Melbourne is a pizza town, so it takes a pretty special place to cut through the doughy noise and make a lasting impression. That’s certainly something Supermaxi, in Fitzroy North, accomplished over its 12 years of serving excellent Roman-style pizza with old-school Italian hospitality. When it shut abruptly last year, locals mourned.
John-Paul Aziz felt the loss. Back in 2020, the former Market Lane barista shifted his focus from cappuccinos to capricciosas and founded roaming pizzeria The Travelling Pizza Pie. But Aziz had wanted a place of his own for some time. With Pizzeria Magma, which opened in August in Supermaxi’s old premises, he’s given his itinerant pies a permanent home. Maybe he’s also giving locals their neighbourhood pizza spot back.
Fans of Supermaxi’s minimalist look will be pleased to see that Magma has made only minor cosmetic changes to the room. The biggest difference is the new pizza oven, and its position in the space.
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“Whoever is stretching the dough is facing the front door, so they can greet people as they walk in,” Aziz says.
The imposing Melbourne-made Mesiano wood oven is exactingly produced to replicate Naples-style pizza ovens, which achieve the kind of high heat required to successfully pull off Neapolitan pizzas. The inside of it isn’t quite as hot as magma, but it comes as close as pizza ovens get.
Although the menu will change over the course of time (Aziz would eventually like to incorporate more of his Egyptian heritage into the dishes), there’s plenty of personality on the opening line-up. Small plates to start include Sicilian panelle chickpea fritters and a rotating roster of charcuterie and antipasti.
The Magma Margherita, with its classic trio of San Marzano tomatoes, DOP buffalo mozzarella and fragrant basil doesn’t put a foot wrong. Pillow of the Pig’s crumbled potatoes, guanciale and Calabrese chilli is also bound to win fans. The Menta combines roast eggplant with mint pistachio sauce, while vegan option the Patron Saint, with pine nut cream, pickled fennel and salsa verde, might even see some of its slices swiped by the omnivores at the table.
Each pizza takes a minimal approach – anything that doesn’t need to be there isn’t there. That attitude extends to the dough.
“The dough is like a cloud,” Aziz says. “The way we stretch just needs a few key touches from us.”
The drinks list, much like the menu, keeps it simple and doesn’t fluff its lines. Aziz’s good friend, Mitch Brooks of High Hopes wines, wrote it with a clear focus on fun. That’s evident in everything from the fizzy reds to the approachable northern Italian whites. It’s all rounded out by a tight selection of vermouth and amari.
305 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
Wed to Sun 5pm–10pm