+39 Pizzeria & Degustation Bar @ 362 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
21 January 2011
Nicolini is an established name when it comes to quality wood fired pizzas in Melbourne. While pizza aficionados may not necessarily be familiar with Remo or Tony Nicolini, they should be acquainted with at least one, if not more, of their many associated pizza havens: Pizza Espresso; D.O.C. Pizza and Mozzarella Bar; Espressino Coffee and Pizza Bar; and +39 Pizzeria & Degustation Bar.
The popularity of +39 can, at times, stretch the patience of even the most understanding patrons. During lunch hours on weekdays, diners - including those prudent enough to have reservations - need to be prepared for lengthy wait times both for a table and their pizzas. Being promptly handed your bill and ushered to the counter only moments after taking your last bite is also not unheard of at +39. In spite of its second-rate service, +39 has nevertheless managed to attract a loyal band of followers. This should come as no surprise given that +39 is, after all, one of the best pizza establishments in the CBD, and in Melbourne generally.
Guided by routine, our taste buds gravitated towards two of the meatier pizzas – the Salamino and the Salsiccia.
The Salamino pizza was picture perfect in appearance and outstanding in taste. Layers of mozzarella were teamed with a delightful fusion of umami-packed salami slices, juicy ripe cherry tomatoes and mellow radicchio leaves. Encircled with a puffy crisp crust, this pizza was superb.
Unfortunately, in comparison to the Salamino, the Salsiccia was not flawless. This tomato and mozzarella based pizza was embellished with a light sprinkling of parmesan cheese and strewn with Italian sausages and plump, earthy porcini mushrooms – a classic combination. While the amalgamation of flavours could not be faulted, the pizza was unfortunately marred by a sodden pizza base. However, despite not being particularly impressed with the Salsiccia on this occasion, my innumerable experiences at +39 suggest that this was a deviation from the high quality norm.
At +39, virtuous patience is rewarded with luscious wood fired pizzas, packed with garden fresh ingredients. Although Pizza Espresso and D.O.C. each employ a tastier range of pizza toppings and adopt more inspiring flavour combinations, +39 is nevertheless highly recommended as its pizzas are generally excellent and its location is convenient for city workers.
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)