BEAR IT AND GRIN
Delicious.com.au/ eatout It’s fast food but not as we know it – the crisp, thin-crust pizzas at Hungry Bear
DAN STOCK REVIEWS HUNGRY BEAR
AS FAR as Venn diagrams go, who knew there’d be enough overlap between ‘like shopping’, ‘like camping’ and ‘like pizza’ to build a business model?
But here’s Hungry Bear, decked out like a log cabin in the Melbourne Central food alley, pumping out pizzas to city suits and shoppers alike.
It certainly helps that those pizzas are very good.
A 48-hour-fermented sourdough forms the thin- crust for the range of dozen-odd pun-tastic pizzas that truly fly out of the electric oven. I’ve taken just three sips of my schooner of Furphy before they hit, piping hot and as rudely fresh and vibrant as a pink- cheeked hiker.
The Peter Peter is a pretty pumpkin number that adds sweet pickled slivers to the expected roasted cubes along with crunchy pepitas, while Meredith Goat’s cheese adds creaminess that’s countered by bursts of cherry tomato acidity. It’s delicious.
So, too, are the fennel-scented meatballs on the Brutus. Marinated zucchini adds greenery, toasted almonds add inspired crunch and fresh chilli adds a Goldilocks hit of heat. The Paul Hogan chucks prawns, chickpeas and roasted peppers onto a crisp base; the Jon Bon Chovi makes a case for anchovies taking their rightful place in the pizza-topping pantheon.
The nine-inch pizzas are easy to wolf down. Some might find them a touch small – I ate two for lunch, but then I am professionally greedy – but sides such as a zucchini and goat’s cheese salad help to make a meal. Victorian wines on tap (two whites, reds) join two beers, with Hepburn Springs and kombucha taking care of the softies.
This is fast food that’s real food and should be applauded. Whether a mid-shop pitstop or a quick bite before a film or catching a train, this Bear is smarter than the average fast-food joint.
FROM TOP A log cabin-inspired room is the unlikely setting for slinging top-notch pizzas such as the Brutus with meatballs and zucchini.