Friday, 26 April 2013

+39 Pizzeria on Little Bourke Street - Ace of Base

One thing that I appreciate about +39 Pizzeria on Little Bourke Street is that they open their doors for dinner service at 5:00 PM. My drinking partner and I who had previously retreated to the Irish Times on Little Collins Street were determined to enjoy a substantial meal because meetings earlier in the day extended through lunch, so my stomach was running on empty for the day and in fact I was agitated enough to honestly say that the tasty beer at the pub was not achieving its purpose.

We arrived at the restaurant at 5:15 PM and seemingly just in time. Despite walking into a vacant restaurant, only ten minutes later it had nearly filled to capacity. Long rows of tables were set up in anticipation for the hungry hordes however fortunately we were not relegated to a communal dining experience and instead were lucky enough to secure a table for two in the rear of the restaurant, away from the front door that was frequently being opened and allowing a cold gust of air in. There are tables near the window at the front of house but the sacrifice is being that you need to deal with the inconvenience of the elements and of course the foot traffic coming into the restaurant.

Service was quick to take our orders. I was so hungry that I immediately selected the special minestrone ($12) that was advertised in chalk on the wall near the kitchen. Birra Messina, a clear pale yellow beer from Sicily was on offer ($8/bottle) so I decided to continue on the wet path that I started earlier. A Degustazione mista - mixed tasting ($26) was ordered along with the soup, which included a selection of Italian cheeses and meats with the highlight being the spicy salumi - salami. The soup had a reasonable amount of vegetables in it and appeared to be prepared in the recent past as the carrots still had a bit of structure and nothing was overtly soggy.

As we also ordered the focaccia semplice ($9) which was just simple bread which allowed me to appreciate the cheeses a bit more, despite the extra-virgin olive oil, salt and rosemary, the morsels were nothing special. When the Bufala buffalo pizza arrived, the two person table was completely full and it presented a serious problem for service. One of my pet peeves at restaurants involve situations like this. Sure, it is in the interest of the customer and the kitchen to get the food as soon as it has been suitably prepared however there was no foresight with respect to real estate on the small table, which was already cramped in between other tables. We quickly enveloped the remaining focaccia, the remaining cheeses and drank the soup from the bowl just so that service could remove the pieces of ceramic, the riser and the wooden board effectively making room for the pizza. A simple pizza at that with Italian tomato salsa, buffalo mozzarella and basil, thus the apt name. It had a beautiful crust and the base, was absolutely full of flavour and wonderful. I had never experienced anything like it and distracted me from the mozzarella which is a hedonistic favourite of mine and made it simply as an aside.

Despite the restaurant being filled to capacity by the time our pizza arrived, service remained attentive and was quickly able to source and deliver new bottles of Messina, which we drank quickly because the close proximity of the group next to us was starting to annoy so the bill was paid and an exit into the then brisk night was made.

+39 Pizzeria, Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
+39 Pizzeria
362 Little Bourke St., Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9642 0440
My Rating: 13/20
Service: 3.25/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Quality: 3.5/5
Value For Money: 3.25/5

Opening Times
Lunch: Mon -Sat 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Dinner: Mon - Sat 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 80% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like +39 Pizzeria.

+39 Pizzeria on Urbanspoon