Madre quietly opened in August 2019 in the former Feliciano site on Gilbert Street.
Step onto swish pink-marble tiles and move through blush-pink surrounds that slope up to an all-blue kitchen. There, a Madre (Virgin Mary) statue takes pride of place (alongside a second, which chef Ettore Bertonati bought to look over the kitchen).
It’s from the same crew as Pizzateca, but the pies here have far more in common with the pizzas of Bertonati’s hometown Naples than Pizzateca’s “Oztalian” ones. The dough combines Tipo 00 flour, seawater (imported from the Mediterranean) and a sourdough starter – and its salt content is almost half of that in conventional dough. Then there’s the sauce –at Madre the sauce is canned San Marzano tomatoes, hand-crushed and salted – that’s it. What results is fresh, and acidic.
On the menu are six minimally topped pizzas including a marinara; a fior di latte-topped margherita (plus an alternative with buffalo mozzarella); a pork sausage and fried eggplant number; and another with fresh mortadella, pepper pecorino, ricotta and pistachio pesto. Plus three calzones: one wood-fired, two deep-fried.
The pizza montenara is something you won’t find at many other pizzerias around town. The dough is half-cooked in the deep-fryer, topped, then finished off in the Naples-imported wood oven (which also turns out sourdough made with seawater). There’s also a single monthly pasta dish.
The drinks list is a manageable one. Wines are Italian-made or Italian varietals, locally made, and all come by the glass and bottle. A chestnut pilsner is pouring from the beer-tap system, and the tight Italo-centric cocktail list leans on local spirits.