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

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - On Sunday - Men­zies Al­ley, Mel­bourne Cen­tral, hun­gry­bear.com.au

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.

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