April 1st, 2009

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Crust


When times are tough, the tough turn to pizza; and there aren’t many better options priced as reasonably as Creative Chef Peter Augoustis’ new ‘Upper Crust’ range. The pizzas all come in fifteen inch rectangles that comfortably feed two adults.



Now I dined at the Double Bay store but you can get the range at any of their soon-to-be forty locations, springing up all over the place in coming months. They are currently at thirty-one stores, and have recently expanded into Queensland. By the end of June they expect to have forty stores, with sixty by the end of the year. Annandale is apparently the busiest store, but they have actually upgraded the technology there to produce better pizzas faster so the wait is never too long... will report back on that one, as it is our local store.



Staying in for pizza has never looked quite so gourmet either, with six new flavours added including one for dessert! As you can see by my photos, you can of course get half and half (but no more than two flavours) so I'd of course recommend a dessert half and a savoury half. I’d peg the dessert pizza, Fromage ($23) with the unique white cheese base, Gorgonzola, caramelised figs filled with mascarpone, buffalo mozzarella and walnuts, as the winner.



However the award winning Moroccan Lamb ($23) with Spanish onions, baby spinach, lemon and mint yoghurt drizzles made quite an impression too. Truth be told, I would probably order this one again first, even liking the sweet one better - this is just more often what I want from a pizza.



For a truly luxurious night in, enjoy your pizza with a wine recommended by Nick Caraturo, the Park Hyatt sommelier. He suggested a 2003 Penfolds Bin 138 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre blend to accompany the unusual macaroon-like mounds of potato topping slow-cooked braised lamb on the Shepherd’s Pie ($23) pizza. It’s one of my favourite wines so I’m not about to argue; a substantial, comforting, well-priced pizza and this particular wine would make a great night in! It's even stocked at my own local bottle shop, Amato's on Norton Street in Leichhardt.



For the sake of completeness, since I did indeed have to try the whole range, I will also tell you about the other three pizzas, though the first three were definitely my favourites. The Sausage Duo ($23) was a good pizza, particularly for substituting buffalo mozzarella for ordinary mozzarella. It wasn't too spicy, and I am told it makes the best cold slice of next-day pizza. 

The one I liked least was the White Proscuitto ($23) which has a bechamel sauce base, sliced potatoes, quite thick slices of proscuitto, gorgonzola and rosemary. It was just a little strong on the smallgoods for my personal taste.



And just when you thought vegetarians were left with just one option, there's also the Curry Chana ($23) or curried chick peas, also on a white cheese sauce base, drizzled with mint yoghurt and topped with macadamia nuts and fresh coriander. This was an excellent vegetarian pizza, substantial, tasty and visually appealing.

As a final testament for their products, if you're allergic to anything, Crust is very allergen aware. They have a full table of what allergens may be contained in what topping available in store and on their website. They also do gluten free bases upon request. Their last range was a selection of six pizzas with the Heart Foundation's tick of approval. They really do seem to listen to their customer base, and evolve with changing social needs. This makes me suspect that they'll be around for a while to come.

Crust
374 New South Head Rd, Double Bay
Ph: (02) 9328 6777

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar on Urbanspoon
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Venison Tenderloin with Fig Jam and Parsnip Puree



This was our first episode at cooking venison at home. It was a tenderloin of venison from Craig Cook's Meats in Northbridge, and the piece set us back about $15 for what was to become two serves that sat in the stomach for a while. We had it on a bed of parsnip mash with a home-made fig jam based on fresh figs which are very cheap at the moment.