A couple of months ago the folks at the Australian Good Food Guide asked me if I wanted to visit a new Italian joint on King Street Newtown. I’m always down for food, especially Italian food so off I headed with good friend Kat. I wasn’t expecting too much, I didn’t read too much and the new LA FAVOLA was opening in the old building where stoner burger joint D’MUNCHIES was located, loved that place haha.
What I did not expect was to discover this little gem was one of the best Italian joints in Sydney and a place I have raved about incessantly since our visit.
LA FAVOLA STORY:
LA FAVOLA is the brainchild of Chef Fabio Stefanelli and business partner Alex Busse. Born and raised just outside Naples, Chef Stefanelli did a stint at Cucinetta in Woolwich. Before that he worked at Fico in Hobart, under Italian celebrity-chef Carlo Cracco at his Milano diner Ristorante Cracco, and before that Rossellini’s near Amalfi. These restaurants have five Michelin stars between them. He knows his way around fine dining, but LA FAVOLA is simple Italian soul food cooked perfectly. Less stress and something that might not be challenging him too much but is bringing 5 Star Experience to a simpler venue – and everything we saw and tasted was perfection.
I have been to quite a few Italian restaurants this year and the odd thing that has struck me on most of the visits is that only about half of them were actually ran by Italians. I had been to three in the one week with LA FAVOLA being my last and to be honest I wasn’t really feeling a huge amount of excitement in the lead up. The first one I went to was a great little pizza joint, one Italian owner, non Italian Kitchen, the second was an Italian owner and an entire Asian kitchen staff – no issue with the race of the chefs but when I walked into LA FAVOLA the staff were so Italian we had difficulty understanding our waiter and visa versa.
By the end of our meal at LA FAVOLA I wanted to hug our waiter, he posed for pictures, tried his best to explain all the dishes or got Chef when he couldn’t and he tended to our needs like a true professional. One of the best waitstaff of 2018.
LA FAVOLA VENUE:
The venue is simple, welcoming and efficient with lots of light tones and woods. Picture an Italian restaurant with Scandi Ikea design, Italian decor and tradition this is not. LA FAVOLA appears designed for maximum efficiency. Two tables outside the venue, counter and simple bar to the left of entry then as many tables as will fit without being crowded and behind this an open cooking kitchen with another prepping kitchen out back.
Chef’s skills and training ensure this is one of the single cleanest kitchens I have seen. Everything is neat and tidy and scrubbed to shiny. The kitchen counter opens up to reveal drawers filled with the premade pastas that sit coiled beautifully awaiting their boiled water.
The menu is simple to say the least. Six pasta types, six pasta sauces – mix and match – the choice is yours. They also have six starters, three sides and three desserts. Take note of any specials they are serving because out of nowhere they will cook a squid ink fettuccine with marron that will blow your mind. They like to describe their venue as “Italian Fast Food” and while it is fast do not put it in the “fast food” category.
Everything is made on site and prepared to make the food as swiftly as possible. The amount of preparation in the food is technically impressive. The beef pasta sauce is stewed for four hours every morning and the citrus fruits in the canollo are stewed for up to five hours daily. They make all their own pasta, sauces and stocks at the start of each day and the freshness emanates on every plate.
WHAT WE WERE SERVED:
Focaccia with garlic, oregano, rosemary and a bow of fresh olives
Carpaccio – crude meats, parmesan, rocket, truffle oil
Ceviche – this was a special – not too many details
Burrata – another delicious special. Served nested in a prosciutto atop cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of basil and olive oil
Squid Ink Fettuccine with Marron and other Seafood
Paccheri Broccoli e Salsiccia – pork sausage, broccoli, garlic, white wine and basil
Basil Gnocchi, heirloom cherry tomatoes and burrata
Fettuccine Carbonara with pancetta, creamy eggs, parmesan and onion
Cannolo Siciliano with creamy ricotta, chocolate and orange
Bombolone alla Nutella – stuffed Italian doughnuts
Vanilla Panna Cotta with coconut crumble, rhubarb compote – another special
WHAT MADE US FOODGASM:
The Aperol Spritz was refreshing but standard and very colourful. Their signature cocktail was something incredibly new for me. Imagine blending a bruschetta without the bread and that’s what it tasted like. Incredibly light and refreshing with strong sweet tomato and basil flavours. I want one now!
The fresh focaccia was delightful and the carpaccio was a delicious piece of meat art. Making it with Black Angus Beef added another level of tasty. The ceviche was fresh and wonderfully citrus. The Burrata was a fluffy gooey cloud but we got this Burrata and another Burrata on the Gnocchi – too much haha. We, of course, finished it however.
The Carbonara was so fresh and tasty but I took this one home for dinner that night because I needed to completely devour the entire Squid Ink Fettuccine with Marron (and other Seafood) because OMG it was AMAZING!! I watched the pasta come out of the little drawers, I watched the entire thing get cooked and then we devoured every molecule off the plate. So light, so skillfully flavoured, and just stunning to look at and photograph.
And it wasn’t my fave – that went to the sublime Paccheri Broccoli e Salsiccia. Pork sausage, broccoli, garlic, white wine, and basil cooked with one of the best pastas I have ever eaten. Paccheri is basically an oversized tube pasta – but al dente took on another level with this pasta – every mouthful had my toes curling and my eyes rolling back. #Foodgasm
And we ended our carbfest with a wonderful special – basil gnocchi with heirloom cherry tomatoes and burrata. I love anything gnocchi but by this stage I was so full, had already devoured a burrata and quite a lot of tomatoes. This would make a wonderful summer meal – if it’s on the specials give it a go. Point of note – they run a gnocchi masterclass at LA FAVOLA – you will find me at one of them this year when they release dates – I have always wanted to know how to make it!!
I could hardly talk by this stage, walking was out of the question, and a wheelbarrow was required to get me home! we had eaten so much food and we still had three desserts to go. Kat wanted none of them but changed her mind when she tasted them.
The Panna Cotta was unique with a rhubarb compote and coconut crumble, I loved those flavours. This might return in the cooler months. The Nutella stuffed doughnuts were just cruel – they had to be devoured, because Nutella, no other reason required.
The winner was the cannoli – the creamy ricotta with chocolate and orange gave them a citrus “Jaffa” like taste. The pistachio dipped ends added a nice texture and who doesn’t love pistachios!!! Need these babies again!
Chef Fabio Stefanelli brings years of fine-dining expertise to LA FAVOLA. What we get on good old King Street Newtown is fine dining pasta perfection in a “fast food” environment. Not only some of the finest pasta I have eaten in the last year but some of the best I have eaten in my life. I cannot wait to return for more food and one of their Gnocchi Classes. Bon appétit!
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets & 1/1 bonus
LA FAVOLA DEETS:
PH: 02 8021 0002.
170 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
PRICING: Very Expensive
Mon-Fri: 530 – 11pm
Sat-Sun: 1130am – 3pm & 530 – 11pm
LOCAL DELIVERY: Deliveroo, Uber Eats
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes – limted
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes – limited
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
BYO: Wine only – $12- per bottle
*** Spooning Australia Dined at Favola as a Guest of the Venue and the Australian Good Food Guide ***
For more reviews of Newtown Restaurants – check them out HERE