Zankiki Wood Fire Pizza – Grand Opening Night
Tonight, I am not coming to you as Emma Stuart, author of The Splendid Life and teacher extraordinaire. Tonight, I am coming to you as a piece of pizza. Personified.
She’s finally lost it, you’re thinking. She’s gone absolutely, utterly bonkers.
Fear not, friends…I have not lost my marbles. But I have just returned home from eating my weight in some amazing pizza at the grand opening of what is sure to be Moorooka’s new local favourite, Zankiki Wood Fire Pizza. I am actually having trouble breathing with how full I am, and earlier Ryan stumbled out of the room mumbling “OMG, I’m so fat”…it’s glorious.
I’d been following Zankiki on Facebook for a month or so now, ever since hearing of it’s opening through another of my local stomping grounds, Todd and Pup. Following in the footsteps of Todd and Pup’s success, the owners Kate and Aaron Whitlock snapped up the newly available neighbouring restaurant space on Tarragindi Road, in Moorooka – and I gotta say, having a wood fired pizza restaurant within walking distance of my house is…just a little bit exciting.
Not that we walked there tonight. Oh no…we did what all sensible people would do in preparation for a feast, and drove. And thank God we did.
We headed in nice and early, and had our pick of the tables as there were only two other parties seated for dinner. The staff were out in force, however, with about 6 waitresses mulling around the ordering counter, learning the tricks of the trade and having a friendly joke with every customer (I feel like I nearly talked my way into the kitchen) – they were expecting quite a crowd, by the looks of it! We sat, and were thrilled to peruse quite an impressive menu. Not a plethora of vego options, but enough to make me umm and ahh for a couple of minutes. In the end we decided on the Vegetarian (as you do) and the Crudo (minus the ham…the hipster trend of rocket on pizza was just too much to resist). We didn’t order any entrées as I had my eyes on another prize…the gelato for dessert!
After we’d ordered at the counter, I took in the rest of the ambiance of the restaurant. Like most of the other restaurants in the complex (Todd and Pup, a great little indian called Sheesh Mahal, with the friendliest guys you can meet, and a brand new Thai which we have yet to sample) it is exclusively outdoor seating. They decorated quite simply with plain tables topped with cute little fresh basil plants (that I assume you can garnish your dishes with if you so desire!) and a small shop counter/waiting area for pick up orders.
The thing which caught my eye, however was the window into the kitchen – giving an amazing peek at the absolutely epic pizza oven they use – even from behind I was impressed!
The smells coming from the kitchen were making me drool, and when our first pizza, the Crudo, arrived after very little time, I barely had time for a snap before we dug right in. And….holy wow, Batman. What a pizza.
The base was just the right balance of crispy and doughy. The chef and co-owner, Peter Yann (a former TAFE apprentice chef of the year) uses a traditional slow-ferment process for the dough, and he’s absolutely nailed it. The sauce was so out of this world, it actually made me ashamed of any pizza I have made to date. I need to improve my sauce game! To top it off (see what I did there?) there was just the right toppings to sauce to base ratio to make every mouthful enjoyable.
Patrons continued to filter in to the restaurant, and we’d polished off about two-thirds of the Crudo by the time the Vegetarian pizza arrived – I’d saved room, but unfortunately I didn’t find the second pizza as good as the first. The base and sauce were still amazing, but the toppings were just a little too heavy for my liking, and the provolone cheese was almost overpowering in it’s pungency – not something I particularly enjoyed, if I’m honest. That being said, it was still delicious and we still managed to finish the entirety of the two pizzas in record time!
It was at about this time that I really had to give myself a stern talking to – I had promised myself gelato, dammit, and I wasn’t going to be deprived. I’m not usually one to stuff my face until I burst, but being the grand opening and all I wanted to try dessert too (for the review, or course!). I went up to the counter and watched the poor girl attempt to scoop gelato into the tiny cup (an art form, apparently). As I was waiting, I heard the chef mention that it would be about a 40 minute wait for take away pizzas – lucky we got in early! I ordered my gelato – bubblegum and salted caramel (Ryan opted for the much more sensible combination of salted caramel and choc fudge brownie)…my stomach is still deciding if that was a good idea or not.
Next time, when I’m a bit more calm and haven’t gorged myself in a feeding frenzy, I’ll save room for the Apple Crumble Calzone. Heck yes, I will.
And now, two hours later, I finally feel like I’m returning to human again. Ryan has gone to the gym (I’m not that dedicated, unfortunately) and I’m wondering if it was all just a crazy, sugo-induced dream…I may have to go back again soon, just to make sure it wasn’t!