Perth is home to some very, very good pizza. You want trad Naples-style woodfired pizzas with a suitably Italianate wine list to match? Go directly to Canteen Pizza. In the market for a family-friendly pizzeria in suburbia where you can BYO beer and wine? Take your pick from Monsterella, Neighbourhood Pizza or Rossonero. Looking for a place where the pizza comes with a heaping serve of party? Alfred’s Pizzeria and Lucy’s Love Shack both deliver good-times after dark.
In addition to the city’s brick and mortar options, eaters also have a growing number of pop-up options, including pizza-adjacent operators such as the Piadina Nonna Pina caravan that sets up at the Manning Farmers Market, and the crew from Fresh Turkish Gozleme, which bang out, well, fresh Turkish gozleme – a savoury stuffed Turkish flatbread – at numerous markets. Lately, two new(ish) operators have turned my head, both on account of their pizza handiwork and their use of new kitchen technology to feed the city.
This pop-up began in 2018. After running Dank at markets and private events for three years, husband-and-wife owners Kim and Jonny To have cut back their public appearances to just one a week: Saturday morning at Morley coffee roastery, Twin Peaks. If you’ve ever lamented the lack of (hot) breakfast pizza options in Perth, Dank is going to be your new favourite weekend ritual.
Dank’s pies are proportioned (and priced) for solo diners. The margherita costs $10.50 – when Dank opened it was an even tenner – and, like all the pizzas served here, is hand-stretched, topped and baked to order in one of three Roccbox ovens: a portable, high-temperature oven capable of producing puffy, charry pizzas with the all-important “leoparding” (the spotty, charred patterns) on the pie’s crust, or cornicione in Italian. The most expensive pizza on the menu is a $14.50 seasonal fig special with blue cheese, rocket, pine nuts and honey.
“I wanted to go into the market and fill that gap where it’s good quality, nice and fresh but you don’t have to pay too much,” says Jonny, an IT professional by trade who fine-tuned his hospitality chops at his aunt’s Vietnamese restaurant, Mama Tran. His pizza-making is all self-taught, right down to the recipe for his dough (yeast-fermented and cold fermented for at least two days).
According to Jonny, Dank’s best-selling pizza is the eponymous Dank: a winning, AM-inspired combination of salami, rosemary, tomato and a cracked egg. But while the pop-up’s namesake is the most breakfast-y item on the menu, my vote for best-on-ground goes to the Angry Aunty, a Chinese-inspired pie featuring sausage, coriander, spring onion and Lao Gan Ma, a tingly chilli oil produced in the Chinese province of Guizhou. Traditional? Of course not. Delicious? Absolutely, and reason enough to add (Italo-Chinese) breakfast pizzas to your weekly routine.
“At the moment, Dank is a side hustle,” says Jonny. “Doing it once a week and seeing regular customers is really rewarding and enjoyable. I like that it’s a different pace to my IT job.”
Find Dank Pizza at Twin Peaks Coffee on Saturdays from 7am to 12pm.
Rupert McDonald long dreamed of making pizza his side, or even main, hustle. For the past two years the former baker at Wines of While has made pizzas for family and friends using the Ooni pizza oven he received as a 21st birthday present. Similar to the Roccbox, the Ooni is another high-temperature gas oven that puts high-walled, Neapolitan-style woodfired pizza within reach of home cooks. In January, McDonald went public with his love of pizza and launched his Young Levain pop-up.
Considering McDonald made a living turning out Wines of While’s gloriously dark and chewy sourdough, it should surprise no one that Young Levain hangs its hat on sourdough pizzas, or that our man has slipped some wholemeal and rye flour into his dough to produce a complex, toothsome base.
“You don’t realise how delicious dough can be until you go down that rabbit hole of using different flours in naturally leavened dough,” says McDonald, who ferments his dough for between 48 and 72 hours. “When you go back to eating a yeasted dough made with your classic double-zero flour, you miss the sourness and nuttiness you get with sourdough.”
The dough is just one element of the Young Levain story. The toppings – continental bacon from German smallgoods maker Elmar’s, perhaps, or smallgoods from Princi – are from trusted inner-city suppliers McDonald can easily get to. The Formply bench McDonald stretches and tops his pizzas on was designed and welded by his dad after being cut at a friend’s furniture workshop.
In the five weeks since launching, Young Levain has blessed both private parties and Lathlain small bar Cosy Del’s with its crisp, gently pliable pizzas. Although McDonald has written a menu of 18 different pizza toppings, his early outings have featured the same pizzas (customers get to choose five pizzas that McDonald will then prep for each event). Our pick? Fresh ricotta with green olives and mortadella – the perfect embodiment of McDonald’s self-described ethos of “not getting too carried away with toppings”.
Keep an eye on Young Levain's Instagram for his next appearance, or phone 0413 491 770 to make a booking.