Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant
You just have to adore how multi-cultural Melbourne is sometimes; I mean can you imagine a Melbourne without all the delicious Chinese food we have, the Greek souvlaki’s, and let’s not forget the huge addition Italians have added to our food culture. After all, could you also imagine a Melbourne without coffee?
Along with coffee, pizza has also taken off in Melbourne, with endless variations of pizza from Naples; thin crust, chains, franchises, one off shops, modern toppings, classic…the list goes on! But have you come across rectangular shaped pizza that originated in Rome before?
Lievita is here to fill a void, that Melbourne didn’t even know it had, with it’s unique approach; style, dough…almost everything!
Conveniently located right next to a tram stop on High Street in Northcote, Lievita is bright and light, with crisp white tiles, a lovely black and white mural painted onto a brick wall, and a touch of nostalgia with mini road signs from Rome, indicating the heritage of the food.
It’s a family affair here and a distinctly Italian one too; the founder Luca was inspired and taught in private lessons by Italian pizza chef Gabriele Bonci in Rome, returning to his restaurant in Rome multiple times over three years to train, learn and make damn good pizza.
Even the pizza chef has been imported from Rome, having only been in Melbourne for a little over three months…and naturally falling in love with our lovely little city (who can blame him!)
So what makes Lievita’s pizza different? Firstly, the shape. It’s in a square. You decide how much you want to eat, and it’s just cut off from the long column, all weighed up and baked again so it’s hot and crisp for you.
Pizza by the weight. Basically, as much or as little pizza as you want. What?
I think this is perfect, as I definitely struggle finishing a pizza on my own, and sometimes just want a little…or you could be super hungry and need a lot more pizza than usual. On top of that, instead of just having one flavour, you can have a little bit of everything…just like we did!
And the cost? All this was just a mere $12.50 (or around there). I couldn’t believe it. With many new trendy pizza places pushing closer and closer to $20 for a pizza, I couldn’t help but feel what great value this was.
The main difference with this pizza though, is the dough. It’s left to rise for much longer than usual, 72 hours in fact! Talk about a sleeping beauty! Due to the longer rising time, and a gentle touch, Luca was taught the less you handled the dough the better, the dough ends up being incredibly light and fluffy. Apparently, this also means it’s healthier and easier to digest, so you don’t end up so bloated afterwards.
There was only one way to find out!
We got a cross-selection of almost all the pizzas they had on, which included an eggplant and parmesan, potato and ham, potato and sausage, marinara and margherita.
In a word (although cliche), delicious.
The dough was definitely very fluffy, but with a delectably crisp crust which made it simply moreish. Flavour-wise, everything hit the mark for me, the marinara in particular was sumptuous, with the rich and sweet San Marzano tomatoes really making their impact. The sausage meat on the sausage and potato pizza was also quite rich in flavour, it was a particular Italian sausage which I didn’t catch the name of, but one I would totally return for.
The pizza chef, who’s name was also Luca, stayed classic with the flavours on this particular day, but also told me of some of the more experimental flavours he’s played with in the two week period that Lievita had been open and I certainly look forward to returning and seeing what’s on offer next time.
Oh, and was it easier to digest? Having had a pizza dinner to compare to from about a week ago, I did definitely notice I didn't feel heavy, bloated or weighed down afterwards. No sinking into a carbohydrate coma on this particular Sunday. So, almost guilt free pizza? What are you waiting for?
298 High Street