Remember Nom? That tiny, takeaway pizzeria with the black paint in Marrickville’s back streets? That’s now Madre, a 35-seat restaurant and bar by Marrickville’s meat-free pasta and cafe champions, Two Chaps.
It’s the only place in Sydney where you can get a Negroni made entirely with Australian products; a wild-ferment beer; and a Neapolitan-style sourdough pizza made without a single ingredient imported from Italy in one place. The pizza is rare enough on its own. Neapolitan pizza (the thin-base, puffed-crust style found at Da Mario, Lucio's, Via Napoli and Gigi's) is notoriously conservative in Sydney. Many pizzaiolos would call heresy on Madre’s practice of mixing up the ferment time, using Australian wholemeal grain and ditching commercial yeast for a sourdough starter. “We just want it to taste like something if it doesn’t have any toppings on it – it's not just a carrier for the product,” says chef Kim Douglas, who runs Madre with Piero Pignatti Morano.
For toppings, expect what Two Chaps does with pasta, but on a pizza: seasonal, high quality produce (provided by gun produce merchant Shane Roberts) that’s classically prepared and vaguely Italian. There’ll be five or six pizzas that’ll change each week. One unlikely to leave the menu is a multi-cheese pizza with a washed rind, a blue cheese, fior di latte, hazelnuts and warrigal greens. The opening menu has a margherita with fresh oregano, and one with rich portobello mushroom, Jerusalem artichoke and fior de latte topped with smoked-cauliflower hummus. As a gluten-free option, try the farinata, an Italian chickpea pancake.
There’s not much beyond that, just a seasonal leafy green salad, some pre-pizza snacks (fried chickpeas and house olives) and a couple of desserts – a Negroni granita and a kouign amann (a brittle, croissant-like bun) stuffed with tiramisu gelato. The drinks list is also refreshingly short; two whites, two reds (one each on tap), two more obscure wildcards and two beers, currently Wildflower and Grifter Brewing Co.'s pale ale.
There’s not a lot of room, so we imagine the takeaway trade will kick off relatively soon, but until then you’ll be lining up with the other Two Chaps fans to squeeze into Madre’s cute but tiny pastel pink, white and green dining room. “It looks like the gay Italian flag,” Douglas says with a chuckle. Timely.
205 Victoria Road, Marrickville
Thu to Sat 5.30pm–9.30pm