225 Melville Rd Pascoe Vale South, VIC 3044
|Features||Vegetarian friendly, Gluten-free options, Accepts bookings|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Payments||eftpos, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9077 4904|
Melville Road in Pascoe Vale South is an undulating boulevard of immaculate Deco homes that terminates at a scrappy patch of Bell Street. It's right at this junction, near the holler and squawk of the tram terminus, that you'll find Shop 225, a tiny pizza shop with a handful of cheery red tables outside and its name hand-painted on the window.
Inside you'll find bare bricks framing a tiny space of vintage chairs and tables, a few bar seats along the window and kitchen bench, and a cabinet full of Italian soft drinks, bobbing balls of fior di latte and a basket of salamis – both the meat and vegan variety.
Shop 225 is owned by Connie Polito and Michael Nihil. Michael works the wood-fired oven while Connie (whose family owns Polito Wood Fire Ovens) works the floor with rivalling warmth, chatting with regulars without missing a beat.
The menu is impressively simple. No salads, no sides. Just pitch-perfect Neapolitan-style pizza. The pizza dough is rested for two days so the resulting bases have a slightly fermented and salty sourdough flavour and the bases are cooked at 400 degrees so it only takes around a minute for the crust to balloon up with charred bubbles. Warm bread. Is there a better smell?
So what'll it be from the dozen or so pizzas on the handwritten menu? Will it be the popular Zio Pino, scattered with stracciatella, mushrooms, parsley, parmesan and truffle oil? Or the white-based Bianco Gamberi, with prawns, parsley and pancetta? How about the funky Sud, made with fior di latte, house-made 'nduja and silverbeet? Or the Carbone, a creamy, cheesy, indulgent wheel with bacon and onion – picture the fixings for carbonara pasta on a slender, chewy pizza base and you get the idea. It's outrageously delicious.
You can also get a wink to the ol' Hawaiian if you order the Melo, which comes with fior di latte, ham and maple pineapple.
Gluten-free bases are made fresh daily (in limited quantities) and Shop 225's menu makes a point of highlighting the pizzas that can successfully be made vegan (at least half of the current menu).
Keeping on the simplicity theme, dessert is either gelato or homemade "try not to throw your face straight in it" tiramisu, served with a drizzle of Nutella. While the drinks menu is currently limited to refreshing Italian soft drinks, a drinks licence is imminent, so you'll soon be able to enjoy a glass of wine with your meal.
There's something really special about this place. It has soul, warm smiles, warm bread and good music. Who could ask for anything more?
Pro Tip: Make a booking or go early. With a dough that takes two days to make, it's possible to miss out.
Go-to Dish: The Carbone.