PostinoFebruary 1, 2016
97 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn
Last weekend, my family and I went out for a good old “pizza and movie night”. Our local is the Balwyn Cinema, so naturally dinner beforehand was at Postino pizza. Mum and Dad had eaten at Postino before, and we had picked up takeaway pizzas several times, but I’d never eaten a pizza straight out of the Postino oven (and let’s face it, as convenient as takeaway is, there’s nothing like pizza straight out of the oven).
We arrived at the geriatric time of 6pm to make our session of The Big Short at 7:30, and while it was a tad quiet initially, by 7pm the place was buzzing. Postino has recently undergone a bit of a facelift, I’m told, and the space is beautiful. A long, narrow restaurant with natural light spilling into every room, it’s a warm and welcoming place. The wood fired oven takes pride of place at the front of the restaurant, and the chefs make pizzas on a long marble bar in the front room. There’s also a great little courtyard out the back, and I can imagine spending a sunny afternoon throwing back some rose and a little prosciutto pizza there.
Once we’d ordered, the pizzas came hot and fast – first was the eponymous Postino with ribbons of San Daniele prosciutto, San Marzano tomatoes, pesto, basil and torn chunks of buffalo mozzarella. This is very similar to the “San Daniele” pizza at DOC, my all time favourite pizza in Melbourne, so it was only natural to compare the two. Postino’s pizza was excellent with a chewy base and a sweet tomato sauce, but I think DOC’s version is just a notch above because their dough is slightly tastier, and better balanced overall (on the whole I found Postino’s pizzas a tad too thick on the dough).
Dad’s pick for the evening was the Calabrese with San Marzano tomato, hot salami, roasted peppers, mozzarella and basil. Meaty and spicy, this one was great with some peppery rocket and pear salad on the side. More than one leaf of basil wouldn’t have gone astray though…
My other favourite from the evening (after the Postino) was the Salsiccia, with torn Italian sausage, chilli, mozzarella, parmesan, and lemony tangles of friarielli (a sort of wild spinach). This pizza had the thinnest crust of all of them, and I love the umami hit from the parmesan. A few extra teaspoons of chilli oil really enlivened it.
Finally, we ordered a seasonal pizza, the Fichi – the age old combination of figs, gorgonzola, and San Daniele prosciutto. Surprisingly, this one fell a little flat for me, maybe the figs needed a bit more ripening, but it didn’t quite hit that sweet-salty pleasure note.
All full and done? Nice try buddy – time for dessert. Between the four of us we shared a pair of desserts, the tiramisu and the white chocolate dessert pizza. I’ve often said that tiramisu is the yardstick by which to judge Italian restaurants. I’m happy to say that Postino’s version was excellent, the perfect balance of sponge fingers to cream, and the sponge had been properly soaked in coffee and liquor until they were soft and intensely flavourful.
The tiramisu was great, but the white chocolate and strawberry pizza really knocked it out of the park. I’m not normally one for white chocolate but when it’s all melty and gooey and spread over pizza dough with sweet, macerated strawberries on top? Yeah, I’m up for it. This was phenomenally good, better even than the version at DOC (and much better value too!). Next time you’re catching a movie at the Balwyn Cinema, make sure you hit up Postino for dinner, if only to order this for dessert!
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