According to David Ruggiero, co-owner and chef behind Italian restaurant La Pinsa, pinsa is where pizza comes from.
A Roman flatbread with ancient origins, pinsa (from the Latin pinsere, to stretch) is a peasant street food that has found its way back onto menus in Italy.
The idea for La Pinsa was born after an extended holiday in Ruggiero’s home city of Rome, where he couldn’t help noticing the revival of “the pinseria”. Upon returning to Australia, he quickly trademarked his restaurant name.
The difference between pinsa and pizza is in the base. Pinsa is made with a multigrain flour mix (at La Pinsa it’s a secret blend of soy, rice and organic wheat flours) that’s highly hydrated, fermented for between 36 and 72 hours, then baked in an imported Moretti Forni oven.
Toppings at La Pinsa include gambari, alici and caperi (prawns, anchovies and capers); zucchini and pancetta; and fiche and caprino (fig and goat’s cheese). As well as pinsa, there’s bruschetta, pasta and traditional desserts such as tiramisu. There are Italian beers on tap.
The venue itself stands out in a way that goes beyond its bright, warm trattoria-style décor (rustic yellow walls, flashes of red, Colosseum paintings, grapevine trellis). With its uncomplicated atmosphere and al fresco dining, it’s the kind of neighbourhood restaurant anyone would be happy to have nearby.