Cantina Del Nonno: 86 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn 3122

Having studied and worked all day yesterday, I was immensely keen for our catch up with family friends last night over some greatly anticipated pizza.

Cantina Del Nonno is a restaurant that I have wanted to try for quite awhile and as I entered the restaurant yesterday evening, I was sure that it was not going to disappoint.

It was impossible not to notice the large amount of staff that were working and yet, we were avoided by at least two and eventually offered a rushed greeting and instructed to walk on up the stairs. My word, those stairs were unbelievably steep! I almost feel over when embracing our friends – of course, I will not hold this against the restaurant.

The restaurant’s fit-out was just stunning, with beautiful pendant lights, wooden floor boards and exposed red brick wall it was no surprise to know that the owners spent $400,000 on the pizza restaurant’s design.

Once seated, we immediately looked over our menus and were quick to make our choices due to significant hunger. Whilst there we equally as many staff working upstairs as there was downstairs, it did take quite a while for us to be approached.

We ordered the ‘Northerner’
pizza with tomato, fresh basil, freshly shaved northern style salami, olives and Fior di latte cheese as well as the ‘Potati’ with
sliced roasted potatoes, pancetta, caramelized onions, Fior di latte cheese and truffle oil.

It soon became apparent that this particular pizza place felt no rush in its service. Unfortunately, the mains did take quite a while to come out, and whilst I appreciate that we were a group of seven people, it was mainly disappointing as we had ordered quite early in the evening.

Finally, the mains arrived and my goodness did the pizzas look terrific!

Extremely large in size and topped with loads of fresh ingredients, it seemed as though the wait was going to be entirely forgiven.

Whilst the ingredients were of great quality, unfortunately what really brought Cantina Del Nonno down is that the pizza base was incredibly floury and was quite tough to chew. These elements combined with a very thin tomato sauce made for quite disappointing pizza. The tomato sauce on a pizza is just like butter on freshly toasted bread, it is such an important element and when it fails to impress, it can result in a poor product. Not having a thick enough tomato sauce means the ingredients slip and slide, turning the enjoyment of eating into the stressful time of trying to fit the pizza in your mouth without it all tumbling down and onto your plate.

We also shared the ‘Roquette’ salad 
with parmigiano Reggiano, toasted walnuts and pear with a balsamic and EVO oil dressing, which I must say, was absolutely divine and my highlight of the evening. I myself, am not a fan of nuts, however this salad was a major hit for me with the walnut not being too overpowering.

As per tradition, for dessert my family and I ordered the ‘Nutella Calzone’ that was filled with Nutella, fresh strawberries and served with vanilla bean ice-cream. To be brutally honest with you, until last night I was unsure if it was even possible to make a Nutella pizza that I would not enjoy.

Unfortunately, the sheer size of the pizza itself was off-putting. It was the largest Nutella calzone I have ever encountered! Covered in icing sugar, the first bite into the pizza was certainly not what I was expecting. The Nutella was runny, the decadent Nutella taste barely existent and the pizza base was once again incredibly chewy and had a cardboard-like feel.

Overall, the dining experience was relatively disappointing however the wonderful company did make up for this.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this restaurant for pizza lovers like myself, however there is always a chance that they were just having an off night!

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