27 October, 2008

I Carusi

46a Holmes St, Brunswick East; 03 9386 5522

It's a wonder that this blog has existed for over two years without a post about i Carusi, the closest dining establishment to our abode, and an establishment often exalted for developing a new model for pizzerias.

I Carusi's menu is as long on flavour sensations as their restaurant is short on space. Tables are squeezed onto every available bit of floor, even immediately in front of the kitchen, which is our coveted spot - it can make a daunting ordering decision easier when you can watch others' food being prepared and see what takes your fancy!

The menu is a handwritten page of pizza options, but before you think that limits choice, note that they do come in two sizes! The main offerings are bracketed by foccacia (with, for example, garlic, rosemary and sea salt) for nibbles, as well as a couple of simple salads (tomato, cucumber and red onion), and their renowned dessert pizzas (oozing with Belgian chocolate).

I challenge anyone to easily settle on their pizza of choice at i Carusi. If you're fond of classic pizza toppings like proscuitto, basil, mushrooms, artichokes, sopressa (salami) etc, you'll be presented with a list of all your favourites spread over 22 permutations. Over many visits I've worked my way through at least half, including -

Gamberi piccante: with gentle prawns, a touch a chilli, semidried toms, basil and fior di latte
St Alain: with a simple combination of provelone, artichokes and rocket
Pizza for a Friend: higher vegie content with roasted pumpkin, plus pinenuts, rocket and goats cheese
Capriciosa: a classic, done with virginia ham and black (unpitted) olives

Tonight there was another classic on the table: the funghi porcini. There are no extraneous toppings; it's just tomato, mozzarella, porcini mushrooms and prosciutto. And it's delicious.

My choice looks remarkably like SG's! In this case it's the Genovese: tomato, goats cheese, pesto, roasted peppers and proscuitto. A little more involved, certainly. I Carusi get the thin, bubbled, slightly nutty, slightly sweet bases spot on every time. The toppings, while more copious than on many other offerings, aren't overdone. Salty cheese matches sweet, almost-charred peppers and there's enough proscuitto to enjoy a little bit on its own with enough left to keep your pizza covered.

I Carusi had applied for a liquor licence; however, due to objections from neighbours they've had to stick with BYO and offering the San Pellegrino range of Italian soft drinks. So grab a cheeky red, call to make a booking, and settle in for your fave pizza, done Brunswick-East-style.


  1. Wish it was around the corner from my house! I've had their porcini mushroom pizza before, it is excellent.

    By the way, it's I Carusi, not Il... :)

  2. Thanks Claire! We couldn't believe out luck after we moved in and someone assured us it was some of the best pizza in Melbourne, despite it's pretty rough exterior.

    Thanks so much for the tip on the name - I've called it 'il' Carusi forever, and had never thought to check! I'll go update it now :)

  3. They've got a liquor license now... the pizzas are some of the best you will find with no fuss at all.