Since its humble beginnings in Byron Bay 17 years ago, and subsequent move to Bondi Beach in 1999, Pompei's has cemented itself as one of Australia's best known and loved pizzerias and gelatarias.
Behind the mountainous scoops of artisan gelato, delicious bowls of freshly handcrafted silky pasta, and authentic crisp stoned baked pizzas, is the legendary owner, George Pompei. Instilling a food philosophy that focuses on the finest fresh ingredients, including lots of organic and bio dynamic produce, sourced from a special group of equally passionate growers and providores, George recreates the wonderful rustic recipes of his Venetian childhood.
George’s passion for Italian cuisine is infectious, drawing on his Italian heritage and experiences living and cooking in Northern Italy. As head of the kitchen, George is constantly creating and reinventing the Pompei experience.
“Everything is prepared on-site using the best and freshest ingredients,” said George, and he focuses on providing rustic regional dishes that, without fail, transform first time visitors into regulars come rain, hail or shine. Each dish is inextricably tied to George and his experiences as he sets about his quest to serve truly authentic regional Italian food in an eclectic Bondi Beach setting.
The redesigned restaurant interior with seven different mosaic tiles, warm timber finishes, and marble, resonate with George’s Venetian heritage, and the newly created separate wood panelled dining room takes you directly to the mountain huts high in the Dolomites. There is also plenty of sunny outdoor seating, a perfect vantage spot to watch Bondi sweep past.
The gelato and sorbetto are made fresh every day onsite in Bondi Beach, a freshness that translates into ‘real’ taste with every mouthful of seasonal fruit flavours. A quick glance of George’s daily flavours in his gleaming old-fashioned gelato and sorbetto counter immediately alert you to what fruit is currently at its very seasonal best. In summer, look out for white peach, fig, mango, watermelon and as the weather cools, granny smith apple, blood orange and even quince.
Pompei’s menu caters for lunch and dinner every day except Monday. A must-try, signature dish is the Casunziei all’Ampezzana featuring Pompei’s house-made crescent pasta, filled with beetroot and served in a butter, poppy seed and sage sauce. “It’s THE dish from Cortina, from times past when Cortina was a poor area,” said George. “Originally, it was made to use freely available, low-cost local produce, but now, it is a great specialty that is on top of the list for every visitor to Cortina.” If you come in the afternoon you can even see the casunziei being hand-made on a long marble table in the middle of the restaurant.
Then there are the pizzas, which Gabriele Bonci, Italy’s most famous pizza maker, describes as “bellissimo, incredibile, fragrante, and beautiful.” Pompei’s proofs its dough for 48 hours to ensure a light and crisp base and uses stone-ground unbleached flour, organic extra virgin olive oil, Snowy Mountain’s spring water, and sea salt. The pizzas are cooked on a stone hearth and emerge from the scorching oven perfectly crispy on the edges and with a wonderful crisp but succulent centre. Real Northern Italian pizza at its best!
The same meticulous attention to detail, quality and authenticity is applied in Pompei’s other delicious regional dishes ranging from antipasti to veal, fish and desserts; transporting culinary delights to you from the dramatic vertical pale and coloured peaks of the Dolomites to world famous Bondi Beach.