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Thursday, 28 May 2015

A25 Pizzeria

Despite still being new-ish to the South Yarra area, I'd already walked past A25 Pizzeria (720 Chapel Street, South Yarra) multiple times before actually getting around to trying it. (I find decent Chapel Street venues a bit few and far between, so tend to dine out in other areas instead.) Over the Easter weekend, a friend from interstate stayed with me. When she landed, we were both starving - where was there wine and tasty food within walking distance, that was not likely to be too noisy or jam-packed? Hey, let's try this place I've been meaning to check out...

A25 is on the northern end of Chapel Street, a few minutes' walk from Toorak Road. Named for a freeway between Rome and Pescera, it is a long, thin venue (along the street front, not perpendicular to it), with indoor and outdoor seating, amply cocooned by clear plastic shades and heated. The initial impression is clean and bold: white, black and blonde-wood hard surfaces and occasional splashes of green and pink; neatly stacked, brightly coloured products taking up every inch of shelf space; a black-and-white graphic print on the wall, over which lies the obligatory neon sign, here pronouncing that 'Pizza is Sexy!'

The venue is not short of branding, with its logo or motto adorning everything from staff aprons and baseball caps to glassware, to a floor-to-ceiling "A25" printed in green along the window. Perhaps this is a trick owner Remo Nicolini picked up from his former ventures: he previously owned +39 in Little Bourke Street, and still owns and operates Non Solo Pasta in Docklands. Pizza is clearly a family affair, as Remo honed his pizza-making skills initially at his father's Gold Coast venue, while Remo's brother Tony runs the popular Melbourne D.O.C. venues. Remo's focus these days, however, is experimenting with new ways to make pizza, whilst maintaining the 'integrity of ingredients' and relying on a combination of experience and passion to 'perfect the evolution of pizza'.

Amazing mozzarella... mostly already gone by this point

A25's deli counter display whets the appetite with prominent cured meats and cheeses. A simple appetiser of locally-grown buffalo mozzarella was so good, we ordered it twice. Seriously, I will go back, just for that cheese.

Everything here is fun and modern, including the menu options. Currently listing nothing above $20, the menu obviously features pizza as the mainstay, and patrons have the option of "Red [based] Pizza", "White Pizza", or the more adventurous "Crazy Pizza". Some of the more random ingredients include chips, raspberries, mint, black salt and mayonnaise (not altogether, thankfully). Just to be safe (*wink*), we ordered one from each category:

The A25
Fior di latte, asparagus, prawn, zucchini, ricotta, mint

Pink Lady
Fior di latte, potato, rosemary, ricotta, raspberries, mint

Naughty Girl
Fior di latte, tomato, olives, mushrooms, ham, artichoke

So how was the pizza, you ask? Great! Fresh, flavoursome, not overloaded, but definitely not half empty, light doughy bases. Also on offer are pasta, appetisers, salads and sweets. For drinks, we went with a simple half carafe of pinot grigio (which disappeared alarmingly quickly, hmmm).

The waitstaff all had accents, presumably Italian ones, but despite this lovely quality we did find it hard on occasion to attract their attention. I would have preferred slightly more attentive service.

A25 has the benefit of seven-day trading and it does take bookings (including online). Rumour has it that gluten-free bases and perhaps even breakfast pizzas will be the next offerings. I look forward to experiencing the evolution.

Sexy pizza with sexy people

A25 Pizzeria on Urbanspoon