Pizza Madre review

Romanesco, chilli and ricotta pizza. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

205 Victoria RdMarrickville, NSW 2204

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5:30 – 9:30 pm

FEATURES Licensed, Vegetarian friendly
PRICES Moderate (mains $20-$40)

I can’t tell you how immensely comforting it is to visit somewhere that does few things, but well.

This little restaurant from the guys behind Marrickville cafe Two Chaps is nailing the brief thoroughly. A tiny corner shop on Marrickville’s bustling Victoria Road, it’s a beacon on the strip where, from the other side of the road, the large wood-fired oven burns brightly. Get a little closer and you’ll see the queue. They’re all here for Piero Pignatti Morano and Kim Douglas’ all-vegetarian pizza.

Prepare to queue for a table at Pizza Madre.
Prepare to queue for a table at Pizza Madre. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

The entire menu fits on a page, from the single snack (mixed olives) to the solo cocktail (an Aussie negroni), two beers, to a small handful of wines, including the eminently smashable sangiovese-pinot from Commune of Buttons. Pizza-wise, you have a choice of five.

It’s not ultra-traditional, but you have Via Napoli, Da Mario and Matteo for that. Here, instead, is where you’ll find quenelles of rough-hewn cauliflower hummus garnishing a puffed, golden pizza base blanketed by melted mozzarella along with slices of roast mushrooms and jerusalem artichoke. It’s also the first time I think I’ve ever seen lemon thyme – usually a mistake you scream about just as you’re about to start cooking, thinking you’ve bought regular thyme – used for real in a dish.

The one that’s probably getting the most eyeballs on the menu is the combo of warrigal greens, cavolo nero tips, three types of cheese and hazelnuts.

Mushroom and jerusalem artichoke pizza.
Mushroom and jerusalem artichoke pizza. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

But I’m more excited by romanesco with ultra-fresh ricotta, helped by some decent chilli warmth. I love the almost-puttanesca mix of tomato, black olive, capers and chilli sweetened up with fior di latte, too.

Salad? You can, if you must. It’s green leaves, ribbons of raw zucchini and toasted pinenuts. Or you could skip straight to the kouign amann for dessert instead. Here, the fist-sized Breton croissant cake-thing is split and stuffed with a scoop of tiramisu-flavoured gelato and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

The idea here is not so much to throw the entire Neopolitan pizza cop rule book out the window, but rather deliver something a little more live, and a lot more local.

Kouign amann pastry with tiramisu gelato.
Kouign amann pastry with tiramisu gelato.  Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

That means no imported tipo 00 flour, a sourdough starter for their dough from the Two Chaps bakery and toppings that give most classic shops a run for their money.

Bottom Line: Pizza ($21-$24); kouign amann ($12); negroni ($15)

Pro Tip: The chances of queuing for a table are extremely high. Order an Aussie negroni while you wait.