Try unique pinsa Romana pizzas at brand new restaurant on Suffolk coast
PUBLISHED: 19:30 04 March 2020
Alba Chiara is the only place in the county you can try the double-crusted speciality.
The former head chef and pizza chef of a popular East Anglian restaurant have joined forces to open their own eatery on Felixstowe seafront.
Stefan Mania and Flavio Sirani (who both previously worked at award-winning Lucca's in Manningtree) welcomed their first customers to Alba Chiara last week, in the premises of former diner Delphine's, which closed before Christmas.
"I had my own business in Sardinia before Lucca's," says Stefan, "and Flavio was a pizza chef working around the world. We decided we really wanted to settle and open something here of our own."
The duo are using the best ingredients they can buy, including DOP Parma ham and gorgonzola, and British mozzarella, across their classically Italian menu, which promises pizza different to anywhere else in the area.
"They are Roman style, the 'pinsa Romana' pizza. They have a double crust and are very light because they have up to 80% hydration. We make them with our own sourdough. It proves for three to four days to make a lovely easy to digest dough."
The unique, oval bases are smothered in a classic tomato sauce before being strewn with familiar toppings such as Napoli or Meat Feast. But there are some twists too, including English Breakfast, replacing bacon with Italian cured guanciale (used in authentic carbonara), egg and mushroom.
Stefan and Flavio are making their own pastas too - be that a classic, spicy amatriciana, squid ink pasta with orange zest, or strozzapreti with prawns and saffron.
"And we have three types of risotto. They're cooked to order so will take a while but they're worth the wait. You have to cook the rice properly to release the starch and make it really creamy."
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In addition to pizza and pasta, the chefs are cooking up salads and starters, such as meatballs al forno and arancini, and have an evolving desserts selection, currently filled with cake, tiramisu, panna cotta, tart of the day and Suffolk-made Criterion ice creams and sorbets.
At weekends there's lasagne and porchetta served with seasonal local vegetables.
And children have their own menu, priced at £6.50 for a main and dessert.
"It's been good so far," Stefan says. "We will see how it goes and we'd like to be open seven days a week.
Alba Chiara (which roughly translated means clear dawn' is open from 12noon to 9.30pm Tuesday to Thursday, until 10pm Saturday and 5pm Sunday. It's closed on Mondays.