Raoul Symons was the brains behind Motorina in Elsternwick and worked the kitchen at France-Soir—so it’s no big surprise his new venture, Stella Deluxe, is a notch or two above your standard pizzeria.
You’ll find Stella up the quieter end of Bay St, fast becoming a bit of a destination in its own right. Towards Port Melbourne Beach you’ve got a frenzy of pubs, cafes, fast food, supermarkets, bakeries and god knows what else. But up here it’s quieter—more mellow. There’s time for a good glass of pinot and some witty conversation.
Stella’s compact menu is broken down into Magnifico (pizzas), Dolce (we’ll get to these in a sec) and Speciale (hearty Italian mains like veal and pork sausage calzones or Penne Agnello with minced lamb and parmesan). But really, if you’re coming to Stella for the first time, do yourself a favour and go the pizza.
The Mushroom with thyme, ricotta onions and garlic is an absolute knock-out, but meatheads might gravitate to the Salumi: a carnivorous mix of pancetta, tomato sugo, veal & pork sausage, pepperoni, balsamic onions and whole milk mozzarella. Raoul doesn’t hold back with the A-Grade toppings either: there’s enough pancetta on that Salumi to keep a small Italian village going for months.
Raoul’s pastry experience gets a workout via the dessert menu, which is (surprisingly) Nutella-free. Instead, expect gorgeous little heart-stoppers like passionfruit and raspberry pizza with double cream, or white chocolate calzones, piped with housemade custard, raspberries, choc gelato and double cream (what the actual...) It’s a refreshing change from the standard ‘dessert pizza’ schtick.
The fit-out lends itself to takeaway, but there are a few cosy tables inside, plus bench seating on the street. Vintage Italian photos and art deco advertisements round out the aesthetic nicely. A little slice of Italia, now serving on Bay St.
Image credit: Griffin Simm