Friday, July 17, 2009

The Darwin Pizza Scene...

ROVING REVIEWS BY PIZZA SPOTTERS

Hypothesis

One SPOT member opined that warm humid climates like Darwin’s are not conducive to pizza eating. An interesting view. I investigated the theory. If it were true then Darwin would probably have less pizza places and the eating experience would be less pleasurable regardless of the quality of the pizza.

Results

I confined my investigations to the CBD. First of all I went into what looked like one of Darwin’s oldest Italian restaurants. It had a musty smell and no customers. Alas also no pizza on the menu. Perhaps that says something about the suitability of the climate for pizza. However I don’t think this necessarily follows as I doubt customer satisfaction was high on the proprietor’s list of priorities.

Next I went into "Mitchellis" on Mitchell St. It presents itself as Darwin’s official sit down pizzeria. Nothing flash. Atmosphere soured by tv screens and bright lights. I was directed to a seat in the back corner and told to order at the counter. Aok with me except the pizzas and wine were super expensive (it would have cost me $40+ for an average looking pizza, a salad and a glass of wine). Hence I walked on.

Next door however was another pizza joint - Cafe Uona, specializing in takeaway, but licensed and with outdoor tables and a sign saying Darwin’s best pizza. I ordered the "Vegetarian". And it was pretty good. Reasonable value, nice toppings, a good garden salad, and bottled house wine for $5/glass. Friendly genuine backpacker staff too. I’d say this place would hold its own in Melbourne but probably not stand out.

Conclusion

So to the non tropics pizza hypothesis.. I enjoyed my Darwin pizza as much as usual in Melbourne. And, eating outdoors in Darwin is better than being outdoors on Lygon on a wintery summer’s afternoon. But would I want pizza every week in the tropics? Hmm.. I think yes. Still, the lack of pizza places in Darwin suggests not everyone does. So it seems more research is needed.

Notes

1. I suggest there is a business opportunity for a Darwin pizza place experimenting with Indian and north African flavours.

2. Lack of time stopped me getting to “Super Pizzas” in Fanny Bay. Judging by its name it is also worth a visit.

Vicky's

5-7 Strathalbyn St (Harp Strip), Kew East

Ph 9859 6471

This is my local pizza place. On a Thursday if SPOT doesn’t meet, this is where I eat.

Its instructive to see what a pizzeria offers away from the charged atmosphere of Melbourne’s inner north. I like it. Vicky’s d├ęcor is kinda mid eighties inspired pastelish inoffensive, functional with rather too bright lighting. But its in a really cool old double storey building. Whoever occupies upstairs with its deeply recessed verandah is lucky.

The restaurant has a dedicated clientele of canny baby boomers. Nothing fancy but a proper family run restaurant conscious of and attending to all the things a restaurant should. Quality food, a serviceable bar and friendly, polite service without pretence.

Selecting a vego pizza is easy – it’s the one called “Vegetarian” (notwithstanding the Margarita). It’s pretty tasty, lots a mushroom, cheese and capsicum on an agreeable base. (Although I note my housemate ordered a takeaway pizza the other day that had a too doughy base). The wine list stands out for value with a $3 house wine. But, life is too short to waste time with this given that for $4 you can have a glass of decent bottled wine.

All in all I’m proud Vicky’s is my local pizza restaurant and happy to recommend it to anyone visiting Kew East.