally made pizza bases wait to be taken home to an oven for dinner.
Having had our very satisfying fill of Ranieri's, Lorrie and I went in search of a coffee and a snack and tumbled into Pasticceria Tamborrino a few doors away.
Like stepping right into a Roman pastry shop, we were greeted by glass cases filled with neat rows of cakes large and small, slices, eclairs, tarts, biscuits, and of course the classics like sfogliatella and cannoli. A delicate sweet aroma of the finest pastry cream filled the air, and when we ordered coffee, the robust flavours of the beans joined this delicious olfactory experience.
This long established pastry haven has recently passed into the hands of another young Italian couple from Rome, who are eager to continue the fastidious standards which make the pastries and cakes here quite so special.
Having eaten a sfogliatella ( lobster claw shaped pastry of finely layered pastry and filled with chantilly cream) from a nearby neighbourhood, I'm here to tell you that Tamborrino's wins hand down. The phone call from an Italian friend who's pretty obsessive about his pastries confirming this, backs my claim.
Back home, I took a sly nibble out of Michael's little almond and pistachio biscuit in a paper bag and found them fresh, densely chewy with just the right amount of sweetness.
Give yourself a big treat and fill your senses with some of the best Italian pastries in Sydney at Tamborrino.
Wonderstruck and fully satiated after chats with two lovely women behind the counter in jaunty caps, and the proud and beaming new owner Mario, we walked further down Great North Road. the rain fell steadily, but we were well fortified with good coffee and pastries, not to mention earlier tastes at Ranieri's of cheeses, prosciutto and salami.........
A visit to Five Dock really should include a stop at Caminiti Butchery, established more than fifty years ago by patriarch Bruno. A meat lover's paradise, you won't find better cuts of your favourites than with the Caminiti family of butchers.
The kind of old fashioned butchery where you discuss the ideal cut of meat based on the recipe you have in mind, the pace exudes a genuine air of hospitality and passion for their trade.
Smiles and kind enquiries about family and the state of the world interlace orders for everything from a specially stuffed porchetta, crumbed veal schnitzels and tender lamb shoulder all the way to marinated vegetables, ricotta cannelloni and lasagne. I went home with a few parcels including plump baby pork sausages which were perfect with poached eggs and roast tomatoes - I'm still dreaming of those.
Our soggy Friday ended up being a load of fun. Lorrie and I parked behind Ranieri's Continental Deli in a lot offering free parking for a couple of hours. There are also numerous little side streets with no restrictions on them. Have some fun yourself at Five Dock- you'll be welcomed in, Italian style.
Images from Caminiti Butchery are from their website.
The tender portrait of Peter and Serena, as well as the 'please eat me' shot of the sfogiatella are by the talented Lorrie Graham, photographer.
Ranieri's Continental Deli
97 Great N Rd,
75 Great N Rd,
185 Great North Road, Five Dock NSW 2046 Phone (02) 9713 7027