Say Ciao to the latest eatery from the people behind Cottesloe’s ever popular Il Lido, who have opened another casual Italian a little further up Marine Parade. Canteen Pizza has a laid back Mediterranean feel, with a crisp, light interior and walls lined with bottles of wine. By night, the venue takes on a louder, darker wine bar vibe.
Canteen Pizza is not your typical pizza joint. Though the focus is undeniably pizza, but the menu is punctuated with Italian style cheese, meat and fish dishes. One of Australia’s most renowned pizza pros, Napoli-born Ettore Bertonati, has been brought over from Adelaide to set up the pizza menu.
A lot of Italian produce and terms are used in the menu and the friendly wait staff are only too happy to explain and “translate” for me.
Given the fantastic wine program at Il lido, I’m expecting an impressive wine list and Canteen Pizza delivers. The ever evolving list is a mix of accessible Australian and Italian labels, with a focus on natural wines. A glass of Aperol spritz seems the perfect choice for enjoying casual Italian dishes by the sea. Their quirky glassware is a big hit, with the quote “Because you can’t drink pizza” printed on their wine glasses.
We start our lunch with dishes of antipasti. We’re spoilt for choice. There’s cold cuts of meat, seafood, veal and pork meatballs, freshly baked bread and more. I adore the baked Chevrac du Perigord ($18) French goats cheese is rolled in pistachio nuts and served upon freshly chopped rocket. The creamy cheese paired with zesty flavours of house made candied orange marmalade makes for a cracking summer dish.
Plump Rottnest scallops ($18 for two) are served in the shell along with pickled carrots, leek, and cauliflower. The scallops, topped with golden pane fritto crumbs (fried bread), are full of flavour and I’m wishing for more.
The Margherita, $20, is simply stunning. A pizza rossa (red sauce base) is topped with Italian Pomodoro san Marzano tomato sauce, Fior di Latte mozzarella, sharp parmesan and basil, the thin base is light and puffy, with just a hint of a crispy black edge. We shouldn’t mess with the simplicity of a Margarita, though we add pork and fennel sausage. At least it’s not pineapple! The punchy toppings aren’t loaded on, which gives the crisp base a chance to shine.
The Neapolitan-style pizzas are top notch. Their dough is left to rise naturally for 48 hours, topped with Italian and fresh local ingredients, then cooked in the roaring wood fire in their open kitchen. Chef also enjoyed the “Rustica” with creamy stracchino cheese, pork and fennel sausage, broccoli, fennel and fresh chili.
It’s not just about pizza at Canteen Pizza. The porchetta, a rolled roasted pork loin, catches my eye. Tempted as I am, this seems a meal in itself, so I order the rainbow trout. Sadly, it’s not arrived in the kitchen yet. The chefs are more than happy to cook their market fish (line caught Geraldton Bream) in the same way – stuffed with pancetta and rosemary, oregano and garlic. Here’s a truth bomb – I’ve never tackled a whole fish before! Put off by bones and not to mention being eyeballed by the fish as I ate it, I’d never taken the plunge. Boy, have I been missing out. The moist, buttery flesh easily slides off the bone. I am mightily impressed.