Thursday, September 30, 2010

a pizza this, a pizza that - 1889 Pizzeria Caxton Barracks

First Visit in October 2009 - Updated visit in September 2010 (the update is down the bottom guys!)




Pizza is something that is so simple, or it should be, and yet incredibly hard to perfect. It also happens to be most accessible take-away foods in Australia. Every town has their token eagle boys/pizza hut/dominos and if they are lucky a more authentic pizzeria type joint.


My main PIE does not really cook very well. Anything at all. Except Pizza. He has pizza down to a fine art and I'm judging by the queue coming from our door at the mention of pizza- our friends all agree. Although there have been some trials and tribulations- Last week, right when we were confident of showing our guest a good time- we had a pizzaster. C set about making the dough and gathering all the ingredients. Usually this involves a trip to Rosalie Gourmet Market as it is very close to where we live and we can gather a variety of ingredients including damn fine ham off the bone and buffalo mozzarella. We recently found out they sell frozen yeast which was a god send because we usually drive to South Brisbane to get it.


Anyway, whilst going in a mad flap to clean the house the lights suddenly outed. EEEK! I ran to the balcony to see that all the lights in the surrounding neighbourhood were also out- they were. Oh no! How can I


1) Clean when the lights are out and 2) How can I cook with no electricity?


1) was fixed by putting lots of candles around and
2) couldn't be solved so we planned out our options


Our guest arrived in the dark, only for the lights to come back on within 10 minutes of him being here. We breathed a sigh of relief and went to start making the pizzas- expecting the dough to have risen into a lovely yeasty ball but when we look under the tea-towel, a sad looking -deflated pile lay in the bottom of the bowl. Uh oh! Apparently the frozen yeast didn't work. Boom Boom.




Back to our options- 1)no brainer- Order pizza.
I have been wanting to try 1889 Pizzeria for a while, and seeing they are now at the Barracks, they are conveniently located close by.


We decided to keep it simple. I have often the best indication of the quality of the pizza is something basic, so margherita for $16.50 with basic napoli base, buffalo and basil it was. The boys wanted something a little meatier too, so we went for a diavola which was topped with salami, mozzarella, chilli and herbs.







The margherita was thin but it was not as crispy as it could have been. The toppings were simple but the taste fusion of the ingredients was not mind blowing. The menu was certainly well thought out, and the concept of the simple, elegant pizza was definintely evident but I'm not so sure the taste matched the tenacity of the menu. The thickness of the crust was good but the base was soggy rather than crisp and hard.


The diavola was good- the toppings were tasty. The salami and chilli added some much needed flavour but again the base was soggy and overall there was saltyness that was overwhelming.




1889 was better than any other Pizzeria I have visited in Brisbane lately but still- they didn't nail it. Getting the base nice and crispy would obviously go a long way, but there was something else lacking. The prices were reasonable and the menu was obviously well thought out- so points for this. Although we didn't eat in, the service appeared to be good and the place was packed. The barracks is a welcome addition to the dining scene in the western suburbs. I am left wondering if maybe it was an off night for 1889 because the place has potential.


I don't know how- but sometimes the same ingredients from one place taste a lot better than the same ingredients from another place. It obviously comes down to quality, but with pizza there is a X factor.


Where have you found the best pizza in Brisbane? Some where that has the X factor? Please let me and everyone else know! UPDATE - (I already have the answer to this question Here and Here.)




UPDATE: Almost a year after this visit, I convinced C to try it again, hearing raving reviews. C and I headed along, hopeful that things had improved and once again, our hopes were dashed. We ordered the polenta chips with aioli for $9 and a calabrese for $19. First complaint, the bench type chairs are REALLY uncomfortable- they either need  heaps of extra cushions or something because sitting here was no pleasure. The polenta chips were herbed, and a little grainy- but still quite good. Crunchy on the outside and mainly soft on the inside - these weren't a bad version at all. It's a shame the pizza didn't live up to the polenta chips.







The pizza arrived and I knew straight away that C - (who really does think he is a pizza  master) would not be happy with the amount of topping. The topping was slapped on, and the weight of it all would only mean that the base would be soggy. Taking a first bite revealed I was right. This pizza was supposed to have Italian sausage, olives, mushrooms, roast capsicums as the toppings. The Italian sausage turned out to be only a minuscule bit of mince from what could have been an Italian sausage, but one with very little flavour. The mushrooms were undercooked, so therefore waterlogged and the capsicum didn't do much to make up for the rest. The thickness of the base was good - but really the toppings just made the base rather soggy. Not only that, except for the olives, the other toppings were somehow flavourless.






I'm actually pretty sad. I love Pizza and would have loved for 1889 Pizzeria to blow my socks off, but sadly not. The pizza just failed to impress on a couple of levels and really, for $19, the pizza should be pretty good quality.


1889 Pizzeria
The Caxton Barracks
5-61 Petrie Terrace Paddington QLD 4064 
(07) 3368 3200


Pizzeria 1889 on Urbanspoon

7 fabulous comments:

Alibongo said...

Sicilian Pizza @ Browns Plains is one I would recommend (although technically Logan, not Brisbane)... I will have a post on that one in the not too distant future.

Anonymous said...

If you want the true Italian Pizza, head to Beccofino in New Farm. I'm from Italy and this is the ONLY place I will have Pizza.

Anonymous said...

The pizza place inside the uni at UQ is simply amazing and pretty cheap too!! Everything that 1889 tries to be but doesn't quite hit!

The InTolerant Chef said...

What a shame. You did the right thing by giving them a second chance as everyone can have a bad day.... but don't waste your time or money there again!

jean said...

Yes freezing is not ideal for fresh yeast - you might as well just use dry yeast then. I've bought fresh yeast from Pennisi that has worked for up to a month in the fridge - wrapped well so it doesn't dry out. I just cut off the outer layer when it gets a bit older and ditch it when its no longer crumbly.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Freezing is not good for fresh yeast. I always give recipes a second go but when that failed, I moved on.

Ladybird said...

Oh no! Sorry to hear about your evening.. what a shocker!

My favourite pizza place in Brisbane is the Pizza Cafe at UQ, ST Lucia. Not cheap, but very good pizza (at least when I used to go there) My favourite was their mushroom pizza... droooool.

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