400 Gradi is a member of Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, one of the only two members in Australia. This is not good for the Napoletana brand. Perhaps it was just high expectations and weeks of anticipation on my part but this pizzeria failed to deliver.
Firstly, let’s just take a look at what the Associazione is aiming for – “The consistency of the Vera Pizza Napoletana should be soft, elastic, easy to manipulate and fold. The centre should be particularly soft to the touch and taste, where the red of the tomato is evident, and to which the oil or for the ‘Pizza Marinara, the green of the oregano and the white of the garlic has perfectly amalgamated; In the case of the Pizza Margherita, the white of the mozzarella should appear in evenly spread patches, with the green of the basil leaves, slightly darkened by the cooking process.” – Il Disciplinare, Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana 2008
The society dictates the ingredients, methods of preparation, and every minute detail of how the pizza is prepared and served to ensure a consistent product. The pizza cannot even be taken away from the restaurant! – which begs the question as to why the pizza could be such a disaster and fail to deliver any of the key elements of good pizza or good food. The base should be soft, nicely aerated and slightly crisp on the bottom. The sauce, light, a little bit acidic and bringing all of the other ingredients together. My experience at 400 Gradi was unfortunately, severely lacking any of these things.
The margherita was fragrant yet looked flawed from the outset. A watery tomato sauce weighed the base down making it soggy and disgusting. The base was incredibly salty and chewy. It became difficult to swallow and a bit of a chore to eat consume, leaving a mass of unwanted crusts on the wooden serving board. Our second pizza was topped with roasted pumpkin, rocket and goats cheese. In complete contradiction to the first pizza it was dry and lacked something to bring it all together, again disadvantaged by the base.
Even the Tiramisu was a bit disappointing. If anywhere should be able to pull this off nicely, you’d think 400 Gradi could, but I guess the Associazione only cares about pizza. The tiramisu was served quite tackily in a conical glass where the sponge was drowned in marsala permeating a terrible ‘mum’s gone overboard with the brandy’ alcohol flavour. I’m not sure if there was coffee involved.
Try It. Must Go.