Because three perfect margherita pizzas are better than one
Once upon a time (well, 1889, actually) Queen Margherita of Savoy, the first Queen of Italy, spied peasants eating some kind of flatbread covered with tomato and oil. A famous pizzaiolo named Don Rafaelle Esposito was summarily summoned to her palace to replicate it, but rather than merely copy the creation, he decided to enhance it with the tricolours of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil. The margherita pizza was born.
So for a moment, forget all the no-bookings, tapas, degustation, nose-to-tail and foraging trends. Rather, meet Queen Margaret, a new pizzeria in Clifton Hill (technically Fitzroy North, but its village possie says otherwise) that aims to celebrate the perfect margherita. Owner Robert Coco describes such perfection with an emphatic smile: dough fermented at least 24 hours for maximum depth and flavour, a crust with a thin and crisp exterior yet chewy interior, and of course, fresh toppings.
Queen Margaret is classy but casual. Staff in floral or checked aprons don genuine smiles. A rustic, industrial-style design features reclaimed timber, black tabletops and white brick walls dressed with shelves of canned goods, old books and salvaged kitchen props. An open pizza kitchen and small bar separate the front and back dining spaces, while the main kitchen hides behind a mock shabby-chic cottage frontage with lace curtains. From there to the loo, the story of QM is fleshed out in black ink across the walls and ceiling.
Delighting any margherita devotee, there’s not one but three versions: QM I, II and III. There’s also a cheese focus: around 10 types span the pizza and cheese boards. Maybe start with a cured meat and cheese platter, some focaccia or small plate of fried calamari with chili salt or pork & veal meatballs. For drinks, try the full-flavoured Red Duck porter or slightly spicy 3 Ravens Blonde.
We’ve all travelled from Carlton to Mornington for DOC, from Fitzroy to Prahran to Ladro, but QM now seems poised to capture a hefty slice of our pizza pilgrimages.
Where: 356 Queens Pde, Fitzroy North
Phone: (03) 9482 5988
Hours: Tue–Sun, 5pm–Late