797 Nicholson Rd North Carlton
This place makes very good cheap pizzas, serves lots of beer and quite a bit of wine. By the end of the evening I was suggesting it could become SPOT’s spiritual home.
But I’m ahead of myself. Using the VAWTB (Value, atmosphere, wine, toppings base) assessment methodology:
Value- Excellent. 9.5 Big pizzas, with good ingredients, all about 10 bucks.
Atmosphere- 6.5 OK but perhaps the area with greatest scope for improvement. Manager made some at best ambiguous comments which didn’t bode well but the bar staff were friendly and unpretentious.
I think its still in transition. The walls painted deep red and dark colours together with op shop chic chairs, seemed a bit in conflict with the dirty old tile floor and stark white ceiling. I guess the rest of the SPOT team didn’t notice but perplexingly there was a palm tree in the urinal!
Music was good.. eclectic. Boards of Canada and jazz (played through big Wharfedale Speakers!).
The atmosphere somehow improved as soon as I read the menu and saw the long list of wine and pizzas at good prices, which brings us to…
Pizzas – Damn fine!
Toppings 9.5. Mostly vego apart from a few with Salmon that swam their way onto the menu. We could only try three but I would have loved to Eat the Menu! We tried the Serra (pumpkin); the Columbus (named for tomatoes.. begs the question what were italian pizzas like before Columbus visited the Americas); and, the Bianco (potatoes, red onion, caramelized garlic, olives). All were great, Roh seemed to wax lyrical most about the Columbus. I still believe the Quattro (with spinach) is worth a follow up visit.
We also had a desert pizza which showcased their versatility. Pretty tasty, though the masses of icing sugar tended to stick better to my black jeans than the pizza. There was some discussion of the whole idea of desert pizzas having a bit of an NQR factor.. hmm bit like sparkling shiraz perhaps??
Bases 8.5 Sarah summed it up. “Good.. chewy, not too thick or too thin”
Wine List 9 – This joint is about beer even more than pizzas. Which is fair enough and that’s a whole new genre. I guess there are implications for styles of pizzas, base etc. For now let’s just say if you like beer (9.5) this place is for you, and if you like wine (8.5) you’ll be fine – even had an organic shiraz which tasted pretty good.
So based on the VAWTB, X gets 43 out of 50. That’s 86% or a High Distinction. I reckon Top of the Class. And the good news is when they hang those 60’s paintings currently tucked out the back this place will only get better!