I DON’T often venture outside The Voice universe for a food review, but I made an exception for Solo Pizza in South Perth.
I used to live a few streets away from the pizzeria and absolutely loved it – in my books it did the most authentic pizzas in Perth with ultra-thin bases and the perfect sauce.
I heard Solo had expanded into the adjacent shopfront on Coode Street, so I wanted to check it was still maintaining its high standards.
The rustic pizzeria is run by husband-and-wife team Giovanni and Stefani, and just like I remembered she greeted us with a beaming smile and an enthusiastic “Ciao!” when my family and I walked in the door.
The menu is basically pizzas and a small range of desserts including panna cotta, tiramisu and gelato.
There’s a large variety of pizzas (32 to be exact) but don’t expect any post-modern drivel with chocolate, quail or pomegranate – it’s interesting variations on the traditional meat, seafood and vegetarian.
Back in the day my favourite used to be the giova (ham, mild cacciatore and sausage $19), but tonight I went for the romantic sounding mare e monti (sea and mountain $23).
The pizza was topped with marinated chicken and prawns, fresh tomato and feta cheese.
They hadn’t skimped on the tender prawns, and the chicken had a nice burst of herbs to keep my palate on its toes.
All the ingredients were fresh and tasty, including the crispy base and tomato sauce, but it needed something extra to marry the flavours together.
Across the table my wife was enjoying her spinachi ($20).
“The spinach and kalamata olives go perfectly together, and the mushrooms and herbs really add depth to the flavour,” she said.
“The thin crispy base is as good as ever and the tomato sauce and mozzarella are spot on.”
As we wolfed down our pizza, the restaurant was quickly filling up on a wet Tuesday night, and Stefani was greeting long-term customers as they arrived for their pizza hit, including a group of seven which she managed to accomodate.
The service was excellent throughout the meal, with the waitress quick to take our order and replace our empty water bottle.
Solo has a a rustic charm with raw brick walls and wood panelling interspersed with paintings and photos of Italy.
It was nostalgic and cosy without feeling twee.
My young kids devoured their margherita ($17) in record time, so it was clearly a hit.
One pizza was enough to share between them and it was great value for money.
I finished my meal with a panna cotta with mixed berries ($10), which was tasty without being exceptional, and my wife went back to the 1970s with her tiramisu ($12).
She said the large dessert had a nice balance of coffee and mascarpone, and wasn’t too bitter.
The desserts were good but you come here for the pizza, which is cooked in an “all-stone” oven imported from Italy.
Solo is BYO and of course it serves coffee, so I enjoyed a tarry espresso ($3) to round things off.
The pizza was as good as I remembered, and is still the most authentic in Perth.
135A Coode Street, South Perth
by STPHEN POLLOCK