There’s a playful streak in the bar-meets-restaurant that is Alfred’s Pizzeria, and it’s evident from the get-go. Neon signage spruiking the house specialties greets guests as they descend the stairs into this former record store. Plastic garlic and chillies hang in the windows. Gingham tablecloths and two not-especially-accurate portraits of Madonna and Axl Rose beautify the cosy dining room. The fit-out owes as much to Scorsese as it does the ’80s. A rock soundtrack keeps the mood upbeat.
While there’s a traditional bent to the pizzas, their names are anything but. Cheang and chef Ben McDonald ransacked the pop-culture annals for pie names, such as the Nintendo-referencing Princess Peach (mushroom, gorgonzola, rocket) and Rocky, a meaty mix of Italian sausages, chilli and basil. The prawn and zucchini pie is called Mos Eisley because, growing up, Cheang thought the band that played in the famous Star Wars cantina looked like prawns. Proofed for two days, the dough features a pleasant puff while the base arrives gently crisped from the electric oven.
The drinks list is tailored to pizza consumption. There’s a beer selection, by turns crafty and mainstream, tinned and bottled, and a wine list with a strong Italian accent. The liquor cabinet packs more punch than your average pizzeria: push the boat out with a $99 nip of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon or go old-school with a well-made Manhattan or Negroni.