5 January 2024

Five minutes with Sonya and Mariangela, Colosseum Italian Street Food

| James Day
Sonya and Mariangela standing side by side with their aprons on in front of a colosseum wallpaper.

Coincidentally, Sonya (left) and Mariangela (right) are from the same village in Rome, despite never meeting before 2020.Photo: James Day.

Who are you?

My name is Sonya, I own and run Colosseum Italian Street Food with Mariangela.

I grew up here in Canberra working at my father’s restaurant in Kingston, which he set up after moving to Australia from Rome where he was a member of the Federation of Italian Chefs.

Mariangela spent most of her life in Italy and is a mother at heart, with the passion for cooking in her blood.

So every morning we’re waking up with ideas to cook and use as we franchise out.

What is your venue?

We met three years ago by chance and within a week were in business together. We started at the Jamison markets just on the carpark there, and then extended it to the little niche market. But when we had the chance to open this one, we went straight for it.

Our venue makes the Roma style of pizza, which are square and not like the soft round ones that take 90 seconds to cook. In Rome, they get people to pay by weight for this pizza, but we do it by the slice. It takes three days to ferment the dough, then between two to five hours in the pan to get it going before we pre-cook it. You can then have it cold as is or we can reheat it for you after a couple minutes in the oven.

Including our set menu, we have over 150 different flavours at this stage. But we make new kinds every day because we’re lucky to be at the markets where we can take advantage of the seasonal ingredients.

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What’s a dish you make that best sums up what your venue does?

The basic ones include Margarita, potato, spicy and mild salami, but after those we just have fun with it. Two of my favourites that we’ve made are a mozzarella, prosciutto, ricotta and honey pizza, and then a more recent one was the smoked eggplant, mozzarella and salami recipe.

What’s your favourite cuisine?

The beauty of Australia is the multiculturalism, so we’re very lucky to have such variety in not only the market but the rest of Canberra. We like to diversify our food from the usual recipes we eat every day, and I’m a particularly big fan of Asian.

Whenever I have visitors coming in from out of town, after taking them here I show them Yat Bun Tong dumpling house in Belconnen.

Is there any ingredient you can’t live without?

Pasta across the board. No specific kind, but I do love it with simple ingredients like tomato, garlic and basil.

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Where are you travelling next?

Perth actually. We’re planning to expand the business into a franchise, and are looking to open a store there.

Where are you excited to eat next?

I love Asian food and of course Japanese. My family walked past the new restaurant in the Canberra Centre yesterday called OMI, which I’m very excited to try.

What are your top three recipe tips?

Use fresh food that is good quality, make whatever you like, and always check you’re eating from a place that you know is clean.

Original Article published by James Day on Riotact.

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