Sitting smack bang in the middle of King Street’s more energetic half, Ballaro is a small but bright new shop pumping out authentic Sicilian-style street eats. Owned by two Italians, the space draws on inspiration from the oldest and most vibrant street market in Sicily with images of fresh produce and crates used to craft a cosy little seated area – even though the main function of this shop is obviously takeaway, with pizza, crocchè and massive arancini being the main draws.
There’s plenty to like about Ballaro, starting with the smell of freshly made pizza wafting through the air and spilling out onto King Street. Those who want something quick and small should just grab a bunch of crocchè, which is a typical Southern Italian deep-fried street food, here the best ones being mozzarella & zucchini, and potatoes & parsley filled. They are much smaller than the enormous arancini balls, which look dry but are filled with rich, gooey insides like bucatina pasta with tomatoes; beef ragu with peas; and tomatoes with eggplant and salted ricotta.
The thick-crust Sicilian-style pizza, traditionally known as sfincione, is the go-to for those a bit hungrier. The ones with meat toppings can be a little dry, but other than that the pizza is spot-on and consistent, with options including one with mozzarella, tomatoes, oregano and evo; one with pea puree, zucchini and potatoes; the Sicilian with tomatoes, anchovies, onions, black olives, pecorino and bread crumbs; and the vuscu with slow cooked beef, porcini mushrooms and grana cheese. Each slice is priced at around $4.50 to $5.50, which is pricey but two should be more than enough to satisfy the average appetite, especially since the dough – made using imported flour from Italy – is crispy and thick.
Authenticity is an obvious commitment for the owners, which positions Ballaro as unique when compared with similar pizza joints around the area. The tastes and textures (and cooking methods) are different, but the result is mostly excellent.
Address: 213 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Contact: (02) 8094 9398
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat-Sun 10am-10pm