Restaurant News

Melbourne’s DOC pizza is coming to Sydney

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

By Yvonne C Lam
DOC pizza co-owner Michael Costanzo outside the soon-to-open Sydney restaurant.
One of Melbourne's most-loved pizza joints, DOC pizza, is slated to open a restaurant in Sydney's Surry Hills, with antipasti, natural wine and those signature pizzas on the menu.
Those DOC pizzas will be, 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."
The menu is being finalised, but antipasti, lasagne, and cheeses from Sydney's La Stella will likely feature. And keeping in step with the Sydney scene, the Surry Hills location will feature a more extensive natural wine list than its Melbourne predecessors, plus a selection of Italian and local wines, including a chardonnay from restaurateur Rinaldo Di Stasio's (Di Stasio Città) Yarra Valley winery.

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 will open at the lower end of Campbell Street's steady uphill climb into the heart of Surry Hills, and will most closely take 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.
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 is set to open in late February at 78 Campbell St, Surry Hills, NSW.
Open for lunch Thu-Sun and dinner Mon-Sun.