Friday, January 12, 2007

January 10, 2007: Oskar

Our friends and erstwhile house-guests Emma and Simon spent Wednesday morning signing a lease on a flat in North Melbourne. Part of the pre-lease discussion had centred on the Cheap Eats Guide and particularly Burger Republic. What better way to celebrate their new place than fat burgers and delicious chips? Unfortunately Burger Republic had other plans. We arrived at about 9:15pm to find chairs stacked on tables and staff in clean-up mode. Following a brief tour of Errol Street, a glowing "Pizza" sign and a reasonably crowded set of outdoor tables lead us to an alternative: Oskar.

It turns out Oskar is also featured in the Cheap Eats Guide, which describes it as a "slick pizzeria". I'm not sure I'd agree with slick - it all seemed pretty low key: outdoor tables with paper tablecloths, a tinny jazz track seemingly on repeat and a charmingly amateurish waiter. But it was certainly a pizzeria, and one with a large and diverse menu: pizzas featuring kangaroo, boar and duck for the adventurous meat eaters, and a good half-dozen options for us vegetarian types. Cindy had spent the whole evening looking forward to chips from Burger Republic and, in an effort to satisfy her chip urges, opted for the Kipfler potato pizza, with rosemary, taleggio and extra virgin olive oil. The potato slivers were perfectly roasted and Cindy enjoyed them as if they were chips - picked one at a time off the base. Unfortunately this left a fairly dull cheesey base, so I'm not sure she experienced all that Oskar had to offer.

I chose the seasonal mushroom pizza - a diverse mix of wild mushrooms spinkled over the tomato concasse and taleggio base and drizzled with truffle oil. It was divine - the base was light and crisp, the mushrooms were a mix of fresh flavours and the tomato and cheese made the whole thing moist and delicious. Honesly, I could have eaten two of them. Which isn't to say the pizzas weren't generously sized - we ordered a small one each and were all well satisfied by the time we'd finished.

Despite the disappointment of our failed burger quest (we've scheduled a further attempt some time next week), the night turned out very successfully, with easily the best pizza I've had in Melbourne (although we're still to visit the much hyped I Carusi). Here's hoping that having friends living in North Melbourne will give us the excuse to return repeatedly.

Address: 5 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Ph: 9329 1585
Licensed (with an impressive range of beers and a reasonably substantial wine list)
Price: Small pizzas $6 - $15

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