RE­VIEW Buzzy new pizza joint SPQR.

Grab a slice or two and a cold beer while a DJ spins vinyl in the cor­ner. This pizza joint is serv­ing up fast food that you can take your time with

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - SPQR: RE­VIEWED BY DAN STOCK

IT’S the era of spe­cial­i­sa­tion, when the mantra, “It’s bet­ter to do one thing well, than lots badly,” has fi­nally come to pass. So it is at SPQR, the pizza-only ad­di­tion to the city’s bustling Liver­pool St, which is de­liv­er­ing some very Mel­bourne-ac­cented Neapoli­tan swag­ger to the top end of town.

David Mack­in­tosh (Pei Mod­ern, Rosa’s Can­teen, Lee Ho Fook) has teamed with Tom Gaden (Boom­bap) and his wife Natalie to serve up pizza by the slice and plate to a young, funky crowd.

This is fast food done prop­erly. Cook­ing in just 60 sec­onds in the 400°C wood oven, there’s hardly time to take a sip of Peroni Red be­fore the friendly wait staff bring a cal­abrese to the ta­ble in the small, hand­some, din­ing room.

Piz­zas are good. The sweet­ness of San Marzano toma­toes tem­pered by dol­lops of njuda (a spicy, spread­able Cal­abrian sausage), nuggets of ri­cotta and a few wilted basil leaves makes for a per­fectly sat­is­fy­ing meal for one. The chilli-laden am­a­trice drapes thin slices of guan­ciale (cured pork jowl) over pecorino to hot and lively ef­fect.

Bases, though mine is a smidge too wet in the mid­dle, are won­der­fully charred. And what the crust lacks in airy fi­nesse of the best, it makes up for with chewy sour­dough sharp­ness.

Out­side of an­tipasto to be­gin, just seven red or white-based pizza op­tions on of­fer is a boon for the de­ci­sion­pho­bic, while the short wine list keeps drinks on theme. Cans of Nas­turo and ta­ble wine in tum­blers are teamed with Aperol spritz on tap to start, and there is one of the best amaro se­lec­tions (a dozen or so deep) to end.

With record store DJS spin­ning low-key vinyl in the cor­ner, it’s none too se­ri­ous and supremely cool.

In a city filled with pizza joints, SPQR proves there’s al­ways room for a fo­cused new­comer.

From top: grab a slice and a Peroni for a quick bite, the Aperol spritz, and cal­abrese pizza.

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