Heard a lot about this place. Tagged along to a dinner gathering to try the pizza here.
Location: 1771 Sturt St, Alfredton, VIC (Ballarat) - the original outlet is quite a distance from the main "town centre" section of Sturt St, towards the East. However, there is a newer branch serving the same menu, located within city centre at 14 Armstrong Street North
Website: official website, and urbanspoon reviews
Price: average $15 for small, $18 for medium, $20 for large, but varies between each pizza. See website for lunch and dinner menus.
Artichoke - "artichoke, parsley, garlic, olives, shaved ham, tomato, mozzarella". I guess simply listing the ingredients is a convenient, and effective, way to go about writing your menu. The crust was thin, woodfire baked in an impressive looking oven (see above). I don't mind thin crusted, but this felt flat and reminded me of the "lazy pizzas" I used to make with Lebanese bread as the base. Unlike the "fast food" pizza joints, the tomato and cheese layer was mild instead of overwhelming. The shaved ham was in thin slices, and definitely tastier than the sliced ham I would have used for my pizzas. Olives I dislike, mainly because of its intense saltiness. By the way you can read more about why olives come canned and jarred. And the highlight of the artichoke pizza, was definitely the artichoke itself. I've never had artichoke before this, and wouldn't know how to cook or eat it. It had the pickled salty and sour taste, which was a great combination to the other ingredients. The texture was lovely too - the soft layers reminded me of bamboo shoots in Chinese cooking.
Pumpkin - "pumpkin, spinach, Meredith goat cheese, garlic rosemary, tomato, mozzarella, cracked pepper, topped with a sprinkle of pine nuts." The pumpkin was sweet and not quite cooked. My personal preference would be for thicker slices of softer, cooked pumpkin. Goat cheese - this had the taste halfway between ricotta and plain yoghurt. I'm curious to try goat milk. As you would expect, the spinach leaves didn't add much to the taste, but did add colour to the pizza.
The Sturt St (Afredton) branch is rather small, with only several tables available for dine-in. The place felt like a takeaway, or fish and chips store, rather than a restaurant for a sit-down meal. Majority of customers were getting takeaway, with the pizza folded in round pizza cardboard, rather than pizza boxes. But there are plenty of seats in the newer branch at Armstrong St (town centre).
Rating: 3.5/5 the pizza was good with interesting toppings, but for over $15 per pizza there wasn't much pizza, and perhaps there are other restaurants that are more deserving of the number one spot on Urbanspoon Ballarat. Wouldn't mind trying some of the other flavours here, and there is no doubt that this is quality pizza compared to the filling but not particularly classy pizza at Domino's or Pizza Hut.
But, for the same price in Melbourne, you can buy great pizza Al Albero - which has a chewier, but still light and fluffy, and with delicious toppings. Plus more generous serves of toppings. And for cheaper options, everyday there is great thin crusted $4 pizza with interesting toppings at Bimbo Deluxe (Melbourne). Bimbos is quite dark and seedy though. Early one evening we hanged out in a dark dome called "the igloo" - we could barely see our food, and just outside was a couple making out on the couch. Or locally in Ballarat, I'm a fan of the Lake View Hotel's Wednesday night pizzas, which are charged by the hour from 6pm - that is, $6 at 6pm, $7 at 7pm and so on. Just saying, there are other options.