As to be expected, the shop looks absolutely nothing like the regular blue-and-red hole-in-the-wall Domino's store you're used to seeing around. The 30-seat dine-in restaurant attempts to emulate a 1930s Italian pizzeria with retro forest green tiling, pendant lighting and espresso machine, along with a timber counter and an unfinished exposed ceiling. It even has a bookshelf full of succulents. An open kitchen and spot for alfresco dining round out this desperate attempt to be cool.
The menu is getting its own upgrade, with "hand-stretched" and "hand tossed" pizza bases replacing the usual. New 'premium' pizza toppings include bocconcini, rocket and prosciutto, duck, blue cheese and chorizo.
But we're still left with one question: why? It all sounds — and, we're sure, tastes — just fine, but Domino's is loved because it's cheap and has an easy online ordering system, and it seems odd that it would try to compete with other pizzerias in the area. Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Redfern are already home to so many restaurants slinging legit pizzas, like Maybe Frank, Dimitris, La Coppola and Bar Reggio. Not to mention the city as a whole is chockas with pizza joints we'd highly recommend going to.
For us, chains like Domino's and Pizza Hut serve their own purpose — that is, to be cheap, quick and great on a drunk/hungover stomach. But we might see more of these concept stores in the future as they attempt to weasel into Australia's homegrown food scene.
The Domino's Surry Hills concept store is now open at 17 Randle Street, Surry Hills. It's open seven days from 11am until late. For more info, visit dominos.com.au.