Little Sicily - Calamari friti Awarded by Matt Bauckham On my second day of a…
In late 2019 we took an extended holiday in Italy – an experience we’ve felt deeply grateful for since the world was plunged into the pandemic not long after. A few weeks in Sicily was enough to shape our opinion of its food offering as being deeply desirable. So it was a total delight to recently discover Little Sicily, a food truck parked beside the train tracks in an industrial area (702 Great South Rd, Penrose), run by ex restauranteurs David Perillo and Steve Gilberd and emitting a seriously appetizing and very Sicilian aroma of frying capers when I rocked up to order.
In less restricting times, there’s indoor seating – a ramble of comfy old sofas and red checkered tables inside Perillo’s adjoining rehearsal studio. The grittiness is a big part of the charm: open only Wednesday to Saturday and tucked away but there’s a steady stream of customers, with Seafood Thursdays (hello lobster pizza) especially buzzing. Order anything you’ll come away with a big smile on your face. A few must-tries are the arancino (proper, large Sicilian-sized – watch the final episode of Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy for a good spotlight on the arancino), the fantastically light and tender calamari fritti, and the tuna crudo served on garlicky pizza bread with fried capers, lemon mayo, and red onion.
The tuna crudo took me right back to a brilliant restaurant we ate at in Ortigia, called Carnezzeria (a seafood restaurant housed in an old butcher shop). It wouldn’t be a complete Sicilian flashback without a coffee granita – at Little Sicily it comes topped with soft-serve ice-cream and it is exactly the right sweet treat for these already hot and humid days we’re enjoying in Tāmaki Makaurau.