The beloved inner-city pizza joint has huge new digs on Oxford Street — and the pizza is the best it has ever been.
August 21, 2019
Dimitri's Pizzeria and its eye-catching red-and-white sign had been a permanent fixture on Crown Street since the 70s; while it moved once (around 20 years ago), it had never left the strip — until this year. In July, the Surry Hills pizza stalwart uprooted its tables (literally) and relocated to Oxford Street, setting up shop in the building previously home to Hunky Dory Social Club. Right now, it's just operating on the ground floor, but it plans to occupy all three levels — meaning the pizzeria will eventually grow six times in size.
On the ground floor, it's the pretty much the same old Dimitri's, but bigger and better. Owners Ken Williams and Drew Huston have finally gotten their hands on a woodfired pizza oven and are making the type of pizza they've been wanting to do for "a long time". "It's a massive improvement on the pizza we were serving before," says Williams. And Huston agrees: "We're cooking our ideal pizza right now, I reckon."
The woodfired oven can get up to 150 degrees hotter than the restaurant's previous oven (meaning the pizzas only have to spend a third of the time inside) and the pair is also making a new 100-percent sourdough base that is fermented for much longer — a minimum of 48 hours. What does all this mean for you? The dough is lighter, easier to digest and a whole lot tastier (and the pizzas land on your table much quicker).
The dough is similar to that of Neapolitan-style pizzas, but Williams is quick to point out that their pizzas are not 'traditional' Neapolitan. And while the dough itself is fairly traditional — despite its use of a blend of Australian organic stone-ground flour — the toppings certainly aren't. Expect to find brussels sprouts, honey (from Williams' mum's beehive), radicchio, rainbow chard and even corn atop the pies. As well as the necessary mozzarella, which is stretched daily in-house. The pair plan to alter the toppings with the seasons, too, making the most of short-season produce like pine mushrooms and truffles.
You'll be eating all of this on the old Dimitri's tables — which have been repurposed by Williams' brother Lex, a furniture builder and designer — surrounded by exposed brick walls, art, fairy lights and the restaurant's namesake: a striking red neon Dimitri.
With a total capacity of around 150 people, the top two levels will be home to "Dimitri's but in bar form", which means Grifter beer on tap and all-natural wines — including the likes of Das Juice, Gut Oggau and Delinquente — and a short and sharp cocktail list. Williams says to expect "really good quality drinks, a chilled atmosphere and good times". These good times will extend to the third-level open terrace, too, where you'll be able to drink looking out on the street below. And on the rooftop — yes, it keeps going — there'll be a garden, where Williams will be growing herbs and some veggies for super-fresh pizza toppings.
Images: Kimberley Low.