|Gamberi e Piselli AUD20.50|
tomato, prawns, peas, chilli basil
We have heard a lot about Ladro Gertrude Street in Fitzroy ever since it was voted one of the best pizza spots in Melbourne. So when I read the favourable review on Ladro Greville Street in The Age a few weeks ago, it was almost wrong not to visit it's newer sibling.
Having heard how hard it is to secure a table, we arrived at their doorstep at 12 noon. It was a slight anticlimax to see only 2 table occupied, but it also meant I could have my pick of seating. I chose a spot next to the window to the courtyard to ensure good lighting for my photos :)
With so many interesting pizzas and small sharing antipasto-style dishes (primi piatti in their parlance), we finally settled on the the Margherita and Gamberi e Piselli pizzas, a a dish of the cannellini bean salad with bottarga.
The spartan looking Margherita pizza was quite delicious, especially the buffalo mozzarella. While we would have preferred more mozzarella, I suspect that it would have made the pizza too rich. The first few mouthfuls was a little disappointing though, but I discovered that with a sprinkle of sea salt, the tomato base came to life!
tomato, bufala, basil
Loaded with prawns and peas, the Gamberi e Piselli pizza was much "juicier". Both the prawns and peas were succulent and really popped in your mouth. I was glad that the chilli was quite mild and didn't overpower the rest of the pizza.
Having seen bottarga selling for quite ridiculously exorbitant prices, I decided to try it. In this case, the bottarga was shaved over a refreshing cannellini bean salad piled on top of thinly shaved fennel and a drizzle of good olive oil and lemon. Julia avoided the bottarga with it's strong fishy taste, but the umami-packed crumbles were hard for me to resist! I thought was had a flavour similar to belacan shrimp paste, but less fermented.
|Cannellini bean salad with bottarga AUD12.50|
While we couldn't finish the pizzas, I wanted something sweet. It was lucky that the Brutta ma buono were just the right size. Small, light meringues studded with chopped almonds made a nice end to the meal, especially with a cup of good black coffee.
|Brutta ma buono (ugly but good) AUD3|
The kitchen staff had no issues with me taking photos either. I'm sure the fairly open kitchen beside the corridor to the courtyard and toilets is part of the show. It's always nice to see a kitchen humming along.
So, was Ladro as good as the hype? Yes, I think so, but you definitely pay for the privelege. And there was definitely no issues with me taking photos of the food, decor and even the kitchen!
Ladro Greville Street
(03) 9510 2233
162 Greville St
Prahran VIC 3181
More photos: Ladro Greville Street - Flickr
- Ladro Prahran, by Larissa Dubecki, Epicure, The Age, August 3, 2010 15/20 Tried, tested, trustworthy ... Ladro Prahan.
- Ladro Opens on Greville Street, by Hilary McNevin, Broadsheet Melbourne 16th June 2010
- Ladro in Prahran - I'm so hungreeeeeeeeee, Wednesday, June 23, 2010
- Ladro Gertrude Street - by Veda Wickens, CitySearch Melbourne, January 2006 Pizzas are definitely the top pick of the menu here but there are other options on offer in fitting with the Italian theme.
Getting a table in Ladro is easy if you're prepared to sell your first-born. Expect to be served very good pizza (such as the Verde, with green-olive paste, mozzarella, capers and rocket) and have a waiter breathing down your neck if it looks like you'll spend more than 45min eating. It's a tad overrated, but a quintessential Melbourne pizza experience.
Lonely Planet Publications, July 2007.