Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Italy 528

Isn't it remarkable the way in which Italy and her cuisine has entwined itself with Australian food?  Pizza, pasta and that most Australian of dishes, the chicken parma.  I do love a greasy Friday night pizza but sometimes it is best to remember that authentic Italian pizza is a separate delight altogether.

Table copy

Italy 528 is a specialist pizzeria, turning out pizze, salads and antipasti under a sepia-toned image of Rome's Spanish steps.

P1040610 - Version 2

The day was Mothers' Day, and Italy 528 do a lovely Bellini, perfect for lunchtime tippling - if only so you can have four, rather than two.  They're a sort of champagne cocktail with peach nectar and Prosecco.


Pizzas clock in at around $20.  They're quite sizeable and are cooked in a wood-fired oven to produce bendy, bubbled bases.

Pizza della Nonna, $13

I never like mentioning freebies, but this was such a nice gesture I have to.  As it was Mothers' Day, every table (not just us) got a pizza della Nonna, or Grandma's pizza.  The tomato sauce was super thick and rich with real homemade flavour.

Pizza Reginella (San Daniele prosciutto, buffalo mozz and rocket), $23

Love the combo of salty, pleasantly wizened strips of prosciutto with almost acrid fresh rocket.  Unlucky for me, all the shards of fresh mozzarella were eaten by the proprietor of this pizza.  West 48 have recently occasionally had a great special of a huge fresh mozzarella ball with tomatoes and bread.  The cheese is so incredibly sweet - you could eat it with chocolate sauce as a dessert.

Pizza Boscaiola (fontina, fior de latte, porcini and portobello), $20

This was my pick, and while I am a huge fungi-phile I found this slow going.  It was just a bit monotonous, but would be great if you were sharing.

Pizza Soppressa (Soppressa, olives, provolone, fior de latte), $20

This worked perfectly, the premium salami crisping up at the edges and exuding lovely umami oils.

Pizza Diavola (hot salami), $19

This was my sister's.  We have an unofficial tradition of me ordering odd things while she sticks to the classics.  I have a memory of me always ordering pistachio gelato or something else unusual to try to be different while she got chocolate, and then me inevitably wheedling her out of half of her bowl because I didn't like my experimental flavour.  True to form, her one-ingredient, super-simple pizza was excellent and my mushroom version, despite being draped in truffle oil, paled in comparison.

Pizza Napoletana (anchovies, capers, olives), $19

A classic in every sense - the flavours of southern Italy done simply and perfectly.

Pizza Pugliese (smoked buffalo mozz, onions, anchovies), $20

Also an apparently southern taste - from Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot, the best pizza of the day was this smoky, sweet and intense combo of smoked cheese, melty onions and anchovies.  Best pizza, worst photo - what you gonna do.


It feels very authentic here, from the Italian mama overseeing service right down to Felce Azzurra soap in the (spotless) bathroom and good espresso with Italian sugar packets.


The best, best tip, I think, is their Pizza A Giro for lunch on the last Sunday of the month.  For a mere $30 you get all the top-notch pizza you can eat, I believe in the sense that they bring them out and you take a slice, until you can eat no more - plus wine, coffee and home-made biscotti.  What a great way to try a little bit of everything - and no need to steal your sister's pizza.

Italy 528 on Urbanspoon

528 Mt Alexander Road, Ascot Vale
Phone:  9372 7528
Hours:  Tues-Sat 6pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-3pm

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  1. These all look fine - including the mushie one!

    But ... Ms Baklover, I know you're a fan of these types of pies AND those of Lebanese/ME derivation.

    Interested to know how you think about the expense of the former when compared to the bargain basement prices of the latter?

    For more special occasions?

    We did get a Motorino pizza delivered a few weeks back, and it was really good. But mostly I just can't justify the expense.

    In my experience, despite the modesty of the prices and (often) surrounds that come with the Lebanese versions, the ingredients are frequently just as good as those found in the nifty Italian models. Including the dough and the toppings both.

    1. You're right, I do love Lebanese pizzas and they are often more fully loaded than these Italian-style versions. They are apples and oranges in a sense, though, because the fillings/toppings are different - haloumi vs mozz, Soppressa vs sujuk. Sometimes I want Italian and there's no other option but to accept the prices.

      Italy 528 and many other pizzerias like Motorino and l'Uccellino give you a dining experience VS a Lebanese bakery takeaway, so that's factored into the price. Even takeaway from Italian pizza joints has to have a higher price than Lebanese pizza because they need to maintain the premises (Tin Pan Alley do do a special takeaway price for their woodfired pizzas - $15).

      There's always Bimbo and Lucky Coq that do woodfired pizzas for something like $5!

    2. Yes, the dining experience is one of the big differences. And rent ... given where the two kinds of places tend to be. We'll get around to l'Uccellino one day. Have you tried Tin Pan Alley? I am NOT a robot - yet blogs keep on asking me to prove so! :)

    3. God, sorry, I thought that stupid word verification was turned off!!! I hate those things - I've switched it off. If mountains of spam descend, I'll have to turn it back on but I get enough spam to think it doesn't work anyway!

  2. Another highly recommended pizzeria: Acqua e Farina (544 Murray Rd Preston). Amazing woodfire pizzas!

    1. Ooh, they look good! Next time I'm up north I'll have to keep them in mind!

  3. My mouth is watering. I feel like chucking out my fish/salad dinner and driving to Footscray. But I wont, can't wait to try this place!

    1. Don't you hate when you have a super healthy dinner and then start reading food blogs? I do that all the time and then get serious food envy!


I love getting your comments! They're what make blogging worthwhile. Unfortunately, the amount of spam I get is obscene and it is so tiresome to have to moderate every comment, so I have had to turn on annoying word verification. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but please know how much I love you having your say!

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