Monday, 10 June 2013

Casual Dining - Alfredo's Pizzeria

In what was a huge week of test kitchens and parties, Alfredo's Pizzeria has finally opened its doors to the public.  The team behind Fortitude Valley icons the Limes Hotel and Alfred & Constance have this time put their considerable talent to design the perfect pizza joint.

Alfredo's officially opened on Friday the 7th of June but, in what was a clear master stroke, was open for a week's worth of test kitchens, pre-opening parties and a huge launch party.  I was fortunate enough to be one of a handful of bloggers invited along to some of the test kitchens and the pre-launch party.  It's not often I head over to a new joint two days in a row, but it was a really interesting experience and I was able to see the inner workings of a new restaurant.

The first test kitchen was an amazing event and I was happy to be seated with Brisbane Devoured and Miss Foodie, along with the team from Scrumptious Reads in what turned out to be an extremely busy and hectic test kitchen.  The space at Alfredo's Pizzeria is uber cool with a larger than life backlit wall that shows Alfredo himself munching on a piece of pizza!  I have never seen so many people squashed into a restaurant before, it was full on.  It was also a great way for the wait staff to be tested under extreme stress of a full house and a full bar, a test that they passed with flying colours.

The next night was a pre-opening party and I have to say, was a little more civilised than the initial test kitchen.  This time I was seated next to Melissa Loh and the team from Lucid Media and we again put the menu to the test.

Naturally, the menu at Alfredo's has a huge Italian flavour and split into 'bar snacks', 'comfort food', 'wood fired pizza' and dessert, but let's be honest, with a name like Alfredo's Pizzeria there has to be a focus on the pizza menu.  While there is not an extensive pizza menu, there is a great mix of vegetarian and meat lover's pizzas on offer, with cool names like the Joan Jett (caramelised onion, chili, tomato, oregano, capers, black olives and anchovies); Chuck Berry - AKA "The Original" (tomato, oregano, mozzarella and basil) and the Brown Sugar (meatball, pancetta and provolone on a bourbon and BBQ sauce).

I was able to sample pretty much everything on the menu over the two nights at Alfredo's Pizzeria and it was interesting to see the team iron out the kinks of the first test kitchen and have things humming along on the second night. Some of my favourites are described below.

From the comfort food portion of the menu I really loved the soup of the day with crusty bread.  The soup for the testing kitchen was a red capsicum and tomato soup.  I normally don't like anything with capsicum in it, although I have recently been calling this into question and it's on the back of trying items like this soup.  It was warm and comforting with a little bit of a kick to it, with the flavours working wonderfully together.  A real treat was dipping the crusty bread into the soup, yum!

From the 'bar snacks' I really loved the meatballs and crusty bread.  The tomato based sauce with the meatballs had a rich tomato flavour and had four perfectly moist meatballs that were covered in a wonderfully melted cheese.

The meatballs were also put to good use in the meatball sliders, also from the 'bar snacks'.  The moist meatballs, dripping with that lovely tomato sauce were stuffed into mini slider buns and by the time I ate my slider, the tomato sauce had soaked into the bun.  These were really quite good and if I didn't have a heap of pizza to sample, would have had a few more.

You might be mistaken in thinking I enjoyed the starters more than the main show, but not so.  Of the eight pizzas on offer at Alfredo's I sampled six of them and I have to say that two really stood out for me.  The Brown Sugar was covered with those wonderful meatballs that I keep coming back to and in combination with the bourbon and BBQ sauce and the lovely melted mozzarella was my pick of them all.

This was closely followed by the Chuck Berry "AKA the Original".  For me the best type of pizza is a traditional margarita and this was a really good example of how less is more.  The tomato base was a lovely and rich with great flavour and the melted mozzarella and basil completed a wonderful and simple pizza with bags of flavour.

My only criticism of the pizza was that the base was not quite crispy enough, which was exacerbated by a heap of bloggers taking photos of the pizzas (mmm, guilty!).  The beauty of the test kitchen is to get this feedback and use it before opening.  I can also confirm that between the first and second nights the bases of the pizzas had markedly improved, so I am sure that by the time of opening they will have this sorted.

There is also a really nice dessert menu at Alfredo's and over the two nights I was able to sample most of the dessert menu.  The standout for me was the self saucing Chocolate Pudding and vanilla bean ice cream.  The pudding had a molten chocolate centre that oozed all over the plate once I cracked it open with my spoon and when I combined the chocolate mess with the vanilla ice cream, it was heaven.  I also really liked the waffles with lemon curd and limoncello gelato, I have a real weakness for lemon curd it turns out....

Alfredo's Pizzeria has scored a bit of a coup with well known Brisbane chef Norman Harvey (formerly the head chef at E'cco) at the helm.  This is a bit of a change of pace for chef Norman and based on the two test kitchens I attended I am sure it's a step up pace wise!

There is a lot to like about the set up at Alfredo's with a very well stocked bar that included a huge range of beers on tap, a nice wine selection and of course a great cocktail menu.  I can see that this will be a popular spot to come along for a casual night of beer and pizza and then if you want to kick on, head over to Alfredo's big brother next door, Alfred & Constance!

It's very early days so far, but once Alfredo's hits its straps, I am positive that it will a great place to have a chilled out mid week pizza or a spot to launch a big Friday or Saturday night in the valley.  I'm looking forward to heading back again soon with some mates, just to chill out and have a great pizza.


**I was an invited guest by Alfredo's Pizza and Lucid Media

Alfredo's Pizzeria with Alfredo taking centre stage!
The huge wood fired oven ready to make pizza
From the bar menu - calamari fresco al sale e pepe (salt and pepper calamari)
From the bar menu - Arancini Balls (risotto balls)
Comfort Food - handmade gnocchi, pumpkin, sage and pine nuts - this is a specialty of Norman Harvey's
Not my favourite but a favourite at the table, the mac n cheese with smoky bacon
The Joan Jett (which was super hot with chili) and the Chuck Berry (background)
The waffles were popular at our table
The well stocked bar ready to pump out cocktails or beer on tap!
I love the really old cash register
It was so busy on the first test kitchen night I didn't even notice the foosball table...
Alfredo's Pizzeria on UrbanspoonAlfredo's Pizzeria


  1. Gday
    we did end up going with our good friends and neighbours. The pizzas were great, although as you say could have been slightly crispier on the bottom. We had a great night

  2. Good stuff Mark, its an awesome spot and heaps of fun. I think they will nail the pizza bases soon 'cause you need crispy bases :)

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