10 December, 2007

Pizza Farro II

608 High St, Thornbury; 03 9484 2040

What to do when a multi-page menu has no dull bits, no sections to skip over before you get to the good stuff? Pizza Farro's current menu is temptation from the off, with the front page pasta specials - such as spicy pork sausage in a carbonara sauce - almost luring me away from my dining intention: their excellent, spelt-flour pizzas.

As described in a previous post, the menu is divided into pastas, antipasti and meat, non-meat and fish pizzas. We managed to delve into three of these subsections between us. First out was garlic bread, which was moister than on our first visit and glowing with garlic flavour. Four arancini balls came with a pert, minty yoghurt sauce (handy I guess after all that garlic!) The rice balls were suitably crispy on the outside and held their filling well.

The pizzas were, again, delicious. The spelt dough base is very giving and perhaps a little nuttier than a standard flour one. And it's just not as heavy, so even after bread and a starter you can really hoe into the laden pizzas. First up was the ricotta, with olive tapenade, spinach, pine nuts, garlic and artichokes. What a list! It's a superb flavour and texture combination, as the salty tapenade layering the pizza base is perfectly countered by the sweet, fluffy ricotta. The pine nuts add a tiny bit of crunch and the artichokes give some roughage, in a good way, against the downy cheese.

The salsicce - spicy pork sausage, roast capsicum, spring onion, bocconcini and parmesan - flies the Italian tri-colour flag and looks as tempting and fulfilling as a pizza can. It delivers on the flavour promise, though all that meat, dough, greenery and cheese shaved on post-oven had my mind tricked into thinking focaccia rather than pizza.

Pizza Farro has made a name out of its rustic charm. BYO wine is served in the same type of tumblers as the water. The waitstaff are keen to help you with the menu, make recommendations and ensure you're aware of any updates since your last visit. A word on corkage though - we were last there in May and the corkage was $3.50 and in our case was actually $0, as they waived it since we hadn't finished the bottle. Last night corkage was $7 a bottle, about the same price as their cheapest by-the-glass. It seems out of keeping with the rustic atmosphere.

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