The first Sydney outpost of the popular Melbourne pizzeria DOC Gastronomia is located in Campbell Street in Surry Hills. The long, thin restaurant serves up DOC pizzas and salumi along with a list of mostly Italian and natural wines.
DOC have three locations in Melbourne at Carlton, Southbank and the pizza chain have been going for 13 years. As they explain D.O.C. is a "Phrase used by various agricultural government bodies that set and oversee the standards of some Italian foods, most significantly cheese and wine." The pizza dough is a mix of 80% white and 20% wholemeal flour given a slow rise over a period of four days.
The Surry Hills branch doesn't take bookings so when Monica, Marco and I arrive at 7pm we're faced with a small wait. I leave Monica to speak Italian with the manager to put us on the waiting list. "We share the same blood!" she whispers passionately at his retreating back. We don't want bar seats, we want a proper table.
He tells us it will be 20 minutes but within 10 minutes we are edging past tables, trying not to bump people's pizzas off the table and accidentally grazing our buttocks against the people sitting with their back to us at the bar. The menu has a range of pizzas, starters, salad and a lasagna but the big draw is the pizza. On the back of the menu is a list of cheeses and salumi mapped out against an map of Italy broken down by region.
Given our tiny table, we are surprised when everything arrives at once. And when I say everything I mean, a bruschetta, salad and three pizzas without a pizza stand in sight. It necessitates a bit of balancing and while we juggle and photograph somehow Monica manages to cut the bruschetta in thirds. It's topped with oozy stracciatella cheese, anchovy paste, lemon zest and shaved bottarga. It's rich, creamy and perfectly seasoned.
Pizza DOC – San Marzano tomato, fresh DOP buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil $25
There is no room for plates so we each get one pizza each and eat a slice and then pass it on. There is the Pizza DOC, a classic margarita with San Marzano tomato, DOP buffalo mozzarella and basil leaves. It's on the sweet side-the pizza needs some salt added to it because the tomatoes' sweetness is noticeable. In terms of the crust it is very good with a nice puffy blistered edge and uniform, thin base.
Pizza Salsiccia – DOC Deli’s pork sausage, crema di broccoli & mozzarella $24
The pork sausage and broccoli pizza with mozzarella needs a bit of seasoning too. Once we add some chilli slices in oil it's better but it seems like a lot of the food here needs just a bit of salt.
Pizza Cornuto – San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, induja, roasted pepper & hot cacciatore salame $25
I always knew that the spicy pizza would be my favourite but there's a surprise ingredient on top - green capsicum. This is like waving a flag to a bull for Monica who dislikes capsicum with a fervent intensity. And she's quite right, green capsicum is such a strong taste that that is the dominant one above the nduja or cacciatore salami. I add some more chillis in oil on top to give this the fiery finish that I crave.
Riso Nero $19
There are mixed leaf and caprese salads but we go for the black rice salad with golden beetroot, cavalo nero, pomegranate, chopped almonds, black rice and a dill and maple dressing. I don't mean to harp on about it but the salad's textures are good but the lack of seasoning means that the flavours are too muted.
Sweet goat’s cheese tiramisu with traditional savoiardi & montenegro $13
I only have eyes for tiramisu especially when it's a goat's cheese version with Montenegro. The goat's cheese flavour is very light to as only to be a trace and it's a lovely tiramisu. Underneath the mascarpone topping it's a bit wetter than others but I don't mind that. There isn't much Montenegro but the whole thing disappears quickly.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you prefer bar seating or regular table? Do you add chillies to your pizza?
This meal was independently paid for.
78 Campbell St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Monday to Saturday 12pm–12am