Saturday, 14 June 2014

Casual Dining - The Schonell Pizza Cafe

This one might take you back!  We were feeling pretty lazy and in need of some pizza, so immediately set about looking for the latest and greatest pizza places in town.  There were a few contenders, places that we'd not been to before but were starting to get reputations as the pizza joints to check out.  Then it struck me, why not look back, way back to a time when pizza was a mainstay in our diets, a time when getting pizza was the only dining out we did.

Why not go back and check out the Schonell Pizza Cafe!  Genius!

It has been a very, very long time since we'd even thought about the Pizza Cafe and even longer since we'd been.  We were taking a bit of a risk really, when you revisit a memory you need to consider that it might not live up to expectations.  But then I thought about why we stopped getting pizzas from the Schonell and it all came back to me, my last pizza there was literally inedible, in fact it tasted like axle grease.

Undeterred from that last experience, we pressed on and hopped in the car to drive out to the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland, the home of the Schonell Pizza Cafe.  It's funny how the mind plays tricks on you.  We used to get pizza from the Shonell all of the time, but after we parked our car and went search of the Pizza Cafe, we actually got lost....  We couldn't believe it, lost wandering around UQ looking for pizza, it was quite funny really.  Luckily, we had Google Maps on our phones and soon had ourselves sorted out and before too long we were standing in the food courtyard considering our pizza options.

The Schonell Pizza Cafe has a pretty simple menu, it runs from A to Z and each letter of the alphabet represents a different pizza, so there are twenty six pizza options to choose from, all representing an Italian movie, actor or director.  Twenty six pizzas is a lot to choose from..  Would we go with the Fellini, which was smoked salmon with a sprinkle of parsley?; or the Killer fish, marinara mix marinated in chilli and onion?; or the Rossellini, with ricotta, artichoke and semi-dried tomatoes? or perhaps the Umberto D, with calabrese, marinated mushrooms, garlic and oregano....  Simply too many choices!

In the end we decided to get a pizza each and of course it was nostalgia that dictated our choices on the night with SC opting for the De Sica, shredded ham, pancetta, calabrese, pineapple, capsicum and onion.  The pizza actually came with olives as well, but SC decided that the olives would be surplus to requirements!  The pizza came in that roughly circular state that traditional Italian pizzas come in, almost as if they can't be bothered forming a perfect circle.  There base was lovely and crisp and came covered in plenty of toppings that were dominated by the ham and pancetta.  The pizza was good but could have used a little more of a tomato base, which was a little dry around the edges, but it had great flavour and was devoured quickly.

I'd gone for the very pizza that had so disgusted me the very last time I'd tried a Schonell pizza, the Lollobrigida which is simple four cheeses, oregano and semi dried tomatoes.  My cheese pizza looked amazing and I couldn't wait to dig in.  You'd have thought that I'd have been apprehensive but I wasn't, my pizza smelled great and I could tell that it would be perfect.  The base was crispy and golden, the cheese melted just right and the semi dried tomatoes added some extra punch to the flavours.  I'm a traditionalist when it comes to pizza and cheese pizzas are pretty much the only way to eat'em.

Pizza is such a simple food but it's no surprise it's one of the most popular foods in the western world, they are just so damn tasty!  I'd expected the Schonell to be really busy and that we'd have to wait for a long time to get our pizza, but we'd got our timing right.  It wasn't until we were sitting down enjoying our pizza that the queue started to form.  Phew!

We'd really enjoyed our trip down memory lane to the Schonell for pizza and started to wonder why we'd not given the place another chance after tasting just one bad pizza.  In the end though, the Pizza Cafe remains a cheap place to eat at the University and it is quite a bit of a hassle to get out, just for a pizza.

I think we'd best leave this place for the students, but if like us you want a trip down memory lane, then get on over to the Schonell Pizza cafe.......  It'll be better than you remember.

Our two pizzas were a decent size and had beautifully crispy bases
Can you ever have too much cheese on a pizza?  Why stop at four types!
The queue for cheap pizza begins
Twenty Six pizza types all named after Italian movies, directors and actors
It looks like a slick operation nowadays - I don't remember it being so shiny shiny
It was a cold night out but great for pizza

Pizza Caffe on Urbanspoon


  1. Hi Anthony,

    Thank you for reviewing the Pizza Caffe. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip down memory lane!

    The Pizza Caffe team are really proud of their handmade bases and fresh toppings so I'll make sure to pass your feedback onto them.

    If you're thinking about dropping by again you might like our $15 Sundown Menu (av Monday - Wednesday 4pm - 7pm) including a pizza from the Sundown Menu, featuring the Lollobrigida, as well as a glass of red or white wine, schooner of James Squire or a soft drink.

    We hope to see you again soon.

    Kind regards,

    1. Thanks for the info Kayla.

      Good times, good times



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