Curved panels of Tasmanian oak veneer, cosy leather-lined booths and the flicker of a lit-up wood oven give Anchovy Bandit a nostalgic charm. One you wouldn’t expect from its exterior as part of the Palace Nova cinema complex on Prospect Road.

With a warm, classic design by Sans-Arc Studio, the pizzeria and cocktail bar from NOLA’s Oliver Brown, Josh Talbot and Alex Bennett skilfully walks the line between the two venue types.

You’ll notice the tables aren’t set. “If there’s a plate in front of you, you feel like you have to eat a meal,” says Bennett. “We want people to feel comfortable coming in and having a drink and nibbling on some olives.” That’s not to say a no-holds-barred pizza feast is off the cards.

Dough for the wood-fired pies is made well in advance to enable a 36-hour ferment. “The longer the ferment the fluffier it is and the easier it is to digest,” Bennett says.

Chef Kate Ryan runs the kitchen (and the oven). “I love carb on carb,” she says, referencing her “Mr Potato” pizza: it’s layered with potato, gruyere, caramelised onion, confit garlic and rosemary.

A pastry chef by trade, Ryan also uses the oven to bake sourdough daily, and to char and smoke vegetables for the sides menu. Crunchy, house-pickled morsels – which soak in jars in the partly open kitchen – star on antipasti boards.

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When Broadsheet dropped in during Anchovy Bandit’s build, Bennett mentioned a CO2 line would be hooked up to the cocktail station. It can now feed straight into a canister custom-welded by Little Bang Brewing Company’s Filip Kemp. “It’s essentially a SodaStream with double the pressure,” says Bennett.

The Peachfuzz Bellini isn’t shaken or stirred: fermented white peach, vodka, peach bitters and Lenotti Bianco (a sauvignon blanc-style white wine) are instead charged with CO2.

Bennett uses Italian classics as a baseline for his experimental cocktails, “But we’re not settling with one list,” he assures us. Watch this space.

Anchovy Bandit
3/98 Prospect Road, Prospect
Mon to Fri 4pm–midnight
Sat 12pm–midnight
Sun 12pm–11pm