It's easy to assume that Nick Stanton, Guy Bentley, Jon Harper and Mark Catsburg were so bolstered by the success of their retro-Italian Carlton pizzeria Leonardo's Pizza Palace that they decided to flip their Chapel Street fine diner Ramblr into a pizza-by-the-slice shop and bar.
Easy, but not correct. Although Leo's by the Slice, which opened at the weekend, shares a family resemblance to Leonardo's Pizza Palace and their original bar, Leonard's House of Love, "we don't want people to think this is just another version of Leonardo's," says Stanton.
For a start, the pizzas are quite different. At Leo's, the kitchen is knocking out 53-centimetre pies with a slow-fermented sourdough base. The sourdough gives the slices the extra structure they need to be eaten one-handed.
There's a choice of eight toppings, half of them vegetarian or vegan, including one topped with a vegan version of Ramblr's Chinese bolognese. Salads, garlic bread and a meatball sub round out the bill.
The focus in Chapel Street is on takeaway. The space has been divided in two. Up front is the slice shop, with two small booths, a handful of stools and a few extra seats kerbside. Echoes of Ramblr remain in the exposed roof beams and positioning of the kitchen, but the orange and white tiled floor, red countertops, timber-panelled walls and self-service beer vending machine are new additions.
Out the back is a bar with forest green walls, a pool table and plenty of space for leaning. There's a short, sharp wine list, tap beer and cocktails.
For now, it's slices only in the bar, although Stanton plans to introduce a bar menu in the coming months.
Both spaces are card-only – no cash accepted.
Open Wed-Sun 5pm-late.
363 Chapel Street, South Yarra, leosbytheslice.com.au