New kid on the block: Frankie’s Pizza Joint

 

“Casual, chic, disco, fun,” is how owner of Frankie’s Pizza Joint, Alana Matthews, sums up the new Darwin City restaurant/bar.

Located in the Smith Street Mall (the old Viva’s bar), a stone’s throw away from PM Eat & Drink, the tapas restaurant Alana and husband Ji opened to acclaim in 2016, Frankie’s is very much the couple’s “second child”. Quite literally.

As well as the pair’s second business, Frankie is also the name picked out for a potential second child.

Inside this new kid on the foodie block, the first thing you notice is the shiny disco ball hanging from the ceiling complete with neon pink lights. It sets the mood from the moment you walk in the door.

“We wanted to create a place that was really casual and fun where you could be sitting with friends drinking wine and having a great time and then you look at the time and realise its 1:30am,” says Ji.

Like the décor, the wine list is also a point of difference to PM. It’s noticeably cheaper. And deliberately so.

Alana and Ji make no secret Frankie’s is targeting a younger crowd with disco beats and a DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.

Speaking of wine, of course they’re all Italian, much like the two chefs in the kitchen who hail from Milan and Venice and make all the pizza dough, pasta and bread on site everyday from scratch.

And it shows. The gnocchi was the best we’ve ever had.

Five stars also goes to the venue’s signature cocktail, Frankie’s Sweet Heart.

In keeping with the blush colour palette of the interiors, it’s a sweeter, “pink” take on the traditional Aperol Spritz with Limoncello and cranberry added.

Which brings us to the pizza. And yes we saved the best for last.

As Ji says: “They’re light and fresh and won’t leave you with a food coma.”

We had the FFPJ, the pizza named after the venue, with prosciutto, cherry tomato, rocket, fior di latte (Italian mozzarella) and oregano.

But wait, we hear you say, what does the extra F stand for?

Well, after spending months pouring blood, sweat and tears into the new business, Ji says the name evolved into something else… F*cking Frankie’s Pizza Joint – FFPJ see?

As for our verdict on the new place?

It’s F*cking awesome.

 

Frankie’s Pizza Joint

Paspalis Building, Smith Street Mall (the old Viva’s bar)

Open:

Tues-Thurs 12pm-10pm

Fri-Sat 12pm-2am

More information here.

Eat Local Dinner @ Wharf One

When you say the word “hump” a few things might spring to mind…but we bet a mouth-watering serve of beef isn’t one of them.

But, that’s exactly what was served up at Wharf One’s ‘Eat Local Dinner’ prepared by former MasterChef contestant, Lynton Tapp as part of the inaugural Territory Taste Festival last week.

The special four-course dinner with matching wines featured produce sourced locally (think fresh seafood like prawns, ah-mazing barramundi, mackerel, kangaroo, citrus flavours and damper) with Lynton basically serving up his idea of the Northern Territory on a plate.

And, having grown up on a remote cattle farm, the Territory chef made the bold choice of plating up Brahman Hump.

For the non-Territorians out there, Brahman cattle is often considered the poor cousin to the Angus steak you normally carve up at your fav restaurant but you might not know that this tasty cow is actually our main cattle exported overseas.

The Brahman is easily identified by it’s stand-out “hump” over the withers at the back of their necks. Apparently, it helps the animal survive in hot, arid conditions ie. the Northern Territory.

Now, we’re not going to lie.. there were a few raised eyebrows on our table after it was revealed the Brahman Hump was on the menu and yes, a few verses of the Black Eyed Peas were sung at various points during the night…

But, it was absolutely delicious! Everyone was genuinely surprised at how tender the meat was comparing it to pulled pork. The Hump was served with blackened cucumber and fermented chilli and was hands-down our fav dish of the night.

But enough about the food … what about the wine?!

As part of the dinner, the winemakers up from down south for the Territory Taste Festival talked about each wine presented, which as you can imagine involved a fair few LOL’s (these guys do drink for a living after all). Our fav drops were the Salome Tempranillo Rosé and the Woodstock Chardonnay.

Quote of the night went to the winemaker who said he “feels naked without a Chardonnay in his hand”…

All we can say to that is… Welcome to the Northern Territory. We’ve got no beef with that here.

 

Restaurant: Wharf One Food & Wine

Chef: Lynton Tapp

More information about the Territory Taste Festival here.

Territory Taste Festival

Good food, great wine, a mojito (or two) a beer garden and sunshine were the ingredients for a perfect weekend at the inaugural Territory Taste Festival at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The size of the Festival blew us away.. it was huge! And it was just as well as the place was packed with organisers saying the Fest attracted a crowd of 10,000 over the weekend.

It was a pretty hot so thank god most of the event was held indoors in the air conditioning. There were all kinds of food on offer from scones and jam to paella to loaded fries complete with jalapenos (mmmm loooooooooooooove jalapenos).

We were also fortunate to taste some incredible barramundi cooked up by legendary Australian Chef, Matt Moran, on the big screen at one of the Festival’s many live cooking demonstrations. Needless to say it was delish.

But, the highlight for us was the wine bar hosted by Liquor Down Under.

It was literally standing room only as Darwinites and visitors gathered around wine barrels to taste test drops hailing from wineries in Margaret River, the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. In true Darwin-style, strangers became friends and things got pretty chatty pretty fast.

A couple of the winemakers on hand remarked at their surprise at how popular the stand was as they were told Territorians were “beer drinkers”.

Well, if the Territory Taste Festival was anything to go by, the beer drinkers might have to move over.

These days it seems you’re more likely to find an Espresso Martini and a glass of red in our beer gardens.

Cheers to that.

Sunday Sesh @ Taste Festival

The perfect Sunday Sesh was had by approx. half of Darwin at the annual Taste Food & Wine Festival at SKYCITY Casino on the May Day long weekend.

We always love going to the Taste Fest each year – the Casino lawns are one of the most beautiful locations in Darwin with ocean-views and front row sunset seats.

Speaking of seats… it was pretty hard to get some it was that busy.

Loved the live band which turned into DJ chilled beats… perfect with Vodka, cranberry and lime cocktails and jugs of Pimms (the Pimms was so popular it sold out at around 7pm…!)

Definitely one of the major highlights on Darwin’s social calendar.

We’ll be back next year.