39 Alfred Street Fortitude Valley, QLD 400607 3251 6555
|Opening hours||Sun-Thurs 12pm-1am; Fri-Sat 12pm-3am (meals served until midnight, pizza by the slice until 3am Fri and Sat.|
When it opened in June, Alfredo's Pizzeria was given a metaphoric warm hug by a late night crowd hungry for more than the traditional kebab.
Set behind successful older brother Alfred & Constance, Alfredo's working class facade has been glammed-up by glossy white subway tiles and yellow neon signage.
Inside, Alexander Lotersztain, also responsible for the interiors of Alfred & Constance and Limes Hotel around the corner, has worked with some of the existing elements to emphasise the building's quirks rather than trying to disguise them with interior designer trickery.
Entry is via a foyer made from a higgledy-piggledy stack of old window frames of various sizes. A sit-up bar below bi-fold windows creates a strong connection with the rather gritty Valley street-scape. There are rough brick walls, a rust-spotted tin roof and industrial lighting over the backlit bar; but rather than try-hard garage chic or plain grungy, it feels surprisingly cosy.
A dozen beers on tap, another half dozen by the bottle and a clipped wine list complement a flexible, drinks-friendly menu designed for appetites of all sizes.
From the "Bar Snack" menu, arancini are accompanied by a parmesan crisp, aioli replacing the more traditional tomato sauce. Pleasant enough, they are nevertheless a bit underseasoned, although I reckon at 11pm with a beer, all would be forgiven.
The pizza pulled from the wood-fired oven, on the other hand, is excellent. There are 10 all up, named after bands or singers; some available whole, others by the slice. They're fairly evenly split between traditional (tomato, oregano, mozzarella, basil/ prosciutto, tomato and oregano) and modern (pork belly, apple sauce, crackling and potato/ meatballs, pancetta, provolone, bourbon and barbecue sauce).
A simple pepperoni is perfect, with a bubbled, slightly charred and foldable crust that has just the right amount of topping.
From the "Comfort Food" section of the menu that includes classics like macaroni cheese and minestrone soup, orechiette comes served with a rich, tasty beef ragu.
Unfortunately, the pasta hadn't been drained properly and the "little ears" were still pooled with water that diluted the sauce.
Gnocchi have been up-sized here to fat pillows. Bathed in a creamy truffle and mushroom sauce, they were undercooked and mushy inside.
The dessert menu includes sweet pizzas (red grape, sugar and lemon mascarpone or banana and chocolate with hazelnuts) along with the ever-popular tiramisu, banoffee pie and waffles with lemon curd and Limoncello gelato. Our chocolate pudding unfortunately seemed to have undergone the same under/overcooking issue, this time on the same dish.
Far from "rock'n'roll" as the menu and wall art suggest, on this recent weekday lunch Alfredo's felt far more "morning after". Sure the music was pumping and yes it's far from a fine diner, but the staff seemed distracted and the food fell short of the mark with frustrating regularity. The pizza, however, is worth going back for, the atmosphere (at night at least) is vibrant and the fit-out means there's always something interesting to look at. A little more attention to the food would see it reach its potential.