04 May, 2007

Pizza Farro

608 High St, Thornbury

Pizza Farro first came to my attention via their stand at the FLOUR festival during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. They were selling spelt flour, which they use in all their pizza bases. I was very interested, as since I started baking a lot I’m keen to source something, anything, to use other than that bleached, almost indigestible stuff known as white flour.

The restaurant is wonderfully decorated inside – rows of rolling pins hang from the ceiling, the curtains are stitched together from old tea towels, and the furniture is a mismatch of old, well-restored wooden tables and chairs. The larger room at the back has high cathedral ceilings, and the lighting and care taken in the d├ęcor give the venue a friendly, relaxing vibe. The wait staff are incredibly attentive and helpful – I think they’re feeling the vibe as well and can’t help but be in a good mood.

Complementing all of this is a varied menu and great food. Pizzas form the bulk, not surprisingly, and they’re broken down into meat, non-meat and fish. The combinations of ingredients are imaginative and even for carnivores the veggie mixes look just as appealing, such as olive tapenade, baby spinach, ricotta, roast artichoke, toasted pine nuts, garlic and sea salt. Since I’m with SG, however, I know that on this occasion going sans meat is not an option, but the artichokes have caught my eye so we go for the Carciofi – napoli, bocconcini, Virginian ham, roast artichoke and fresh parsley. A garlic focaccia to start is presented simply, a bit like a pide, and could have done with some extra oil to pour over. The pizza was excellent – even as you’re eating you can tell the spelt base is being kinder to your stomach, and without worrying about filling up too early on white flour you can readily indulge in the topping tastes. The ham is thinly sliced and goes a treat with the artichoke, the moistness of which is off set by the more textural bocconcini.

Just a word on our BYO as well – the meal was wonderfully washed down by a 2003 Bleasdale Malbec, with was smooth, slightly sweet, and full in the mouth with the soft Malbec grape.

Note the restaurant also sells their spelt flour – a 500g bag is $3.50

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