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Tag Archives: pizza

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizzaiolo, not a Chef. That’s what Daniel Cester asked me to address him when I asked him if he was a professionally trained Chef. That was a new one for my vocabulary and just like most of you now, I did a quick Google search!!

When I first received a mail regarding this new pizzeria that has opened up in Dandenong North, I was ecstatic, surprised yet a bit saddened by the fact that I no longer live in the suburb. If you have followed my journey here, you would know that I consider myself a self proclaimed food ambassador of sorts for Dandenong. My life in Australia started there and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to pursue my food dreams.

But distance was not going to keep me away from visiting Pizza Strada…

Just as Daniel had described to me, Pizza Strada has a casual vibe to it from the location to the ambience inside. He was particular on starting his pizzeria in Dandenong as his whole family lives in and around the suburb so there were lots of childhood memories associated. Also he believed that great food (in this case, pizza) is all that you need to get people to visit.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The décor is minimal, comfortable and modern. And it’s a place for people from all walks of life. Daniel explained that in Italy, a pizzeria is not a formal dining restaurant but a casual food joint where people walked in for a quick meal, during lunch hours or after work catch up with friends. Hence he wanted the same appeal for Pizza Strada, and not design it as a formal dining space.

There is a large blackboard and foosball near the entrance; appeals to both the young and old alike. Children are welcome to play, draw and watch pizzas being made; as I mentioned it’s a casual space so let your kids be without (as long as they don’t create a ruckus) letting them stay glued to their devices.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Daniel’s passion for pizza is obvious if you observe him making a pizza. He loves a good chat so feel free to walk up to the front where the live pizza counter is situated. He would be more than happy to give you a ‘pizza education’ while your pizzas get made fresh in front of your eyes.

At Pizza Strada, you will find Neapolitan style pizzas; again have a chat with Daniel to learn the differences in pizza making and how it differs from region to region in Italy. A special 48 hour proofed dough that is Daniel’s signature recipe is shaped by hand and then topped with the freshest ingredients and drizzled with homemade infused oils (the basil oil and chilli oil is simply heavenly). It is then cooked for 60-90 seconds in a special wood fired oven to get that unique crispy base with a thick and puffy cornicione around the edge.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

As it’s a pizzeria, there’s nothing else on the menu except pizzas. And again, no fusion or gourmet stuff here; it’s as real as it gets to tradition.

The bar is not yet functional, hopefully soon because I would love to enjoy some Italian Chiantis with the pizzas. But there are some traditional Italian fizz drinks that are a must try. We tried three different flavours and loved each one of it, though my favourite was the green citrus (Mandarino).

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Before the pizzas arrived, we had a taste of the lemon granita. It’s more of refreshing palate cleanser than a dessert, and kids would simply love it.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

The first pizza we ordered was the Siciliana; a classic with tomato, mozzarella, Fior di latte, San Daniele prosciutto, artichokes, olives, capers and basil. The flavour of every ingredient shines through in this one especially the artichokes which are marinated for that extra layer of flavour.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

The second pizza we tried was the Diavola (with tomato, mozzarella, Fior di latte, Calabrese salami, capsicum, chilli flakes, oregano, and basil). When we ordered this, Daniel did mention that it’s a spicy one. And when you have Indian tastebuds, and someone tells you about spice, you are more likely to scoff at them like I did. But I couldn’t be more wrong, because the Diavola is a ‘hot’ one. But oh boy, it tastes heavenly. It’s got a solid chilli kick, but the flavours are so intense that every bite creates a riot on your tastebuds. A must try if you like a bit of heat!

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

And the final one to arrive was the dessert pizza. But if you are a chocolate or rather a Nutella lover, you could ask for this one. The Nutella Pizza with loads of cream and strawberries.

This part of the review, I think I should let Adi write, because he was the one who clearly enjoyed it. We had leftovers which got polished off the next day promptly. Order it if you love Nutella!

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

I do prefer medium to thin crust pizzas generally but Pizza Strada is definitely a pizzeria that I will travel for and dine at again because its great quality, tastes amazing and made with love and passion.

Pizza Strada & Bar (Dandenong North, Melbourne)

3A/46-64 Outlook Drive,
​Dandenong North, Victoria, 3175

Phone: 0412 808 893

https://www.pizzastradabar.com/

Timings:

Monday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Tuesday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Wednesday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Thursday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Friday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Saturday: 4.00pm – 11.00pm
Sunday: ​4.00pm – 11.00pm

Disclaimer – I was invited to dine as a guest at Pizza Strada, but all the opinions are mine and unbiased.

