A mainstay on Nicholson Street, where it has been the site of tossed and twirled pizza dough since 1994, Woodstock Cafe has expanded into Brunswick and even Essendon. Among the first to unveil the wood-fire oven in Australia, owners, the Cannata family have been masters of the Roman-style pie for three generations.
The secret recipe of their pizza has been passed down to charismatic Tony Cannata, who works the ovens like no other. Although tight lipped about exact formula, the pizzaiola did let slip that making dough is not just a matter of slapping some water and flour together: it’s a science. His use of four different kinds of flour from Italy (particularly the 00 flour), and the way he navigates the hot and cold spots of the oven, make a world of difference.
Choose from pizzas including the 599 (Napoli, fior de latte, dollops of gorgonzola, home made pork and fennel sausage) or the Simply Porcini e Prosciutto, which is just that, but with an added sprinkling of truffle oil. There are also other rustic pleasures such as the potato croquettes, cotoletta, or a perfect gnocchi Gorgonzola. Wash it all down with a vino from the markedly Italian list, or a Lavazza coffee.
Whether it’s Tony squeezing fresh lemon over your bresaola pizza, his Papa’s smile as he delivers your meal, or the open kitchen where pizzas are hurled before your eyes, the theatre here is also top notch. Guests are made to feel part of the family with each mouthful, as this Italian gem hums with soul.