Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gigi, Newtown

I love getting emails from readers, especially the kind where they thoughtfully read your blog and understand exactly where you are coming from.  A few weeks ago, I received an email from a reader urging us to try her brother's ricotta cheesecake, as quite a few customer's claim that it is better than the legendary Pasticceria Papa's ricotta cheesecake.  However, she did mention that it all came down to personal preference at the end of the day.  Of course with Cheesecake Boy's intense love for Pasticceria Papa's ricotta cheesecake we were more than intrigued.

For Cheesecake Boy and I, it's a huge call to say a ricotta cheesecake can top the one at Pasticceria Papa's.  We actually get offended for Pasticceria Papa when people tell us they don't like the ricotta cheesecake, or I think their taste buds might need to be checked.  As a matter of fact, Cheesecake Boy could not stop thinking that there really might be a better cheesecake out there, so as soon as we could, we dashed over to Gigi's for their ricotta cheesecake and some pizza too.   

When it comes to what pizzas Cheesecake Boy and I prefer munching on, we clash big time.  Cheesecake Boy will not eat a vegetarian pizza and I'm not keen on cured meats.  We seem to meet each other half way when it comes to seafood, so that's how I decided on the gamberi and rucola pizza.

Our pizza was topped with tomato, garlic, fresh prawns, cherry tomatoes, fresh parsley, chilli and rocket.  It looked wonderfully rustic when it arrived, but I could smell the faint fishiness of the prawns coming through.  Undeterred, I decided to give the prawns a try as sometimes the scent of food can be misleading.  Unfortunately, after eating three prawns, they all tasted fishy and were overcooked, so I had to push the prawns aside.  The pizza base on the other hand was thin, but soft and chewy to the bite and was topped with crushed tomatoes that didn't overpower the rest of the ingredients.  Although, I could not detect the chilli coming through, they were more than generous with the rocket.

Gamberi e rucola, $20.50

Cheesecake Boy and I decided to mix things up and instead of ordering another pizza we went for a calzone instead.  Cheesecake Boy chose the calzone con prosciutto and funghi that was stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, double smoked leg ham, mushroom, spinach and topped with a dash of tomato sauce, a sprinkling of parmesan and garnished with some basil leaves. 

Calzone con prosciutto e funghi, $19.00

This was easily the biggest calzone that I have eaten in a while.  I really enjoyed this calzone even though I was skeptical due to the double smoked ham.  However, the double smoked ham in this instance was nice and sweet.  The ricotta added a lovely creaminess, and you could really taste the fresh mushrooms and spinach coming through each bite.  The dollop of tomato sauce provided just the right rich acidity against the creaminess of the cheeses, and the freshness of the basil really rounded off the flavours.  There really is something to be said for letting the natural flavours of each ingredient shine through here.

We knew we wanted the ricotta cheesecake, but Cheesecake Boy and I couldn't decide between the chocolate tart or the cannoli.  We ended up asking our waiter for some help to settle this, and it seemed that the chocolate tart was the way to go.  The dark chocolate tart was served with homemade icy vanilla gelato and chocolate sauce, and although it looked unassuming, it was actually a beautiful dessert.  This chocolate tart really won Cheesecake Boy over.  However,  I also really enjoyed this delightful combination of crumbly short crust pastry against the soft and moist dark chocolate cake filling that was perfectly sweeten by the generous pool of chocolate sauce.

Chocolate tart, $7

We finally made it to the baked ricotta cheesecake, and this really was a case of saving the best for last in my books anyway.  The ricotta cheesecake here is made with ricotta and fresh vanilla bean that has been baked in a short pastry crust and was served with a sprinkle of crushed, but chewy almond praline bits.  In Cheesecake Boy's opinion there is no doubt that the ricotta cheesecake at Pasticceria Papa wins hands down.  However in my opinion, you simply cannot compare the two creations, as they are both truly lovely in their own way. 

We did come here to compare in all honesty, so I guess the main differences were that the version at Gigi's is more like a traditional baked cheesecake, as oppose to Pasticceria Papa's version that I always think of as a ricotta pie.   The ricotta filling at Pasticceria Papa's is decadently creamy, to the point that I am usually limited to a couple of slices on a very hungry day, whereas the baked cheesecake here really melted in my mouth and felt as light as a feather going down.  The one thing that both these cheesecakes have in common is that they each have a distinct subtle beauty, that is awfully hard to resist.  However, with Gigi's version the addition of the chewy almond praline heightens the subtle sweetness, and I can really see why some may prefer this version over Pasticceria Papa's take on ricotta cheesecake.  All I can say is that if Gigi's baked ricotta cheesecake was ever sold whole, I would definitely purchase one.

Baked ricotta cheesecake, $8

There's not many establishments left where you'd find friends catching up on some tables and families with little kiddies on others in perfect harmony.  Cheesecake Boy and I enjoyed the easy and relaxed environment of Gigi's.  The food was generally nice with only one disappointment, but it really was the home style desserts that captured our hearts.  Well, that baked ricotta cheesecake has mine for now, all thanks to one lovely email. 

Munching away, Dumpling Girl.

379 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
Ph: (02) 9557 2224

Gigi Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


Cooking Gallery said...

The pizza and the calzone look totally delish...!! I should try eating pizza with rucola too, yum!

john@heneedsfood said...

It's been quite some time since I was last ay Gigi's. I remember the pizza was quite good and it looks like when I return I need to try that cheesecake!

rockahenry said...

your aversion to cured meats has brought you down 2 levels on the cool-o-meter.

food does look good though :P

sugarpuffi said...

omg that choc tart looks deadly good!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

Aaw hehe I don't think many guys would order vegetarian, even if they wanted it! The ricotta cheesecake does look quite nice though

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello CG, I love rocket and pizza together. I'm sure with your skills you could definitely whip one up :)

Hi John, the cheesecake on your next visit is a must for sure. Except don't share like I did, lol.

Hey rockahenry, lol, it was initially an aversion due to health reasons, now I usually find it way too salty after all the time apart.

Hi sugarpuffi, it's not over sweet and it was quite velvety too.

Hello Vivian, you probably are right about guys and veggies, but I can hope right? If you are ever up that way, the cheesecake was really lovely.

chocolatesuze said...

its been a while since ive been to newtown but i reckon that cheesecake might finally make me go there!

jack said...

I'm not usually a fan of cheesecakes but that baked ricotta cheesecake looks really light and delicious. And the chocolate tart! It looks perfect, wish I could have a slice of that right now :)

JasmyneTea said...

Yum, that chocolate tart looks luscious, and I much prefer a light ricotta cheesecake to something heavier.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Suze, a trip to Newtown for cheesecake sounds like a great idea :)

Hey Jack, if you are not usually a fan of cheesecake, then I highly recommend this one.

Hi JasmyneTea, they were both really good, I'd side slightly more with the cheesecake though.

Von said...

I've yet to try the cheesecake at Pasticceria Papa's but this one looks good too! But not as good as the chocolate tart- it looks amazing!

Phuoc'n Delicious said...

I love cheesecake that aren't too heavy, this sounds heavenly

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Phuoc'n Delicious, if you love lighter cheesecakes then this is definitely one to consider.

Mel said...

I've walked past this cafe so many times...looks like great food. You're right though you can't compare cheesecakes...they just look so different.

Miss Kimbers said...

The cheesecake looks lovely. So lovely that I am listing this place on my 'Sydney to do list' for the week after Christmas!
Need to try this! Thank you for sharing:)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey MissPiggy, even though they both look different, the cheesecake here is still special.

Hello Miss Kimbers, hope you enjoy the cheesecake as much as I did then, and have a lovely Christmas :)