Pizza Strada & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Woodstock Pizzicheria has definitely carved a name for itself in the wood fired pizza scene of Melbourne. This award winning restaurant chain, built by the pizza champion, Tony Cannata is one of the best places in town to enjoy traditional Roman style pizzas.

I was invited a few weeks ago to the launch of their new menu and must admit, that this was my first time at the pizzicheria. The event was a brilliant and delicious one with an array of Sicilian style starters, cold cuts, cheese boards, pizza platters and of course a very impressive dessert platter.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

I loved everything at the event; the ambience, food and service; so I decided to do a proper review for all of you by visiting Woodstock once again just like any other customer so that you have an idea of what to expect when you walk in.

The ambience and décor at Woodstock Pizzicheria can be best described as rustic Sicilian with a lot of fun elements and hints of contemporary thrown in. While the furniture and interiors have a very traditional feel, the bar is a contemporary addition to the space. The open kitchen is a hub of activity that adds to the appeal of the restaurant. It’s a place where you can spend good quality time with friends and family even when it’s packed to the brim.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

And they seem to love Nutella quite a bit, there’s plenty of references to that as soon as you walk in!

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

The service at Woodstock will remind you of Italian hospitality. The staff are attentive, warm and friendly; quite happy to help you out with suggestions from the menu and also help out in choosing the right wine for your meal. The wine list is good and features many Italian wines, which you might need help with unless you are familiar. The cocktail list was basic but I loved the choices they had.

The menu is a small one and I am beginning to enjoy restaurants which do that because it means that they focus on producing high quality dishes. Pizzas rule the roost and is made the classic Roman way; the rest of the menu is more Sicilian inspired.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

So my friends went for the 2013 Majella Shiraz (Coonawarra, South Australia) and I chose their signature Nonno è Vivo (Disaronno, vodka and Kahlua. Topped with soda water, lime juice and crushed ice). Both the choices were perfect for our meal. I loved the cocktail especially with that Kahlua which gave it that warm bittery notes.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

We started the meal with Calamari fritti – calamari rings dusted in semolina with lime and black pepper, served with aioli. It was amazing; the calamari was so perfectly cooked, soft and melt in the mouth. The spices were subtle and the lime added a very refreshing flavour to the calamari. The perfect thing to munch on with the drinks.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

The next starter we tried was the Polpette della Nonna – traditional Sicilian style meatballs made from lamb and pork mince simmered in a Napoli sauce. I am a huge fan of meatballs especially the Italian ones and this didn’t disappoint at all. The meatballs were soft and flavourful and that sauce was delicious, very tomatoey but with the right balance.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

I will also recommend the Crocché di Patate – potato croquettes with Provolone cheese and Salsicce alla griglia – homemade pure pork sausages, both of which I had at the launch event. The sausages were just divine so if you eat pork, do try it out for sure.

Time for the pizzas! We tried out the Woodstock with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, caramelized onion, potatoes, zucchini, grilled eggplant, oregano and Pecorino cheese. It’s quite unusual for me to order a vegetarian pizza (I am quite partial to the meats when it comes to pizza) but I am so happy I did. The Woodstock had beautiful flavours; the base was light, thin and crisp and the smoky caramelized flavours of the onion was awesome. Mixed opinions about the eggplant but that’s because I am not fond of it but overall, a brilliant vegetarian pizza that I wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

The next one we tried was the Gamberi Piccante with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, tiger prawns, cherry tomatoes, fresh chilli and basil. The clear winner and highlight of the dinner was this beauty. Simplicity is best and this one is a clear example of that. Perfectly cooked prawns on a thin crispy base, with that beautifully flavoured tomato sauce, a mild kick from the chillies and the freshness of the tomatoes and basil. Spot on and highly recommended!

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Since I was out with friends, couldn’t do dessert as they wanted to check out another dessert bar nearby. But I would definitely go back for it since I ate some awesome stuff during the launch event.

In short, Woodstock Pizzicheria is a place you must visit if you love traditional Italian thin crust pizzas with really good quality ingredients. A beautiful ambience and excellent service completes the dining experience. Make sure to make a booking ahead!

