Brunswick East isn’t short on pizza. Along the 2.5-kilometre stretch of Lygon Street and its continuation, Holmes Street, there’s Bar Romantica, 400 Gradi, Compass, Mr Wilkinson, the Abruzzo Club, I Carusi and others.

And yet, Luke Skidmore and chefs Andreas Papadakis and Alberto Fava – the trio behind leading CBD restaurants Tipo 00 and Osteria Ilaria – are quietly confident they have something to add to the strip. In April they’ll open Figlia (meaning “daughter” in Italian), a rustic 70-seat pizzeria at 331 Lygon Street.

The now boarded-up site was previously home to another pizzeria, Cucina 333, but the incoming tenants inherited nothing in the way of ovens or other useful equipment. The building was empty, which suits them just fine. They’ll soon install a hybrid gas/wood-fire oven built by Australian company Beech. Skidmore says they opted for this model in the name of consistency: the gas keeps the temperature steady, while smouldering logs impart that desirable smokiness.

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There will also be a chargrill on site for firing proteins and vegetables. For while this is a pizzeria, it’ll also be a place to drop in for a few pre-dinner bites and a glass of wine.

“Andreas is very big on snacks,” Skidmore says. “There will be lots of vegetables, lots of small dishes, lots of secondi dishes.”

The pizza dough will be sourdough, naturally fermented, with an added touch of cheese whey to lighten things up. And here’s where things get really exciting: the whey will come from Grana, an next-door deli headed up by Osteria Ilaria’s current pastry chef, Lucy Whitlow. Whitlow started making cheese to pass the days in lockdown and impressed her employers so much they’re making it her main gig, with dedicated ageing cabinets.

The group is planning to source milk from “maybe three” Victorian dairies, and do interesting experiments such as make the exact same brie using dairy from these different producers and let customers taste the difference. It's similar to how breweries like Denmark’s Mikkeller have made the same base beer with several different hop cultivars to highlight their individual characters.

Whitlow has also been playing with Stilton and tomme, a Swiss/French aged semi-hard variety, and experimental treatments such as ageing in discarded mandarin peels or washing the rinds with koji, the flavoursome microbe responsible for fermenting soy sauce, miso and sake.

These creations will be available to take home from Grana alongside paninis, house-made salumi, wine and filter coffee. Down the track the team will consider expanding the selection to include take-home pasta, bulk olive oil, chicken stock and other pantry goods.

Figlia and Grana will open at 331 Lygon Street, Brunswick East in April 2022.