65 Victoria Pde, Collingwood
Phone: (03) 9486 0811
For the past year, it’s been a bone of contention as to whether the Prince Patrick Hotel or the Baden Powell Hotel should be called my local. Well, there’s also the Peel, but this isn’t that sort of blog. So you can pretty much triangulate the exact co-ordinates of my house, for those playing along at home.
Anyway, having been here on a couple of occasions before, and being pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pizza, I recommended that Alex of the MSG should add it to the Pizza Battle list. He was a little dubious, but the opportunity arose, so we went down to test it out.
We started off with some snacky stuff; chips are always a good thing to judge a pub’s kitchen on, I think. We also got the arancini.
The chips were pretty top notch. Thick cut, they were crispy outside, and soft and fluffy inside. The aioli that came with them was pretty good too, though not particularly garlicky. More like mayo, really. The arancini were significantly bigger than I thought they would be, and you could probably just have the dish on its own for lunch, though a side salad might be a nice accompaniment. They’re filled with a bit of beef sugo (bolognese) and some mozzarella so you can have fun stretching the cheese about when you cut into it. Dey wuz some good rice balls.
We followed this up with the Bruta – salami, bocconcini, artichoke puree (and not mentioned on the menu, but quite plainly, basil was on there). When it arrived, Alex was immediately bothered by the amount of oil floating across the top of the pizza. And while there was quite a bit, i don’t think it was really the Gulf of Mexico, and that’s sort of to be expected when you order a pizza with salami on it.
The base was pretty good – crispy yet with a bit of bready give, it wasn’t too dry, and had a nice charred flavour from the oven. That being said, it was no D.O.C. or Ladro crust. The toppings were generous, and the chilli oil provided as a condiment wasn’t really necessary. The thought of adding more
oil was a little off-putting, actually.
All in all, the Baden Powell is a great, relaxed place to share some good pizza with friends. The service was nothing short of impeccable – friendly to the point of charming, efficient and responsive almost to the point of being pre-emptive – though it was pretty empty, so the staff weren’t particularly stretched that evening.