Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pizza Piazza

I'm spoilt for choice in Melbourne, as someone who's gluten intolerant. This is especially evident to me after being in America, the kingdom of Pizza's and burgers and cakes that could potentially crush small children. Seriously, we had a pizza in New York that was as wide as my arm. Ummm. Ridiculous. Whilst there were options aplenty, gluten free options were not very common.

In Melbourne, turn every corner and there are gluten free options being touted outside supermarkets, at the Queen Victoria market (our butcher does great gluten free sausages), at restaurants and cafes.

Even the more franchise-type places are doing it, Grill'd (a favourite), Crust (another favourite), Pizza Capers (which I have yet to try) and Mad Mex, to name a few.

When I first went (almost) gluten-free, Italian food was something I did not eat much of for the longest time. Especially pizza. I vividly remember, I was in grade 8, at a friend's party and I had found out the day before I was gluten intolerant. Lunch time came around and we all tucked into pizza, I had a wedge of greasy, cheesy, gluten-full joy in my hands and when I realised what I was eating, I quickly turned to my mother behind her and frowned a bit, before she told me it was okay and I could start being gluten-free- tomorrow. That was probably my last pizza for years.



Years and years later, I read of Pizza Piazza, an Italian place with an absolutely extensive gluten free menu. And when I say extensive, I absolutely mean it. Lots of places do gluten free pasta, but the simple standard stuff, penne, etc. and obviously, a number of places have started offering gluten free pizza. But Pizza Piazza, garlic bread, bruschetta and even ravioli!

It's been on my 'to go to list' for ages, especially with a voucher in the entertainment book (I do try to whore it out when I can) so when the opportunity arose after a very lazy day on Chapel Street, strolling from Hooked to Lucky Coq and drinking cider, we managed to get a table outside. I was somewhat surprised to find the place just about full at 7pm on a Saturday night!

Service was quite prompt even if it was busy, with friendly waiters and waitresses coming around to check on us frequently.


Brad's getting a bit tired of me sticking my camera in his face...


A whole gluten free menu...just for me...there's also a regular menu, which is slightly bigger, but I was pretty impressed with the size of the gluten free menu. In addition to it, we were supplied with an additional gluten-free menu of specials. I had spied the ravioli on this special's menu and was super excited at the opportunity to have it, as a kid I used to love the supermarket bought stuff my mum used to have.

Unfortunately for ravioli. Sigh.



So we instead decided to settle on getting another pasta dish and a pizza. I must've been craving something fierce as I ended up deciding to get the Spaghetti ai Fungi, spaghetti with field mushrooms and shaved parmesan in a creamy mushroom sauce. Oof! I honestly don't remember the last time I had such creamy pasta, I normally tend to get or make light and easy pasta's.

It was very, very rich. Almost drowning in the cream, which was kinda watery honestly. Yet was terrible and pretty tasty, there was still quite a nice mushroom flavour to it, especially when the parmesan melted into it all. The texture of the spaghetti was good too, although I don't recall particularly liking the mushrooms themselves.



Choosing a pizza took us forever, do we want eggplant? Mushrooms? Meat? Chicken? Maybe. Yes? No?!

We do tend to end up getting vegetarian pizzas (I like to pretend I'm being healthy) and this was no exception, the Vegetariana had roasted capsicums and mushrooms, roasted onions, mozarella and tomato. Sounded simple and enjoyable.

I enjoyed the pizza base, but I found it a bit lacking with the toppings and not particularly strong flavours anywhere really. At least there was tomato and mozzarella all over, which was all melty and stringy, extending from the plate to the mouth. So whilst not too bad, it wasn't overwhelmingly exciting either, I imagine and understand they're probably going for the rustic, simple Italian style pizzas, and I certainly admire that, but it just didn't really work for me so well. Therefore for me, I probably wouldn't come back for the pizza.

However I haven't had garlic bread in a while.....

171 Chapel St
Prahran, 3181

Pizza Piazza on Urbanspoon


  1. Hmm... mind I ask, why did you decide to go gluten free? Did you feel any difference with a new gluten free diet?

  2. Hi Michelle - no worries! I've been gluten-free (almost, I'll have a nibble every now and again) for about 10 years now (wow!). My mum was seeing this alternative medicine guy for a while and brought me along one day. For ages before that I had been getting terrible stomach cramps after eating and remember having to go lie down on the bed multiple times just because the pain was so severe. So going gluten-free stopped that and I used to also have incredibly rough skin on my face, not pimples or anything of the sort, my skin was just really rough, my mother would always tell me to moisturize and I would, but to no avail.

    Went gluten-free and now I have a complexion that I am incredibly happy with and is the envy of many of my mother's friends. :)

    So for me, I definitely felt a difference. Whilst I can have a bit now, when I was a bit younger I used to have binges on my grandmother's digestive cookies and I would feel lethargic and sick for a day or two afterwards.

    It wasn't really a choice out of trendiness or what not, I did have some things that were bothering me and the diet has helped me out with them and I've been perfectly happy on it. :)

  3. oh Ashley the image of an younger you with the pizza in your hands, frowning, breaks my heart! haha. We do have a lot of great gluten free options here in Melbourne, food producers are quite accommodating - the gluten free sausages are a great example of this! The food looks amazing - such beautiful photos :)
    Heidi xo