Are we all over nuevo Mexican, pan-Asian, beastly burgers and Nutella doughnuts yet? Probably not. But when it comes to food trends, we’re always happy to scout what’s new...or not so new in this case. With a proliferation of fresh places offering pizza in Melbourne—from peppy take away joints to legit Italiano ristorantes—perhaps it’s time for the humble crust to return to the spotlight? Here are 8 new Melbourne pizza makers you’ll want to dish out your next cheesy dough fix.
Following in the footsteps of his father Ubaldo Di Pietrantonio of South Yarra’s iconic Pinnochio’s, Queen Margherita founder Marco has been refining his pizza dough for no less than five years. Now, utilising South Australian flour which is more nutritious than ‘00’, proofing the dough for up to 48 hours and stone baking it for longer than usual, his pizza is finally fit for royalty. Try the signature ‘Ocram’ with tomato, mozzarella, spicy Calabrian salami, kalamata olives and basil; it’s ‘Marco’ backwards.
Pepe, Chatty Vespa’s principal pizza craftsman, has been throwing down dough for over three decades! Delivering thin-crust pizzas on the back of Vespas, in eco-GreenBoxes that triple as serving plates and storage, Chatty Vespa also brings beer, cider, sangria and their house label wines to your door. If you do drop by to pick up a ‘Stripper Chick’ (100% free-range chemical-free chicken, artichoke, fior di latte, tomato passata, oregano and fresh parsley), check out their pizza box installation and beer bottle lights.
Counting the likes of Chin Chin and The Meatball & Wine Bar as neighbours, Woody P is the new place to get a slice of 10 inch pie on Flinders Lane. Chef Clinton Camilleri recommends dining in on the ‘Porchetta’ pizza—slow roasted pork, spiced nduja sausage, caramelised onion and apple. Meanwhile, we recommend a necessary glass of Aperol spritz on the side. You can also take away from this leafy Mediterranean eatery, but it looks so pretty in here that you won’t want to. Definitely always say ‘si’ to Woody P’s suggested upgrade of added buffalo mozzarella.
“But Ladro’s been around forever!” we hear you cry. Well, may we introduce you to the rather more chilled-out Ladro Tap? Their Greville Street venue is soon to be transformed. Ladro’s beloved pizzas will remain, but will be dished up in a more accessible size and at a friendlier price. Expect live music, pizza’s best bud beer (bottle-less in keeping with the venue’s zero waste ideal) via Boatrocker and Barrow Boy, way more lounge-y seating and late night hours. Stay tuned for an end-of-July opening, Melbourne pizza lovers!
Can Queenslanders make pizza as tasty as we can? We’ll soon see when Augello’s opens the doors to its refined local version of their family-oriented diner by early August. The interior of the 100-seater Melbourne pizzeria is designed by Adele Bates, with Augello’s toppings often leaning towards the avant garde. They’ve won global awards for their ‘Hot Smoked Salmon’ pizza which consists of salsa verde, cheese, baby spinach, hot smoked salmon fillet from Tasmania’s Huon Valley, onion jam, parmesan, caper and lemon juice aioli and salmon caviar. The dough is even infused with dill and parmesan-infused. We’re happy to hear there will be no unnecessarily processed meats allowed.
Son of a Pizzaiolo
Roque Romano (pronounced Rocky) and his brother Frank have opened Son of a Pizzaiolo, a sibling venue to Ivanhoe’s Woodfire Cafe. Among the other dishes on SOP’s Italian sharing menu, they serve some of Melbourne’s best pizza, Neopolitan woodfired style. It’s taken the Romanos quite some time to perfect their ideal balance of salt, water, flour, yeast and select secret ingredients that bake into something chewable with a little bit of crunch and bend. Wrap your mouth around Roque’s pick of the ‘Mortadella’: fior di latte, ricotta, marjoram, pistachio-basil pesto and, naturally, mortadella.
45 Degrees Pizza
The creative team behind 45 Degrees are on mission to capture the Melbourne flavour zeitgeist and have some rollicking good times along the way. The crew strolled down Richmond’s Victoria Street scoffing five spice pork to develop their Vietnamese pizza. They tore through Rathdowne Street sourcing salami for their more traditional style. There are ‘Southern Fried Chicken’ or ‘Cheeseburger’ toppings for the fat feasters, and a sprinkling of kale, black barley, beetroot or tofu for Melbourne pizza fiends happy to fall off the clean eating wagon. The fit-out is drawn from our famous graffitied alleyways and the current resurgence of a 1990s vibe around town. Expect a soundtrack of Warren G and Vanilla Ice, and staff decked out in Run DMC homage tees. This is seriously non-serious pizza.
The second Pizza Religion outlet, by chefs Matt Hunter and Kris Bailey and investor Geoff Bainbridge of Grill’d, has arrived! For those familiar with the original incarnation, their Malvern pizza restaurant is a larger, youthful yet more sophisticated venture. Though it looks a whole lot different, the menu is much the same, so dig into their lauded braised ‘Beef Cheek’ pizza with celeriac puree, caramelised onions and gremolata. Or sample the new winner of Australia’s Best Pizza at the Global Pizza Challenge (sharing the title with Augello’s), their ‘Morcilla’: blood sausage, pancetta, apple, fennel and walnuts. Amen to that.
Has all this talk of pizza inspired you to hit the kitchen and make your own? Here's How.
Image credit: Chatty Vespa