Usually, I don’t feel great about myself when I come out of a dining experience with a film of honey coating my hands and face. But when you’ve ordered Newtown pizzeria Westwood’s pizza de resistance (I’m so sorry), the fermented-garlic honey pizza, you won’t even care that you’re Winnie the Pooh levels of sticky. You’ll embrace it. You’ll march down King Street, nodding at those in-the-know enough to realise where you’ve been, what you’ve just done: you’ve eaten Westwood’s Sydney-famous honey pizza.
If you found any one of these flavours and textures by themselves in a dish, joy would be sparked – combined here, they’re explosive: it’s salty, it’s sweet, it’s cheesy and chewy. It’s a masterpiece so outstanding you won’t even bother hiding your syrupy shame as you wolf it down.
If salted caramel blew your mind when it gained ubiquity on dessert menus (around 2008, by the New York Times’s telling), just wait till you meet this bad boy. The base is made with top-quality flour from Gunnedah. The dough develops for three days before getting blasted in the diner’s woodfire oven. The result is chewy, blistered and a little floppy (all the better for oozing honey into the bottom of the pizza box to sop up with the crust).
The base is topped with garlic done two ways: a confit-garlic oil coats the base, and more garlic is fermented in Australian honey for three months, softening any cloying sweetness and giving it a pungent punch. That honey is liberally showered over the top of salty shaved sheep’s milk pecorino and a creamy fior di latte. A drizzle of olive oil combines with the honey for an extra-runny topping, and the whole thing is finished with a dusting of roasted black pepper. Once complete, a vast expanse of melted cheese and honey fills the bubbly crust’s radius.
I’m not the only one so devoted to Westwood’s garlic-honey number. Owner Mitch Westwood tells me it’s his most popular pizza (though sometimes people mistake it for dessert; multiple courses of this pizza doesn’t sound so bad to me). And the other night, a fellow apartment-dweller in my building queued behind me for the elevator, sheepishly holding three boxes of the stuff. He said he planned to eat all three by himself – a lockdown triumph, if I’ve ever seen one.