For many of us, the term pizza conjures up the idea of thick bready crusts, a dense myriad of bland toppings and a signature greasiness that seeps into a brown cardboard base. While the commercial chain and generic deli style pizzas will always be a mainstay of suburban fare, on the other end of the scale, a small handful of places have been introducing Adelaidians to the original neapolitan style pizza that Italians have been taking for granted for centuries.
The most recent, and one of the finest exponents is Pizzalola, shaped to not only become an essential stop for residents of the inner south, but definitely worth the trek for any true pizza fans across the metropolitan area. You may recognise owner Sam Kelton’s name from his tenure as one of South Australia’s most prominent music writers at The Advertiser, but he’s traded it all in to kick start Pizzalola. Kelton and a builder spent eight weeks transforming an old office space on Goodwood Road and the resulting chic minimalist fit shines with an Wes Anderson pastel pink iconographic edge, literally amplified by in an almost ironic boom box and punctuated by the magnificently opulent imported pizza oven which dominates the kitchen space.
Sam honed his craft at McLaren Vale’s Pizzateca on weekends for a year but Pizzalola, really has it’s own vibe. Every great pizza starts with the base and Kelton’s base is built on an imported Italian flour called Caputo which he considers “one of, if not the best pizza flour in the world”. Next you have the wonderfully sour sauce, the result of imported gourmet canned Italian tomatoes run through a tomato machine also imported from Italy. Cheese of choice is fior de latte, made from cow’s milk is lighter and creamier than buffalo mozzarella. Kelton informs us that it’s literally translated as “flower of milk” and it’s ideal for pizza due to its creamy and stringy consistency which he remarks “connects your hand to your mouth.” Everything is prepared fresh with ingredients like the Kalamata olives either imported or bought from the Central Market and quality boutique grocers like Ninos in Campbellttown which Kelton notes sources “some of the best pepperoni and salami in South Australia”.
The pizzas are carefully crafted with no stone upturned with the huge shining black pizza oven imported from Italy. Not only are the powdery crusts thin, save for the puffy, chewy outer rim, the combination of the sour sauce and the rich milky cheese means the essentials are simply on point.
One of the things that really makes Pizza Lola one of Adelaide’s best pizzerias is they demonstrate that they know the rules and then break them in the best possible way. “A lot of people look down on ham and pineapple pizza” Kelton says, but rightly points out it’s one of the most popular styles in Australia. Rather than opt for ham though, he’s chosen a gloriously salty prosciutto which makes the sweetness of the pineapple pop out far more than standard ham. The other way they’ve departed from the most traditional styles is to dispense with the less is more mindset and are certainly more generous with toppings than your uber traditional pizzeria to appease the area. Clearly, the guilty pleasure offering is the Rony with extra cheese and pepperoni.
The “lola” and “banksy” are named after Sam’s dogs. the former is a classic salami, mushroom and olive while the latter features salami, ham, olives and ham. Vegetarians are well catered for with the “Fun Guy” with mushroom, thyme and garlic on a bianco (no sauce) base and the melanzane an homage to an eggplant parmiagana, “roasted in the oven with garlic beforehand.” We tried the latter and the umami element of the pre-roasted eggplant brought another level of sumptuousness. The generous staff also brought out a samples of an experimental dessert pizza with nutella and orange zest – a surefire winner.
Kelton is pleased with the venue’s initial popularity: “we’ve had a really good response” people promoting on Instagram and telling their friends. With the winning combination of a traditional base and a disposition to giving the people want they want, be it pineapple or generous toppings, Pizzalola has stamped its mark as one of the state’s best pizza joints. The cool minimalist decor and colour palette should also turn it into a mainstay for small groups or casual dates – they even had a queue outside last week!
Pizzalola is open 5-10pm Wed-Thurs and 5-11pm Fri-Sun. They are available through uberEATS, although we’d recommend going midweek to avoid the rush, to dine in, and enjoy the decor and the very welcoming staff.