After closing its doors for many months, the iconic St Kilda Pizza e Birra has finally re-opened under new owners, Dario D’agostino and Joe Codespoti. Carrying on the staples of wood-fired pizza and beer, Dario and Joe have added a touch of seafood to their offerings to complement their bayside location.
The talented all-Italian kitchen team is led by Dario, and joined by expert pizzaiolo, Fillippo Vivona and chef, Mirko Catanzaro, from acclaimed Sicilian restaurant Mirko’s. Together they create an authentically Italian experience.
As a Melbourne first, this pizza and seafood bar offers a large range of seafood antipasti and share plates such as swordfish carpaccio with Sambuca and Panama coffee dust. Slow-cooked octopus sits with a crunchy lemon salad and white sardines are served with crostino, chilli vinegar and dried mint. Other antipasti include DOP certified gorgonzola with radicchio, caramelised walnuts, leek and mascarpone; and an eggplant parmigiana with oozy burrata, basil and EVOO.
Their classic thin and crispy pizza bases are split into white and red, topped with inventive combinations such as cauliflower and potato cream, fior di latte and pepitas. The Porcini combines ricotta, Italian pork sausage and black truffle; and the Sfincionello starts with a tomato base, and adds anchovies, red onion, pecorino, bread crumbs and oregano.
With Nutella pizza’s becoming a thing of the past, Pizza e Birra have given dessert pizzas a revamp with their Fior di Fragola, a strawberry pink pizza topped with dehydrated mint and vanilla bean gelato. The tiramisu has been Melburnian-ised with cold brew, or for something lighter try the raspberry sorbet with prosecco, gin and poppy seeds.
Expect classic Italian cocktails of Aperol Spritz and Negroni, with Italian beers and ciders to round out the experience. The wine list hails entirely from Italy, including sparkling, red, white, rose and sweet options. Finish off with a coffee the way the Italians like it, or indulge in an affogato. Grappa, limoncello and Sambuca are also available as after-dinner digestives.
Apart from the menu tweaks, the restaurant you know and love has largely stayed the same. The outdoor alfresco dining is perfect for balmy summer evenings, or take a seat inside on one of their European cafe chairs. And yes, that blue neon sign is there to stay.
Words by Beth Yeoman