This one time, when I was in Italy… Ahhhhh, I often find myself reminiscing about that wonderful week I spent gallivanting around Italy, eating and drinking myself into a stupor. Exploring Tuscan wineries, Roman ruins and the breath taking Cinque Terre. Those were the days.
One thing I learned in Italy is that I love wood fired pizza. I’d never really eaten much of it, always preferring a nice pasta or dirty Dominoes if the occasion called for pizza. The wood fired variety just hadn’t been on my radar. Until Italy. Then I died and went to heaven. Naturally upon return to Australia, mainstream pizza no longer cut the mustard. I’m lucky to live near an authentic Italian pizza and pasta takeaway/restaurant, Pizza d’Asporto in Williamstown. The boyf and I partake probably once a month and it always hits the spot. Since finding a winner in Pizza d’Asporto we’ve never deviated to another Italian restaurant… Until two nights ago.
Boyf had been nagging to try the Italian restaurant Gradi in the Crown complex and after three espresso martinis I finally gave in. It meant a night off cooking and we were in the city already. We strolled down Southbank to the Crown Casino complex and made our way into Gradi. It was busy, a buzz of Friday night post-work-drinks activity but we were seated immediately at the back corner. The curtains were drawn, lights dim and menus placed in front of us. The atmosphere back here was a bit lack lustre but we were here for the pizza anyway.
The menu was impressive and bigger than I’d imagined. Plenty of starters, pizza, pasta and mains to choose from. We’d come for the pizza and stuck to our guns ordering Margherita and Capricciosa but decided on some nibbles to start. Enter the most amazing arancini balls ever. Little meaty rice balls of deliciousness. The spicy tomato sauce was next level and complimented the arancini beautifully. The olives were great too but hey, that’s hard to mess up, right?
It didn’t take us long to power through both entrees, we don’t muck around. The pizza quickly arrived and we were taken back to the wonderful flavours of Florence. The Margherita was the stand out. So simple but executed so well. The Carpricciosa was a little too busy for my liking. Too much topping which resulted in the dough being soggy in the middle. Still, the flavours were nice.
Bursting at the seems, we paid the bill and made our way to the gelati shop outside the casino complex. One scoop of vanilla and one of hazelnut. We’re both so predictable. The train ride home was a struggle to stay awake – god damn the pizza coma.
Overall the pizza was lovely and authentic and I’d eat there again but for the price and convenience it doesn’t beat Pizza d’Asporto!
Where’s your go-to pizza joint in Melbourne?