Sydney pizzeria Gigi goes cheese-free

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The much-loved Gigi PIzzeria is often packed with hungry locals.
The much-loved Gigi PIzzeria is often packed with hungry locals. Photo: Sahlan Hayes

Gigi, one of Sydney's most popular pizzerias, has launched a new menu and there's not one melted disc of mozzarella in sight.

You can forget pepperoni, ham and salami at the Newtown restaurant too - Gigi's menu is now 100 per cent plant-based.

"The change came about from being aware of how much produce we go through plus all the information I've collected about animal agriculture on many different levels," says Gigi owner Marco Matino.

Gigi's calzone in cheesier times.
Gigi's calzone in cheesier times. Photo: Sahlan Hayes

A plant-based menu is bold move for a pizzeria and Matino says the customer feedback has been mixed.

"We have a lot of customers who are passionate about their mozzarellas and salami, so it's understandable that not everyone is positive about the change, but there's been a lot of support too."

Gigi is one of 14 pizzerias in Australia certified by the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana, the non-profit Italian organisation with a mission to protect "true Neapolitan pizza".

AVPN-certified marinaras and margheritas must be made in accordance to strict guidelines that stipulate everything from the type of flour that should be used to how long the pizza can spend in the oven (no more than 90 seconds).  

The specification of high-grade mozzarella (no substitutions) means cheesy margheritas are off the menu at Gigi but the restaurant maintains the AVPN certification with its traditional marinara ($17) of San Marzano tomato, garlic, fresh oregano and extra virgin olive oil.

"For 40 years, until the margarita came along 1889, the marinara was the only pizza being sold in Naples. A lot of people have argued that it's not traditional to take mozzarella off pizza, but actually, the most traditional pizza you can order doesn't have any meat or cheese on it."

The wood-fired pizza menu also includes the "Cavolo" with cauliflower puree, artichokes, pine nuts, capers, currants, garlic and parsley ($22); and "Patate" featuring thinly sliced roasted potato, garlic, rosemary and black truffle pate ($24).

379 King Street Newtown, 02 9557 2224, Mon-Sun 6pm-10:30pm,