A quick crash course in Italian courtesy of Gianni: '400 Gradi' means '400 Degrees' (the temperature of a proper wood fired pizza oven). 'La Vera Pizza Napoletana' means 'the REAL pizza, from Napoli', and it shines proudly on a little sign right beside the main entrance door of 400 Gradi in East Brunswick. The latter is the reputation on which this establishment was built...
Perfecting the art of pizza making; TRUE pizza making, is no easy feat. It is often said that the simplest things are the hardest to do well, which is why most Italians will judge an Italian restaurant by their margarita pizza. That bodes well for Johnny Di Francesco though, because his was voted the best pizza in the world, not only at our table, but at the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy! Johnny returned to his roots in Naples to master this craft and the rest of Melbourne will be eternally grateful.
Each 400 Gradi restaurant seems to have its own distinct vibe, our choice though is East Brunwsick; a little further away from the old hub of Lygon St but with an even more authentic, modern feel.
With a party of four we wanted to sample a bit of everything and fortunately the menu was full to the brim of things that we love. The only person who loved it even more was Luca, our passionate waiter direct from Italy who you could see was very proud of everything he was serving. A salumi and cheese board, zucchini flowers, arancini and meatballs to start and we were knocking on the doors of heaven. The pearly gates opened as soon as our margarita pizza arrived to share; and we hadn't even ordered mains!
The pasta special for the week was a fettuccine with artichoke, mushroom and truffle; rich, earthy and delicious. But the pick of the night was the spaghettini granchio with crab meat and diced zucchini in a lobster bisque; albeit followed very closely by their signature slow-braised baby goat. Pair it with an Italian red wine or a fancy cocktail!
Dessert was another difficult choice, woodfired nutella calzone is hard for Gianni to skip but a little birdy told us to try something next door instead... 'Zero Gradi' (Zero Degrees) is the owners brand new Gelati shop next-door. Applying the same principles to ice-cream he has perfected another simple, guilty pleasure. Something tells me the Italians won't be happy when his 'chocolate sorbet' wins best gelati in the world as well; but Melbourne should be!
Address: 99 Lygon St, East Brunswick VIC 3057
Phone: (03) 9380 2320
~ Snobsinthecity xoxo