Wednesday night around three weeks after Il Pizzaiolo opens, we already have to book a table. This place is small but so inviting and comfortable. I dread the day that we will have to book two weeks in advance just for a 6pm booking! Located in a small pocket of shops in Darebin road in Thornbury, such an establishment has been a long time coming in this area.
So as much as I would like to keep it a secret, I have no doubt the word is out already about how great Frank’s pizzas are so I may as well tell you about it.
The beautiful black and white mosaic wood fired oven sits gleaming in the corner. It looks so perfectly round, formed and new, I am slightly tempted to walk up to it and stroke my hands across it. The colours match the black chalk like walls which are inscribed in white providing explanations of pizza and its ingredients. Here, you can amuse yourself by reading more out more about pancetta, about san marzano tomatoes and about the VPN (Association of Vera Pizza Napoletana).
Our first dilemma (after deciding on what to drink from a very good selection) is how many do we order? There are three of us – husband Dean, son Harvey and me. The pizzas at the next table look a very decent size so perhaps we should just have two. The waitress tells us that the dough rests for two days before it is woodfired which means we won’t feel bloated. Well then, we better have 3 because, if all else fails, we can take the leftovers home in a box.
The margherita arrives first. It’s simple; tomatoes, basil and cheese. That is all is needs. Melting in the mouth delicious. Harvey closes his eyes as he devours the first piece. He has already grabbed another before he has finished the first. The crust is so thin, so crispy with a hint of salt, it is perfect. And a very well timed half way through our margherita , the sopressa lands on our table. We love the spiciness of this one (tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, sopressa salami, roast peppers, olives, chilli). A few minutes later, the patata (potato, caramelised onion, rosemary, mozzarella, olive oil) appears. We cannot decide which one is the best; this is no lie. Frank slices the prosciutto fresh for his pizzas and as Harvey goes up to the counter to watch, he hands him a piece. Harvey thinks this is pretty cool.
Frank is very cheery man and greets everyone as they walk in and out. It appears he already knows a few of his customers but I wouldn’t be surprised that it’s because they have already become regulars.
As for the three pizzas, there is none left to take home. And Harvey even manages to fit in a delicious selection of gelato. A seven year old kid that eats more than me.
Dean jokes with Frank as we leave that we will tell everyone he is closed on Wednesdays. That way we are guaranteed to get a table every week. We are selfish; we don’t want too many people to find out about this place. But I fear we are already too late.