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There’s a hyper-local vegetarian brief at this Marrickville pizzeria and the results are top shelf
In a city where you can get pizza by the metre and deep-dish versions impersonating a Mary’s burger, is it still possible to stand out with slices of pie? Yes and Madre in Marrickville is doing just that. This tiny corner pizzeria is the latest venue for Piero Pignatti Morano and Kim Douglas, the A-team behind the ever-popular Two Chaps café, located only blocks away. And they’ve tuned out all the gospel about what makes a classic Italian pizza to create something thoroughly local – and unlike anything else around.
Madre borrows Two Chaps’ make-it-from-scratch philosophy and its ingredients, with chef Kim Douglas using the café’s four-year-old sourdough starter and a mix of three Australian flours to create the bases for Madre’s pizzas. Given that the dough shares DNA with the bread baked on site at Two Chaps, it’s not surprising that pizzas have a strong earthy bite and the tart flourish of a good sourdough loaf. The slices are still sturdy but thin, making them excellent delivery systems for the local topping. The three-cheese pie includes fior di latte from the same postcode, as well as melted portions of domestically made blue cheese and aged washed rind. To stop the pizza from hitting dairy overload, the kitchen adds Warrigal greens from Pocket City Farms in nearby Camperdown and tips of cavolo nero from Moon Acres Farm in the Southern Highlands. Some hazelnuts, lightly toasted in the oven, are smashed and sprinkled over the top for a satisfying crunch.
You could do an address-check on each ingredient (the shiitake mushrooms are locally grown, for instance), but these all-Australian pizzas are so much more than a survey of supplier lists: they’re also delicious. The classic Margherita is given a fiery punch from smoked buffalo mozzarella; things get rich with one topped with shiitakes, braised eschalots, washed rind cheese and garlic chives; and zucchini ribbons, fior di latte, basil hummus and peas is a light, bouncy nod to spring, like the pizza version of pasta primavera.
Like Two Chaps, everything at Madre is vegetarian. And while a vegan option hasn’t yet hit the menu, you can ask for pizza without cheese or baked with Madre’s own dairy-free mozzarella, produced from fermented soy or cashew yoghurt.
The drinks list backs up the pizzeria’s approach – the wines are all vegan and from small domestic producers, such as Dormilona and Delinquente. Even the negroni has Australian citizenship, with Campari ditched in favour of South Australia’s Applewood Red Økar amaro, and rounded out with Maidenii vermouth from down south and gin from Poor Tom’s distillery, located only footsteps away. And the Chevre rosé from the Mornington Peninsula can be enjoyed by the glass or in a sparkling granita served with macerated strawberries – its bright fruity lift is the right prescription for outsmarting a pizza food coma.