We have all become very fussy when it comes to pizza, these days. Everyone seems to have a favourite pizza restaurant and the competition is fierce.
But there is Pizza, and then there is PIZZA. So this week, after hearing about ‘Perri Pizzeria e Cucina‘ in Northcote (Melbourne) from a few different people, I decided to go check it out. I took some harsh critics with me too – my 3 kids. They are very lucky to have eaten some of Australia’s best pizza, from internationally awarded pizza chefs, so I was keen to see what they thought.
My husband & I kicked off with a Campari Spritz (one of my favourite drinks – and a fabulous aperitif, then moved onto some lovely dry Italian Rose.
Then, straight into some pizza. Honestly, they were outstanding. Possibly among the best I’ve ever had – which is a BIG call. The custom built pizza oven is a stunning design feature in the restaurant, but it turns out these thin, crispy pizzas that don’t collapse in a pile of sog, when you pull a slice out. They are bursting with flavour, (the Margarita was stunning) – and Joe makes his own tomato sauce for them, which is zingy and fresh. YUM!
We also had some polenta chips (I’m not usually a fan of polenta in any form), but these were super crunchy on the outside and fluffy and delicious inside.
These came with a side of Arancini – with Porcine mushrooms and some truffle. Again, bursting with flavour but not too rich. The kids hoovered them up with lots of ‘these are delicious’ comments. (The ‘no talking with your mouth full’ rule didn’t seem to apply).
Then, although we were pretty much full, we needed to try the pasta. We had some house-made spinach & ricotta ravioli with burnt butter and sage & fresh cherry tomatoes – all from Joe’s garden. SO good! And, possibly my favourite dish from the night, some gnocchi with veal & pork ragu. This was cooked the traditional way, and is the same dish Joes’ grandmother used to serve his family on Christmas day. Utterly mouth-watering, and the gnocchi melted in your mouth.
My kids explained at this point, that although their ‘main course’ tummies were full… their dessert tummies still had some room. This was, of course, because they had clapped their eyes on the world’s biggest jar of Nutella, with was being drizzled onto a Nutella pizza. So, onto dessert. As you can see, I didn’t get the chance to take a pic of the Nutella Pizza – as it disappeared too quickly. But the Tiramisu was wonderful – as was the Panna Cotta. But the stand-out for me, was the ‘Pesca e zabaglione Freda’… which is red wine & cinnamon poached peaches served with marsala zabaglione. OH MY GOSH.
In a nut-shell, our dining experience was a roaring success. We loved everything about it.
It’s easy to find, parking isn’t an issue, and it’s a lovely warm & relaxed (but funky) fit-out. The owner (and menu creator) Joe Perri, is excited about sharing his Italian home-style recipes with us all. And that’s what it is…good, honest Italian food, not too tricked up, but still stylish, and incredibly tasty!
Also, Joe is just a great guy. He’s a warm, lovely host and works hard to keep things running smoothly.
Go try it out – we give it a BIG thumbs up, and my kids are already wondering when we can go back!