If there's one food group Melburnians take seriously, it's pizza. Most of us already know exactly what we like — we've got our go-to pizza joints sussed, and we rarely budge on either count.
Until now. Northsiders, prepare to make some changes to those all-time top five lists, because Primo has arrived in Northcote to steal your heart. The brainchild of Loren and husband Jamie McBride (both of Mammoth and nearby Barry), and former Shawcross owners Iza Dawkins and Jemma Richards, this baby's got some serious foodie street cred and it's living up to all of the hype.
With an offering that sits neatly in the middle of classic and creative, Primo's plating up the best of two worlds. The space is fresh and modern, without being too over the top; picture comfy booths and leather banquettes in front of an open kitchen. Out front, a neon hand spinning pizza dough beckons you inside.
The menu's strong from beginning to end and, even if you've got pizza on the brain, the starters are well worth a look. Kick things off with some fried baby mozzarella ($3), or the zingy arrangement of balsamic-crusted calamari and mint ($18). A tight but balanced drinks list offers a handful of local craft brews and a solid assembly of Aussie and Italian wines, including an on-trend orange number from the Murray-Darling ($50 bottle).
But it's the Italian-leaning pizzas that steal the spotlight. The bases are chewy, charry and crisp, made with all-organic flour and loaded with just the right quota of quality, local ingredients. Some lean to the traditional, some are more contemporary — all are photogenic and completely droolworthy. The Homer is equal parts hearty and fresh, topped with slab bacon, mozzarella, yellow tomato, and onion, then scattered with radicchio and shavings of Grana Padano ($22.50). Meanwhile, the plant-based Tutto Bene ($20) proves as much a hit with the carnivores as it is with vegans. This beaut features three kinds of mushroom — in various forms — with lush potato cream doing a stand-up job of replacing the usual cheese.
In the lineup, you'll also spy a couple of creations inspired by some overseas pizza-spinning legends. The Roberta ($22), topped with rooftop honey, cream, and chilli, pays homage to the cult Brooklyn pizza joint of the same name, while the Jon & Vinny's ($22) riffs on a Hawaiian-style combo the owners spied in L.A.
And to top it off — as if having that level of pizza goodness on your doorstep wasn't enough — Primo treats its locals to free pizza and booze delivery. Yup, if you're rocking the right postcode, they can hook you up with pizza, vino, and even a cheeky bottled Negroni, without you ever leaving your couch. If that's not a way to win over even the most loyal of pizza-loving locals, we don't know what is.