Lambretta Pizzeria is an inviting restaurant which offers Italian dishes with simplicity and flavour in Roncesvalles (Roncy) village. Celina Blanchard, veteran restaurateur for over twenty years, took over the space after purchasing it from Alessandro Settimi (of the now shuttered Mad Italian Gelato).
Over the past twenty months, she has built a sense of community with the families in Roncy as well as supported local businesses, such as Thin Blue Line Cheese and The Meat Dept, rather than buy ingredients in the downtown core. Blanchard is also extremely proud to champion the women in her restaurant; she has a desire to create more awareness of successful females who own their restaurants, especially when the culinary industry itself is known to be challenging and stressful.
Lambretta is Blanchard’s third restaurant; she was drawn to this neighbourhood because of its reputation for being family-minded and community-driven; in fact, it is the reason why her restaurant focuses on hearty portions and shared plates.
Chef M.J. Jacques proudly informs us that all menu items are made from scratch and notes that nothing is processed or comes from reheatable packages; for instance, the dough for their Neapolitan pizzas is made fresh daily, uses tipo 00 flour, and is cooked in their massive brick oven. With a roaring temperature of upwards 900°F, pies can be cooked in 90 seconds flat.
Baseball-sized Polpettine use a blend of beef and pork, then topped with pomodoro sauce.
A mild buzz of spices stings the tastebuds in a good way; meanwhile, the denser texture is akin to a meatloaf, but less bready.
People clamour for the fried goodies which include Suppli and Panelle Fries. The former is a gigantic tomato risotto fritter that oozes out a fat nugget of fior di latte; it is indeed, a gooey, indulgent eat that is wonderfully offset by the crispy exterior. The latter offers a hearty crunch and canary hue from the use of chickpeas for their polenta fries.
Chef then ushers out a pasta dish followed by a series of pizza pies.
The simply entitled Pesto dish features grilled chicken breast that is lightly tossed with pesto cream sauce. Unlike dishes where sauce drowns the pasta, here, a delicate balance is struck. Perhaps the only thing missing is an umami component, such as fresh shavings of parmigiano reggiano.
Lambretta pizza is a twist on the classic Margherita. A base of tomato, fior di latte and basil is crowned with fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes and proscuitto.
Crema di Funghi features seasonal mushrooms on a tomato base and is topped with fior di latte and finished with truffle oil.
Puzzola is a pungent delight with musty gorgonzola, onion slivers, tomato sauce, fior di latte and sausage pieces.
The yin-yang of pizzas would be the Fig, which offers sweet and savoury notes via the use of warm prosciutto, honey figs, mascarpone, and finished with shavings of salty grana padano.
Also on the salty, umami meter would be the Milano which features pesto sauce, artichoke pieces, black olives, mushrooms, red onions, and topped with gorgonzola. All pizzas come out of the oven piping hot with thin bases and puffed, charred crusts.
Desserts include homemade tiramisu with coffee and chocolate notes, along with a fat, creamy dollop of mascarpone cheese. It almost eats like a soft, layered pudding cake.
Fritters arrive as small donut holes and are airy like crullers but more welcomingly dense, with a pleasing chew to them. They’re perfect for mopping up the creme anglaise they sit on.
The restaurant name Lambretta refers to an old Italian scooter, similar to the vespa.
Although it is no longer made, the name was chosen to honour the bygone days where slow food was a way of life and meals were share with friends and family. In a way, Lambretta hopes to revive this happy sentiment by offering family friendly fare in Roncy.
Lambretta Pizza is located at 89 Roncesvalles Ave. For more info visit www.lambrettapizzeria.ca
Photos by James Shay