Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mad Raven Pizza Deluxe

April 8, 2012
We worked off our yum-cha binge bushwalking through Bunyip State Forest (which is really lovely by the way). By the time we were done, we'd all somehow mustered up enough hunger to want dinner on the drive back.

Lucky for us, Cindy remembered our friend Erin randomly raving to us about a pizza shop in Kallista. Some quick googling and map-checking and we'd decided that Mad Raven Pizza Deluxe was the venue in question and that it was basically on our drive home. Sorted.

Mad Raven is a very small restaurant - basically three tables inside and a couple on the street (for which it was far too cold). Despite clearly being a takeaway focussed place, they've managed to make the inside inviting and warm, so it's well worth booking a table if you feel like dining out up that way. We snagged one of the two booths and settled down to peruse the menu. Mad Raven has a dedicated veg menu with ten pizzas to choose from, plus a note saying that vegan and gluten-free versions are readily available.

After some debate, we decided that two pizzas would be enough for the three of us to share (I'll admit that I was pushing for three pizzas and that I was wrong - two was plenty). We started with The French Goat (in the background, with macadamia and basil pesto, red wine caramelised onion, soft-rind French goats cheese and paprika, $23). The pizza bases are sourdough and fall somewhere between trendy thin crust and old-school pan. Either way, they're delicious and the toppings on this ensured a satisfying pizza - the onions were soft and caramelised, the cheese had some decent flavour without being overpowering and the pesto was great.

However, it paled in comparison with the brilliance of our other pizza, the mushy love (foreground, with mozzarella, tomato, slow cooked porcini and field mushrooms, onions, feta, spring onions and white truffle oil, $23). This was simply amazing - bursting with the mushroom and truffle oil flavours with the salty feta providing a bit of cut through. I'm not sure how the mushrooms were prepared - they were clearly slow-cooked in something delicious because they were to die for. Possibly my favourite pizza of all time.

At $23 a pop you're paying for gourmet pizzas, but these easily fit that bill and were well worth the price. Service was efficient and friendly, and the little room was cosy and warm and decorated with lots of wonderful photos of the local wildlife. Mad Raven is a gem tucked up in the hills - if only they'd deliver to Carlton.

We're not the first to sing Mad Raven's praises - check out The Belly Rules Blog and Vintage Cookbooks for earlier raves.

Mad Raven Pizza Deluxe
78 Monbulk Road, Kallista
9755 2911
Veg pizzas $14-23
Website (facebook page)

Accessibility: Accessing the shopping strip that houses Mad Raven includes a couple of steps. The interior is quite small. We ordered our meals at the table and paid at a high counter. Unisex toilets are behind the counter, through the kitchen and are pretty basic.

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