Walking around after lunch I came across a new “where to eat pizza” book that I’d recently heard of. When it comes to pizza, even the average ones are good, but there is such conjecture on which are the best. While it might not be everyone’s favourite food, or necessarily the topic of final meal conversations, it invariably is one of the favourites for many.
At D.O.C. Pizza and Mozzarella Bar, whether you are in Mornington where we are today, or in Carlton at the original, the recipe is all about top quality ingredients, on a classic Italian thin base. While I don’t have a favourite pizza, I’m extremely glad that we turned the corner years ago, doing a complete one-eighty on the deep pan American extremism where you try to put every ingredient known to man on the one pizza.
Now that we have properly acquainted ourselves with what is actually traditional, it has become apparent that merely sourcing quality ingredients is really the easy bit. That close to perfect base is actually the aspect that seems most difficult to attain. There have been a few reasonably high quality pizzerias that I’ve been to recently that just can’t seem to get there with the perfect balance of crispiness, but just thick and doughy enough to capture the ingredients without impacting the middle with sogginess.
The reason I am writing about the base, is D.O.C. does a particularly good one. One that has been consistent on each of the ten-odd occasions I’ve been to either branch. Today both our “pizza speck” with smoked prosciutto, fontina cheese, wild mushrooms and thyme; and our “D.O.C.” with DOP Buffalo Mozzarella, San Marzano’s tomato, and basil; have a base that is pretty close to perfect. The simpler D.O.C. is adorned with an excellent amount of impeccable mozzarella that is easily the star of the show. It doesn’t get much better than great tomato and mozzarella!
The pizza speck is full of flavour and certainly more complexity, some of it owing to the smoky meat, some of it to the less usual but very flavoursome fontina (cow’s milk cheese from the Aosta Valley in Italy), and a further level through the mushrooms and thyme which are a tried and tested combination. We also have the radicchio salad which is filled with gorgeous ingredients including walnuts, gorgonzola, thinly shaved fennel, and is dressed with balsamic.
I had a bit of a night out the prior evening at a Bellota wine tasting, so it is chinotto for me, but Catherine has a well made Aperol spritz, before we finish with peppermint tea and a pretty good double espresso. While our waitperson is quietly spoken, the service is always fantastic in that style that somehow always is present in Italian joints.
There are a lot of good pizzas going around, but like the book I was browsing through following lunch, there are only a few really great pizzerias, and D.O.C. in Mornington is one of them in my book.