I’ve had the privilege
Of knowing Patrick Ciccaldo, of Cafe Bedda fame, for a number of years. It was there Patrick was one of the pioneers of single origin Italian food, which in this case was homestyle Sicilian fare. The food there has always been of such high and above all consistent quality, and prices were kept very reasonable. Wanting to branch out and diversify a little more, Cantina Centrale is the latest venture from Ciccaldo and business partner Hugo Diaz and sees the adoption of a more broader Italian offering. Here you might see the Sicilian based taccozzette one week replaced by orecchiette from Puglia the next.. Pizze aside (Although plans for pizza specials are in the pipeline), the food menu will change weekly, and the possibilities will be endless.
So what of the pizza? Well, it’s the cornerstone of the eatery and the reason you will be going there. The 400 degree wood oven churns out pies that are decadent, delicate and perfectly charred. Where these vary from your average are in the quality of the baking, ensuring a consistent cook that dries the base evenly. Too many times I have had pizza that is soggy in the middle, but by holding the pizzas momentarily over the flames they are able to achieve the charring and remove the moisture which I have come to loathe.
The Ciccio pizza was one of many that I tried on the night and was my favourite of the evening. The locally sourced smoked pancetta, olives, caramelised onions, fiery (and how original) cayenne, and parmigiano worked flawlessly.
Elsewhere, the Signor Hugo offers porcini mushrooms shipped over in their entirety (frozen, not dehydrated like most you’re used to) and married to gorgonzola and mozzarella finished with a lashing of extra virgin olive oil.
Cantina Centrale has only been open a week or so but is already hitting all the marks of another fine Pizza establishment in Melbourne. There are only a handful of true pizzeria that I would bother to recommend to my friends, and C.C. is definitely one of them. Book the table by the window.
11 Hamilton St Mont Albert VIC 3127