Have you met Alfred? He’s an American-Italian gangster who likes pizza, rock’n’roll and cocktails… sounds like a rather intimidating but fun guy. And while this elusive character might not ever actually show his face in public, there’s a new venue on Barrack Street dedicated to his three favourite things.
Much like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, Alfred’s Pizzeria is hidden away – enter through a painted telephone booth and down the stairs to something that reminds me of a prohibition style bar.
Inside you’ll see dark lighting, and newspaper covered walls with articles such as JFK’s assassination. The tables have a real pizzeria feel with their checkered coverings and red candleholders. Photos of food have a pensive look thanks to the dramatic ambiance, and there’s some great little fluttering scraps of counterfeit Alfred’s money and stencilled art on the walls. From the onset it’s welcoming, and you can’t help but nod your head to the music beating from the speakers.
This new small bar/restaurant is the output of years of planning by Michael Cheang of Frisk Bar, nestled within a heritage building that has it’s original wooden floors amongst other details. The vibe is kitschy and playful, living up to it’s theme and hosting a bar that is impressive in its selection of spirits and range of priced options. There’s also a luxe cupboard of some pretty pricey cognacs which is a fun detail, though slightly in opposition to their affordable ideology that is otherwise demonstrated.
As their opening date of 26 April loomed, I was invited down just days before for a little sneak peak and to try out some of the pizzas on offer. Given Ace Pizza’s recent closure, I was eager to try it out and see if it would bridge a newly found gap.
Head Chef Ben McDonald clearly has a passion for pizza, and for using quality ingredients. Unfortunately due to their location they’re not able to use wood-fire ovens, but the four single serve ovens each pump out pizzas in around 10 minutes time. I jokingly told him he’s an excellent salesman as he excitedly told us about the more than reasonable prices ($5 for a slice which is a quarter of a pizza, or a full pizza for anywhere between $14 and $21).
Since it was only myself and a friend dining at that time, the pizza was quickly turned around but I can imagine that in peak times it might be a bit of a wait given their limited
Diners have the choice of a tomato or biancha base, with the former fruit imported from Naples itself to create a rich and unparalleled sweetness. The pizza bases are somewhere between thin and thick, with a satisfying crunch as you bite down. This is some serious dough and needs a shoutout on it’s own as it was really delicious.
Leaving the pizzas we tried to Ben, I was more than overjoyed when the first to come out was the ‘Suzi Quatro’ (great name) – white base with provolone, gorgonzola, mozzarella and feta ($18.00). I mean this one is for the cheese lovers… and that’s something I am always the first to admit I fall in this category.
Pizzas can be oily, especially ones loaded with cheese, but Alfred’s versions are surprisingly not the case. They have a real delicate nature to them, and I have to say as a marketing girl who is all about the details, I really appreciated the branded baking paper.
The ‘Michaelangelo’ was a simple offering and a playful nod to the Ninja Turtles artwork on the wall near the bar. Made with just mozzarella and pepperoni ($18.00), the toppings were fresh and tasty. I liked the restraint they show in their execution, choosing not to overload the pizzas but rather just enough to satisfy your tastebuds.
I was hoping for more chilli kick with my pepperoni and while the flavours were there, this was the one I didn’t enjoy as much as the others.
By far my favourite pizza we tried was the ‘Frisky’ ($21.00) with rocket, prosciutto and truffle ricotta. I really enjoyed the fact that they cooked the base, then added on fresh ingredients instead to give you a bit of both worlds. The truffle ricotta is made in-house and uses Great Southern truffle oil… and it packs a punch. For me, this was the highlight of the pizza and really left me swooning with enjoyment.
All in all, it was a real treat to try out Alfred’s Pizzeria, and I’m excited to see another small bar eatery option in the heart of the city open – especially one with such a reasonable price point. I can imagine Friday night drinks in particular are going to make this place a real hot spot… if you can find their secret location.