Tuesday, 16 September 2014
To-die-for wood fired pizzas and thrifty specials? (Lazer) pigs might fly after all!
The combination of beer and pizza has taken over Collingwood in a big way, thanks in no small part to the recent opening of both LazerPig and Forester’s Hall. While the latter is all about its monstrous array of craft beer, with pizza being something of a sideshow, LazerPig looks set to become a cult hero with its divine pizzas and the most generous happy-hour in town (equal to that of local neighbour and partner in crime The Grace Darling Hotel).
One might be forgiven for feeling confused by what LazerPig is, or indeed by what it does. Is it a pub? Is it a sort of disco? Is it a trippy pizzeria that does not quite know whether it is living in the past or the future? In reality, it is all of these things, and so much more besides.
The blackened façade of the building conceals a juxtaposed world full of disco balls, a smoke machine, quirky trinkets, taxidermy, stained-glass windows and oldy-worldy traditional pizzeria tablecloths. The smallish bar, cosy fireplace and surrounding space is all darkened, unpolished wooden floorboards which confuse and delight in that they tell of a proper pub, rather than a typical sophisticated bar or pizzeria. A separate dining room, replete with an open view of the busy kitchen, flanks to one side, thereby completing the joyously disjointed picture.
On tap, there is plenty to choose from. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Coopers Best Extra Stout; a brew that I have requested that The Grace Darling Hotel add to its tap list since my very first visit there back in 2013. Fellow Coopers Stout fans may rejoice in that it is offered here, and between 4pm and 7pm, it is included in the happy hour. Mmmm…. $5 pints…! Not a stout drinker? I shan’t hold it against you, and neither will the folks at LazerPig. From the keg they also provide beers from Moon Dog, 4 Pines, Temple Brewing and a cloudy apple cider from St. Ronan’s. There are a few simple cocktails, an appropriate if not rudimentary wine list and acute Mondayitis sufferers can chase away the early week blues with $5 tumblers of Sailor Jerry punch.
On the pizza front, the ethos here seems to be “less is more;” in terms of each pizza's array of toppings. Most options are modern takes on classic Napoli-style pizzas; the Italian way, of course, being that no more than three ingredients complete the picture. Portion sizes and toppings are equally generous. Moreover, all pizzas are wood-fired, with the dough made in house (using five-year old sourdough culture*); the process for which takes eleven hours. In the end, the base is seen to be as important as what goes on it; as you bite into the crisp and voluptuous crust you will never look at pizza crusts the same way again.
Thus far, the “Prawn Fraser” (pictured above) has proven to be the most deeply satisfying. Garlicky, spicy and topped with huge, melt-in-your-mouth prawns (the variety is not specified but no matter); this one is sure to please anyone who loves the utterly guilty, shameful pleasure of enjoying seafood pizza.
Paired with Coopers Best Extra Stout, “The Prawn Fraser” proved to be a true orchestration of flavour, with the pair playing off each other as magnificently as Metallica did with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. The beer and pizza amplified one another; garlic and bready sweetness went head to head with burnt malt-forward intensity. The prawns did well in balancing and somehow accentuating the coffee bitterness of the beer, meanwhile, the rich tomato sauce and the addition of optional chilli oil* provided a glorious backdrop to the whole taste experience.
Other pizza options include “The Prosciutto;" a devilishly delightful delving into two classic Italian ingredients: prosciutto, of course, and the silken, textural delight that is buffalo mozzarella. Your lacto-vegetarian friends are not forgotten about thanks to “The Fun Guy”* and the basil and cheese top-heavy “Il Classico.” And if all that fails to satisfy (which I doubt will be an issue), there is antipasto, a "catch of the day" and salads to be had.
LazerPig is a great place to visit at any time of the day or week. During lunchtime the soundtrack revolves around 70s rock n’ roll and punk, before the DJ hits the decks at 6pm to deliver disco tunes all night long. The Collingwood drinking scene only keeps getting better and better, and the sight of not a single discarded pizza crust has me believing that pigs might one day fly.
* …And the “Pun of the Year” Award goes to…
* Staff provide a bottle of chilli oil for the table
* Five-year old sourdough culture fact provided by Broadsheet Melbourne's LazerPig review, which can be found here.
9-11 Peel St
Collingwood Vic 3066
(03) 9417 1177
Nearest Tram Stops
From City: Stop 15 – Smith St (as the tram turns left after Gertrude St)
From Bundoora: Stop 16 – Peel St
From the corner of Smith and Peel St, head down the hill on the opposite side of the road from The Grace Darlking Hotel. The venue is on the corner of the next block.
Happy Hour: Mon-Sun – 4pm-7pm (Coopers pints are a fiver)
Lunch Special: No pizza over $15
Monday Pizza Party: $6 pints all night, no pizza over $15 and Sailor Jerry rum punch tumblers at $5