What does it take to make the perfect wood-fired pizza? Soft dough, delicious toppings and an oven constructed just so, according to the man behind Italian House on Street 312.
The owner of the friendly neighourhood joint, which opened three months ago, built his own wood-fired pizza oven, fulfilling a dream he had been cooking with for some time.
The restaurant is decked out with miscellaneous photos of everything from coastal Italy to black-and-white snaps of JFK and Jackie O, but also contains a dome-like oven with a rustic brick base.
Paolo Alcone, who studied the art of pizza making and oven construction in Italy, explained that the top and bottom halves of the dish must be cooked at precisely the same pace.
He said: “It is important to get a good balance between the dome and the base. You have to get the shape right, otherwise it will collapse; but most important, it is all about the insulation.”
Alcone’s approach has already won him some fans. Before our table could order, a lady interjected to advocate her parma ham and cheese pizza.
But, on recommendation from the chef himself, I plumped for the Gorgonzola, priced at $9.50 for a regular and $11 for a large, while my companions chose an olive pizza with anchovies and the carbonara pasta.
After about 20 minutes, the staff – a friendly bunch who all speak a few words of Italian – brought out the pasta and the two generously sized pizzas. The oven had worked a treat: the halves of the pizzas were equally cooked, the bases crunchy but not flaky.
A creative combination on the Gorgonzola pizza worked well. Robust red cabbage complimented the pungent cheese for a smooth and sweet taste.
As we finished up the last morsels and started to relax, we were brought a complementary glass of chilled limoncello to cleanse our palates.
Feeling pleasantly full but not stuffed, we left, but not before the staff could prove their worth again, eagerly freeing us of a defunct bike lock.
If what it takes to make the perfect evening meal is good company, well-cooked food and welcoming hospitality, Italian House has the recipe just right.
#2 Street 312. Open from 5.30pm