A lot gets written about South vs North sensibilities these days, as if a good pizza isn’t welcome on either side of the Yarra. It doesn’t really matter if you favour lycra or flannel. When it comes to appropriate cheese ratios, quality toppings and the perfect wood-fired base—delicious is delicious.
The team at Bontempo will be banking on that very fact.
For the last few years Simon Liston and chef Joe Kavanagh have run Fratellino Pizzeria, a South Yarra stalwart that’s been pumping out Neapolitan-style pizza for the better part of a decade. Now they’ve opened a new joint on Brunswick St, Fitzroy—about as quintessential Northside as you’re gonna get. And they’ve brought the menu with them.
“The pizza is essentially the same as we do at Frat’s,” says Joe. “We’ve added a couple of new ones, but if you’ve been to Fratellino’s you’ll recognize a lot of the menu. It’s been working well for 10 years. We figured, why change it?”
Bontempo’s dough is a pretty traditional mix: flour, salt, yeast, water. The secret is the 48-hour, temperature-controlled resting period. It’s a slower proof than most pizza places you’ll visit, which results in a feather-soft dough, fired to a crust in Bontempo’s imported Italian wood-fire pizza oven. This thing is a behemoth, shipped all the way from Europe, and requires a complicated flu network just to get out of the building.
If you’re an old Frat’s fan, and you’re looking for something new, go The Bont: Kavanagh’s signature tomato sugo, mozzarella, smokey pulled pork and a herby mix of basil, garlic and sage. The Zuca is also a surefire winner, with its veg-friendly roast pumpkin, feta, basil, pine nuts, spinach, rosemary and garlic. Personally, we’re a sucker for a good supreme, and The Fitzroy certainly fits the bill: ham, hot sopressa, mushrooms, green capsicum, olives, onion, pineapple and a dusting of dried oregano.
The wine and beer list are curated, rather than scattershot. And (oh yes) there’s a homemade tiramisu for afters: silky smooth and sinfully rich, as it should be.
Image credit: Tom Ross