Saturday, August 14, 2010

L'Uccellino

When I was 19, I stayed in a small village outside Rome for a month with a friend.  It was the ancestral home of her family.  Her aunt lived in the old part of the town, in the small, winding streets that ascended to an old fort.  It was an idyllic summer.  I remember one time, after drinking too much strawberry-flavoured sparkling wine (we were teenagers, after all), we went in search of "hangover food."  All we could find was pizza, but not the flabby, cheesy, mystery-meat kind that our throbbing heads craved - thin-crust, single-topping, perfect Roman-style pizza.  A few slices did nothing to take the edge off the morning after, so light were they on cheese and oil.

Pizza in Australia has typically been thought of as greasy junk food, although it is safe to say that over the last 20 years, the tide has been turning to reveal that authentic crisp Italian style.  Here in the US, the pizza is still greasy, but it is made with a lot more care than it is in Australia.  Pizza parlours take great pride in their tomato sauce, and there are regional variations, from Chicago's deep dish to New York's thin crust, impossibly large slices that you eat folded over onto themselves. 


We have tried almost every pizza place in Footscray and surrounds, and none are particularly stand-out, all serving the same spongy shredded ham and bad salami atop mediocre bases.  We gave up and have been making our own.  All that may change, however, now that I have discovered l'Uccellino.

"John's number 2", $16.50
(tomato, fior di latte, pesto & sopressa)


The pizzas are just fabulous.  The bases are delectably crisp and pleasantly chewy, the toppings all top quality, especially the excellent fior di latte mozzarella cheese.  This melts in large white blobs, quite unlike the yellow stuff that passes for mozz on most takeaway pizzas.

Capricciosa, $17
(tomato, fior di latte, virginia ham, mushrooms, black olives, artichokes & anchovies)

There is a mix of "classics" (e.g. Hawaiian) and really interesting pizze like zucchini & mint or sausage, pea, and red onion, as well as a selection of pizze in bianco (without a tomato base).

"Pizza for a friend", $18
(in bianco, fior di latte, roasted pumpkin, pinenuts, rocket & goats' cheese)

I will gripe that the pumpkin here did seem boiled rather than roasted (big difference, people), but it was nevertheless very, very nice.  You are paying for what you get, though.  A pizza here is a one-person meal and is between $15 and $19; thus, a pizza and DVD night in might end up very expensive when compared to, say, Il Paesano's $5 small pizza.


Then again, pizza does of course not need to be just takeaway.  The restaurant itself is really lovely, dimly lit and very romantic, with friendly, efficient service.  I will definitely be there next date night.  The ensuing hangover will have to be satisfied with McDonald's.

20 Ballarat St, Yarraville (map)
Phone: 9689 9788
Hours: Tues-Sun 5pm-late

L'Uccellino on Urbanspoon

12 comments:

  1. Oh! Nice place.... must check it out.. head west I go!

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  2. Wish Charlie's was just as good!

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  3. Do these guys have anything to do with i carusi? I went to i carusi last night and had the 'pizza for a friend' - same topping!

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  4. I keep meaning to go to l'uccellino but still have yet to make it there, hopefully this make make it front of mind for me! i also want to try out motorino in south kingsville (http://foodbymotorino.com.au/) cos i have read good things about their pizza too...

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  5. Hi all and thanks for your comments! Billy, yes, apparently they are "I Carusi III," owned by the same people.

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  6. It took a while to find a pizza place to our liking. We've ordered from Godfathers Pizza in yarraville a couple of times and they've been pretty good.

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  7. We have eaten at most pizza places in the Footscray area and they are pretty much all the same, apart from L'Uccellino. Godfathers is good, so is Curly Joe's. We tend to get Il Paesano when desperate as it is only $5 and really the same quality as any other pizza restaurant of that type, in our opinion.

    I do really want to try Motorino soon, anna!

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  8. my only regret, i've never had room left over for dessert pizza.

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  9. Hi myf, you know, I can't get my head around dessert pizza. It's like if someone said, "Try some dessert noodles!" Need to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try.

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  10. Hi all,

    This is a great food blog. Thanks for the fantastic review. I've worked at L'uccellino since it opened almost 4 years ago. I just wanted to clarify a couple of things-I carusi, I carusi II and L'uccellino were all opened as sister restaurants. L'uccellino still has one of the same owners but all three restaurants are owned by different people now- and have been for a while. Also, the pumpkin is roasted, not boiled. I cut it and roast it myself everyday. Keep up the good work.

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  11. Hi Astrid, thanks for stopping by, for clearing up those few things but most of all for your fab pizzas!!!

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  12. We went here a while ago and agree- the pizza is fantastic. But.... the venue itself was waaaay too crowded and uncomfortable so we haven't been back since. One or two less of the little tables would be perfect.

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