Sopranos is one of those places that people just don't notice. Like St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, cleverly hidden in a shabby department store in London. The public's gaze seems to slide right over it, perhaps in a conscious effort to avoid the eyesore of peeling mannequins and dusty window displays. All the better for Britain's wizards and witches, who can come and go from St Mungo's as they please. Sopranos, however (being non-fictional), would probably appreciate a little more love and attention. And it certainly deserves it.
With Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam serving as a floor-to-ceiling backdrop, it's easy to tell that you've found a little slice of Italy. Or, in our case, a very big slice.
This was a regular-sized Pollo Palermo pizza, topped with chicken breast, bacon, smokey BBQ sauce, roasted capsicum and onion. If this was the regular, I can't imagine how epic the "large", or even "family-size" pizzas must be. Mmmm yum.
This was traditional pizza at its best - thick, doughy, and fluffy. None of those trendy, razor-thin crusts. Only mounds upon mounds of salty cheese, sweet roasted capsicum and smokey barbecue sauce. Generous portions to make you feel like you're eating at someone's private home.
Other gourmet pizzas on the menu had wonderfully quirky names like The Godfather (spiced pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, capsicum, olives and chilli), Mafioso (Italian sausage, roma tomato, roasted capsicum, spanish onion and garlic), Pavarotti (ham, garlic, prawns, mushroom and corn), and Al Capone (double-smoked ham, pepperoni, capsicum, roasted eggplant, spanish onion). Definitely need to try those men.
D and I also ordered fettucine boscaiola which arrived in a heaving mound of golden yellow pasta, swirling with bacon and mushroom, swimming in cream. Sopranos is serious about its portions.
The pasta was beautiful, soft and luscious, but retained just the right amount of bite.
Stuffed silly, and reclining in our chairs (well, as far as you can recline in a high-backed wooden chair), we were asked if we wished to order anything else, an offer we politely declined. Our waiter, who had been incredibly attentive all night ('Is the music too loud?'), nodded understandingly and disappeared around the corner. Five minutes later, this appeared.
'No, no! We didn't order anything else!' He merely shook his head in the face of our protests. 'Please, it's on the house.' His instincts had told him that we really did need something sweet to finish our meal, and would somehow find room in our stomachs to accommodate it. And accommodate we did. Warm, fudgy sticky date pudding, cooled by thin layers of cream and a scoop of fresh vanilla ice-cream on the side. The perfect way to end the night.
So if, in the depths of winter, you find yourself craving a warm, hot, satisfying meal, make your way to Sopranos for exceptional customer service and hearty homemade food that is hard to come by these days.
Until next time.