295 Drummond St, Carlton
Phone: 9347 2998
When my friend Ms J comes to visit from Sydney, it’s often hard to find a place to go for dinner. Ms J was originally from Melbourne, so she knows all the old favourites, and there’s something of an onus for me to try to take her somewhere ‘new’. (New is a relative term here, as she moved to Sydney a few years ago.) I can’t really take her out for Thai or Japanese food, because let’s face it, while I love many of our Thai and Japanese restaurants in Melbourne, Sydney pretty much does it better. So according to Ms J, one cuisine in which Melbourne wins hands down is Italian. Last time she visited, we went to Donnini’s. This time, I thought pizza was in order, so we wandered down to D.O.C.
It was a Sunday night, and the place was pretty much full. People were waiting about 20 minutes for a table inside, but seeing as the frigid Melbourne winter hadn’t kicked in yet, we were happy enough to sit outside, even though in hindsight, it meant that we had to pretty much inhale the pizza to eat it before it got cold. Which isn’t really too far from my regular pizza-eating practice anyhow, I guess. Oh, and being outdoors in the streetlight is what accounts for the extremely poor lighting in the following photographs!
D.O.C. is one of those thin crust, minimal toppings pizza joints. I’m not an authority on the subject, but general consensus is that this is the more ‘traditional’ or ‘authentic’ style of pizza. I can see why this style has gained ascendancy, being considered more ‘high-end’, because the minimalism really highlights the quality of the ingredients, and there’s not really any way for the restaurant to hide a poor or mediocre product. Thankfully, D.O.C. doesn’t need to hide anything. The base – the base! – is superb. Thin, crispy yet yielding, without the breadiness which you get at a lot of pizza places. I think it’s a toss up between D.O.C. and Ladro as to which has the best crust in town (that I’ve tried). You should check out MSG’s Pizza Battles for a definitive competition.
Ms J ordered the Pizza D.O.C., with the house special buffalo mozzarella and basil. The mozzarella really is something worth trying; it’s one of those “I don’t care if I’m lactose intolerant and I’ll pay for this later!” moments.
I had the Pizza Napoletana, because I had a hankering for anchovies that night. This pizza delivered, in spades. Beautifully salty, oily goodness. Tempered by the slightly acidic tomato and the rich mozzarella. This combination just really works for me. One sad note: I had a pip in one of my olives, which was a little unexpected. I’ll still be back for more, nonetheless.