Restaurant News

First look: Melbourne’s DOC pizza has opened in Sydney

It’s regarded as one of the best pizza places in the Victorian capital, and it’s arrived in the harbour city for a slice of the action.

By Yvonne C Lam
Inside DOC Pizza Sydney.
One of Melbourne's most-loved pizza joints, DOC pizza, has opened an outpost in Sydney's Surry Hills, with antipasti, natural wine and those signature pizzas on the menu.
Those DOC pizzas are, as all good pizzas tend to be, simply adorned with cornerstone Italian toppings: Campania mozzarella, San Daniele Prosciutto, San Mazarno tomatoes; on a base that co-owner Michael Costanzo describes as "stronger and more structured" than the floppier Napoli-style pizzas.
The dough is made from mixture of 80 per cent white flour and 20 per cent integrale (wholemeal) flour, then left to ferment for four days. "It's lighter and doesn't just sit in your gut," he says. "You don't just think, 'Oh, I've just eaten so much pizza.' It digests well."
Co-owner Michael Costanzo.
Pizza salsiccia with pork sausage, crema di broccoli and mozzarella; Sicilian olives and lasagne.
The final menu rings familiar to diners who've visited the Melbourne restaurants: a dozen or so pizza options (gluten-free options, yes; half-and-half, no); lasagne, salumi and cheese boards with an ever-changing selection of meat and dairy products from Italy. And keeping in step with the Sydney scene, the Surry Hills location features a few more natural wines than its Melbourne predecessors. The majority of the wine list skews Italian, bar a Mornington Peninsula red, and a chardonnay from restaurateur Rinaldo Di Stasio's (Di Stasio Città) Yarra Valley winery. The restaurant also allows BYO wine.
Pizza San Daniele with San Marzano tomato, buffalo mozzarella, and San Daniele Prosciutto.
The bar at DOC Pizza Sydney.
The pizza favourite currently has three locations in Melbourne's Carlton, Mornington and Southbank; each restaurant has a distinctive interior aesthetic which speaks to its locale. The Sydney outpost, located at the lower end of Campbell Street's steady uphill climb into the heart of Surry Hills, most closely takes after the cool marble-and-wood looks of the Southbank restaurant.
"We want it to feel like an Italian bar," says Costanzo. He's recently returned from a trip to the motherland, where the current crop of bars and restaurants are mixing "a bit of old, a bit of new" into their interior designs.
The Sydney location has been a while in the making for the 13-year-old pizza group. Costanzo had his eye on the Sydney prize some four or five years ago, but struggled to find the right management staff for the restaurant.
The entrance to DOC Pizza Sydney.
It's a decision that typifies DOC's approach: not just anyone will do. They're particular about who they employ, favouring workers with experience in the pizza industry; and they're sending up staff from their Carlton flagship – one chef, one restaurant manager – to help with the Sydney launch. Plus, several former Melbourne employees who've since relocated to Sydney have applied to work at DOC Sydney.
It's all-in-all a textbook interstate expansion of a successful restaurant empire. Costanzo says Surry Hills is a test site for forthcoming Sydney openings; an "old-school deli" could be on the horizon too. That is, provided the pizza-loving community is ready to forgive his controversial decision to offer a pineapple-and-ham pizza, for one day only, at DOC's Melbourne restaurants to mark World Pizza Day on 9 February. It was a social-media gimmick that performed well, he admits, and is taking the backlash with good humour. "It could have been worse – the other option I suggested was the 'Aussie' bacon and egg pizza."
DOC Sydney, 78 Campbell St, Surry Hills, NSW.
Open for lunch Thu-Sun and dinner Mon-Sun.