DOC Southbank opened in 2019, and though the group’s core DNA (there are two locations in Carlton, and another outpost in Mornington) remains – crispy and springy pizza bases, “ciaos” – this one is the most sleek and polished of the bunch.
The space is modern-industrial. Concrete, glass, terrazzo, marble and travertine (a type of limestone) are juxtaposed with homey timber chairs and tables, and antique light shades. Circular motifs, such as segmented mirrors, are a nod to what comes out of the oven.
In the semi-open kitchen chefs slice prosciutto from a packed salumi fridge (visible from the street) and whip up fried egg and pancetta panino and homemade piadinas – thin, simple flatbreads typical of northern Italy’s Romagna region – to stuff with San Daniele prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and fresh rocket. Later in the day tried and true Carlton menu items appear, such as the signature Pizza DOC: plump tomatoes, Campania buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. Another pizza comes topped with juicy tiger prawns, mozzarella, endive and just enough fresh chilli to tickle your tongue. Gluten-free and vegan pizzas are available too.
The wine list has a 30/70 per cent split between local and Italian wines (like DOC’s house prosecco made by three-generation-old winery Cester Camillo in Treviso, Italy). And during aperitivo hour (from 4pm to 6pm seven days a week) you can help yourself to pre-dinner bites such as olives and prosciutto when you buy a drink – a classically Italian tradition.