I am quite a pizza fan and have done the rounds (once or twice) of a lot of Canberra’s woodfired pizza establishments. Everything from enjoying it delivered to my door in a brown box to the high-end slick service of hatted restaurants.
Biting into a slice of woodfired pizza has been the antidote to many a long day. Cooked at temperatures of 400 degrees or more, as Meghan Trainor would say, it is all about the bass(e). I like it best when it is charred on the bottom while remaining chewy on top. Finished with simple fresh ingredients and a glass of wine, it is a perennial dinner winner.
When you are looking for your next slice of perfection, we have rounded up three great options to try.
Neighbourhood favourite: Locale Pizzeria
The name says it all. Locale Pizzeria is the local you wish (well, I wish) was at my neighbourhood shops.
Located on Hopetoun Circuit in Deakin, the team has created a stylish space serving up an Italian menu full of classics and old favourites. With a custom motorcycle out the front, a fully stocked bar and a sleek interior of white marble, copper, dark wood tones and leather banquettes, it brings casual sophistication to the local eatery while still making the Bambini feel welcome with a kids menu.
There are antipasti to snack on and a compact range of pasta to twirl your fork through, but the main event is the woodfired pizza. Locale has a nice range available of both Pizze Rosse (tomato base) and Pizza Bianca (white base) varieties.
One of the stars on the menu showcases the rich flavour of prawns and pairs it with an ingredient not usually found on a pizza, leek. The Gamberi has fior di latte, prawns, leek, spinach, mascarpone and chilli oil. The combination is excellent atop the crisp thin housemade base with the fresh taste of the leeks and spinach complementing the creaminess of the cheese and prawns.
Locale Pizzeria is located at the Deakin Shops on Hopetoun Circuit and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 5:00 pm.
New Kid on the Block: Department of Pizza
Wowing with their sourdough bases and hard to find wines, the Department of Pizza has been a hit since opening just over two months ago.
Set up in the bustling Campbell Shops, simplicity is key in this new venture, which pegs itself as a pizza and wine bar. Inside is warm and minimal with an uncluttered small dining area with table and bar seating available. There is a simple small paper menu with a choice of nine pizzas and three starter options of flatbread.
The drinks menu features Capital and Peroni for beer drinkers and a pared-back but thoughtful wine list showcasing Italian varieties of grapes to match the flavours coming out of the high-tech rotating pizza oven.
The owners are no strangers to achieving pizza perfection, having run The Pizza Trailer for many years. As mobile caterers covering the festival, fete, and pop-up bar scene in Canberra, they worked hard to perfect the dough which now features at the Department of Pizza. It is uniquely and lovingly prepared daily using a 35-year-old sourdough starter.
For a taste of simplicity at its best, opt for the Margherita. The version the Department of Pizza dishes out is faultless, the dough, tomato base, fior di latte, and basil are all high quality, fresh and very tasty.
Department of Pizza is located at 12 Blamey Place, Campbell, and is open Thursday from 5:00 pm, and Friday to Sunday from 12:00 noon.
My Kitchen Rules: Alex the Pizza Guy
Making it easy for local at-home cooks to nail their own pizza creations was the challenge Alex the Pizza Guy took on during the COVID-19 lockdown.
He came up with a range of cook-at-home products to add a gourmet edge to the humble family pizza night. The starter pack is home delivered and includes 10 fresh woodfired bases, two bottles of Nonna’s Pizza Sauce, and two tubs of Shredded Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese
I road-tested the range and was able to achieve pizza greatness at home and that coveted chewy top following Alex’s top tips:
- Preheat oven for at least 20 minutes to the hottest temperature possible – it is very important to have it hot
- Place your topped pizza in the middle rack to cook
- Check on it after 5 minutes and pull it out when it is golden brown.
As for toppings, try this simple crowd-pleaser:
Prosciutto and Rocket
- Top the woodfired base with Nonna’s Pizza Sauce and Shredded Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese
- Cook until golden brown
- Once cooked, cut into slices
- Top with prosciutto and rocket
- Add shavings of parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil for that gourmet finish.
To order your gourmet woodfired bases head to the Alex the Pizza Guy Facebook page.