“Some of the best nights of my life have been when I’ve been out with mates smashing pizza and pinot,” says Lyndon Waples, co-owner of Cottesloe’s beloved Il Lido and, as of this Friday, Canteen Pizza – a pizzeria that shares its mothership’s penchant for true-to-type Italian cooking, good drinking and even better times.
On paper, Canteen reads like an irresistible prospect for anyone with even the vaguest interest in flour, water, tomato sauce and melted cheese. Leading the list of reasons to be excited about the Il Lido team’s newest project: Ettore Bertonati, widely regarded as one of the best currently twirling discs of dough in Australia, has been enlisted to oversee the pizza. In addition to cooking pizzas for the owners at Pizzateca in Adelaide, Bertonati also has a hand in Melbourne's wood-fired pizza stronghold, SPQR. In addition to hands-on experience of the art of pizza-throwing and tending wood-burning ovens, our man’s degree in chemistry also provides him with an academic understanding of process. In short, says Waples, pizza fans have much to be excited about.
“We wanted to deliver a proper Neapolitan-style pizza experience and we’ve got the best guy in Australia setting it all up and overseeing everything,” says Waples. “Our aim is to serve pizza that people will drive across town for.”
In addition to a core menu of a dozen pies – eight rosso pizza with a tomato base, four with a bianco one – the 120-seat pizzeria will also be offering seasonal pies (Waples: “we have one of Australia’s best food bowls in the south west and we want to showcase that). Once Canteen is open, Bertonati will be splitting his time between Perth and his home in Adelaide.
Pizza aside, whole wood-fired fish will be another of Canteen’s calling cards, as will porchetta. We can’t speak for the entire Broadsheet readership, but we’re really liking the sounds of the lunchtime-only porchetta panini (Waples’ working title: the Western Suburbs hangover cure) that will be served using fresh bread baked every morning.
The prognosis is similarly impressive on the wine side of things, too. While Il Lido beverage oracle Dan Wegener will be overseeing things, the day-to-day management of the cellar will fall on the shoulders of wine young gun, James Tuxworth. Expect Italian labels as well as a big focus on Australian organic, biodynamic and lo-fi wines that play nicely with pizza (and not to mention plenty of pinot). Mark Rutter, the former restaurant manager at the all-too-short-lived Mary’s, will also be pouring wine as well as running the service side of things.
Canteen Pizza opens on Friday September 22.
An earlier version of this article implied Ettore Bertonati is a partner at Pizzateca in Adelaide. We regret this error and have amended the story to reflect his true position, as a staff member.