This much-hyped newbie by the same crew behind Chin Chin takes the place of the recently closed Pearl restaurant on Church Street. Proclaiming itself a ‘café, pizzeria and salumi bar’, it is immediately obvious that the theme is modern Italian. It has all the attitude of its Asian sister with its rowdiness, menu ‘placemats’ and slightly suggestive decor (is it just me, or is that a neon penis on the wall?)
We opt for obscure Italian beers and two pizzas to share. The pizza menu consists mostly of classic varieties: think four cheese, margherita, chilli and prawn.
The ‘salumi’ was essentially a traditional meatlovers: tomato based, with prosciutto cotto, spiced sausage, borgo hot salami, pancetta and fior di latte (fresh mozarella). There was a generous amount of meat and the spice of the sausage, smokiness of the pancetta and heat of the salami kept things interesting. However, the pizza as a whole was incredibly salty. I know there was a large amount of processed meat, but I felt like this was even saltier than your average crappy Domino’s meatlovers. Not really sure why.
The ‘funghi’ consisted of sauteed wild mushrooms, thyme, fior di latte and buffalo tallegio. I am an enormous of fan of mushrooms of any kind, as well as tallegio, their best friend in dairy. The thinly shaved mushroom pieces were tender, juicy and ever-so-slightly garlicky. The milky, chewy mozzarella and pungent tallegio formed a sea of cheese-gasmic goodness around the mushrooms. Absolute heaven. I have to say that I wouldn’t have minded a little more mushroom though. I thought it was a little odd that both pizzas were the same price, yet the meat one had noticeably more toppings. Expensive mushrooms?
The bases of both pizzas were a good thickness, not doughy and had a nice crisp, yeasty crust. The pizzas were incredibly filling and between the two of us we were unable to finish the last two slices.
‘Sfinci al cioccolato’
As we were so full we decided to share the doughnuts with chocolate sauce. They were a little heavy handed with the cinnamon sugar and I had to dust quite a bit off before eating. Other than that, the doughnuts were lovely. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they had a hint of orange zest which was a nice addition to the cinnamon and chocolate combination. My dining companion thought they were a tiny bit dry though.
Some other reviewers have commented on the haphazard service and lengthy wait times here. We turned up at 8.30 on a Sunday night, so were able to get a table immediately. Service speed was good and wait staff were attentive, although I can imagine that it might be quite different during peak times.
The food had room for improvement, however was still up to a good standard. Given that they’ve only been open for a few months it’s not fair to judge them too harshly. I’ll definitely revisit once they’ve had a bit of time to find their feet.Baby Café and Pizzeria 631-633 Church Street Richmond