5th September 2016
298 High Street
Northcote, VIC 3070
Does anyone remember those Pizza Hut buffets that enjoyed a brief window of glory in the late 90s and early 00s? As a child, it seemed like there was nothing more glorious; pizza that never ran out? What is this magic?! Unfortunately, on the one occasion I went, ready to stuff my stomach with at least 7 kinds of pizza that my parents never bought, I was left in bewildered disappointment as I found myself full after 3 slices.
At this point, I can hear the derisive laughing of those out there who have been to Italy. Pizza hut buffet? Who needs that when you have pizza al taglio? Never heard of that before? Then maybe you should head to Lievita, where the pizzas are pre-baked, then sliced and heated to order. You pay by weight, which means you can go ahead and order as much or as little as you want.
If you’re just walking by, this bright, functional restaurant is the very definition of unassuming. But by not stopping, you’re missing out on something special. Although there are ‘only’ a dozen pizzas on offer at any one time, they actually have over 150 types of pizzas on rotation, depending on what’s good and what’s fresh that day. The dough is made with minimal yeast and maximum love, and 72 hours later you have a pizza base that’s much lighter and easier on the stomach than the usual chewy, glutinous stuff.
I would still be standing in front of the pizzas if our pizza man hadn’t suggested that we order a few slices at a time, so that everything stays hot and fresh. So without further ado, here is round one!
You need to try the Zucchini Pizza ($35/kg); you seriously won’t believe how good julienned zucchini on a pizza can be. The slight smokiness from the oven and the dash of sea salt served to bring out the natural sweetness of the zucchini, and its soft creaminess was a perfect contrast to the crisp, airy base.
In contrast to the delicate zucchini pizza is the bold and beautiful Truffle Cream, Speck, and Potato Pizza ($40/kg). The thin, buttery layer of potato was perfect for soaking up waxy saltiness of the speck, and the truffle cream imparted a subtle earthiness to each bite.
My favourite of all was the Asiago, Proscuitto, and Mushroom Pizza ($40/kg). You seriously can’t beat the smoky aroma of pork fat, melted over a pizza base with cheese and mushrooms. I could eat this in my sleep.
Then we headed back for round 2! The first one we tried was the classic Margherita ($30/kg), which was very simply crushed tomatoes with mozzarella melted on top – what more could you need? (Pork fat, but anyway.)
I know quite a few people would disagree, but I love carb-on-carb pizzas, such as the Potato and Leek, Taleggio, and Nutmeg Pizza ($35/kg). I love the way the fluffy potatoes contrast with the puffy, crispy base. Top that with some caramelised leek and a warm sprinkling of nutmeg, and I’m as happy as a clam.
Our last slice was a simple Salami and Taleggio Pizza ($40/kg). The salami was moreishly spicy with a sharp tang; combined with the mellow taleggio on a base of tomato puree, it made for a punchy finale.
After we finished our decadent pizza degustation, I walked up to the counter to pay. And guess what? The bill came to $20.6 – an absolute steal given the quality of the food we had. I have to admit that I’m a little dazed and dazzled by Lievita, but then again, being able to re-do a childhood dream is something pretty special, especially if pizza is involved.
Rating 14/20 – dazed and dazzled.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.