Woodstock Pizzicheria
63-67 Lygon Street, Brunswick
Melbourne, Victoria
Phone no:03 9387 7770
http://www.woodstockpizza.com.au/

Timings:
Sunday to Thursday: 12pm-3pm / 5pm-10.30pm
Friday, Saturday: 12pm-3pm / 5pm-midnight

Woodstock Pizzicheria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I was given a $50 voucher, the rest of the bill was paid for by me and my friends.

400 Gradi, Brunswick – a Review

I have been hearing quite a bit about the food scene of Brunswick but haven’t had an opportunity to explore that area till now. Recently, I was there to attend a pottery open studio and also to pick up a few ceramic pieces to add to my prop collection. 400 Gradi was right across the street and somehow, very inviting too.

Now I must admit that I am quite new to the restaurant scene of Melbourne which is why I had absolutely no idea of this restaurant when I walked in. It was good in one way…since I didn’t go in with any kind of expectation; I was able to assess the quality and experience in an unbiased manner.

The connection between 400 Gradi and Pizza Master, Johnny Di Francesco dawned on me only when I happened to see a program of his on television. 400 Gradi is his flagship restaurant but he also runs many pizza and calzone outlets across Australia. With plenty of international acclaim for his pizzas, Johnny is fondly referred to as Melbourne’s Mr. Pizza which reflects perfectly at 400 Gradi.

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Though there is a large al fresco area, I would recommend that you get seated inside to enjoy the classic and decadent ambience of 400 Gardi. While the seating areas are done tastefully in hues of black and antique gold, the bar area is all vintage wood with rows upon rows of great wines and drinks and a glass salumi cabinet.

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Going through the menu, the first thing I noticed was the prices. It is an expensive place to eat especially if you are going as a family or paying for a large group. But there’s quality to match the prices which was a solace.

For drinks, my husband chose a Peroni while I went for a glass of 2012 Mocandunda Riesling. While I may not know how to speak in the wine language, I can definitely say that this was one of the best wines I have tasted in a long time. I love Rieslings and this one was sweet, citrusy and zesty…..totally refreshing and highly recommended.

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We started off the meal with Polpette al sugo (Italian style beef meatballs cooked in Napoli sauce served with toasted bread). I have eaten and prepared so many different types of meatballs in my lifetime but none as delicious as this. Melt in the mouth meatballs with an equally delicious Napoli sauce. It was delicious…..

Polpette al sugo (Italian style beef meatballs cooked in Napoli sauce served with toasted bread)

Polpette al sugo (Italian style beef meatballs cooked in Napoli sauce served with toasted bread)

The next dish we ordered was Fiori di zucca (Stuffed zucchini flowers with fresh buffalo ricotta, spanner crab and chilli). Oh my! I just didn’t want the dish to end…..wish I had a deep wallet to go on eating these. Beautifully fried zucchini flowers with the creamy insides. In yum heaven!

Fiori di zucca (Stuffed zucchini flowers with fresh buffalo ricotta, spanner crab and chilli)

Fiori di zucca (Stuffed zucchini flowers with fresh buffalo ricotta, spanner crab and chilli)

And of course, you cannot dine at 400 Gradi and not eat pizza. For someone who is much more acclimatized to eating pizzas from the fast food chains, real Italian pizzas can be a revelation. There are very few ingredients as toppings unlike the former which comes loaded with toppings. We ordered the Salsiccia e friarielli (with mozzarella, sausages and friarielli). Many of the dishes were explained using Italian terms on the menu so if you are not familiar with the language, it is best to ask the staff who are very helpful.

When the pizza arrived at the table, we were thinking of how the taste would be since there were just 3 ingredients including the cheese. But the quality of the ingredients is so good that you begin to savor each individual ingredient. The taste of the mozzarella and the sausages was so delish; a different pizza eating experience for me.

Salsiccia e friarielli (with mozzarella, sausages and friarielli)

Salsiccia e friarielli (with mozzarella, sausages and friarielli)

Overall, an amazing experience. The staff was wonderful and attentive, the food arrived on time and we had nothing to complain. Eating at 400 Gradi is a costly affair so a bit of planning might do you good especially if you want to sample many dishes or go in a large group.

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My rating – 8.5/10

400 Gradi

99 Lygon Street
Brunswick
Melbourne, VIC

Phone no: 03 9380 2320
Website: http://www.400gradi.com.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/400Gradi

Timings:

All days – 12 pm to 11 pm

Disclaimer – Wish someone had paid the bill! All of it went out of my own pocket.