Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pizza non pazza at La Cannella

"I'd like to book a table for eight, please - five kids in total."

"Great!  We'll put you in the back room, upstairs."

Cue visions of a cobwebbed seclusion room for breeders and their spawn.  I imagined having to traverse this lovely neighbourhood bistro to "the back room", dragging my snotty children as diners looked on like smug business class passengers do as you stumble through to economy, head bowed.  What awaited us "upstairs"?  Boxes of napkins for seats and the only music the tinkle of a flushing toilet below?

la c

Imagine my delight when this is what I discovered La Cannella meant by "the upstairs back room".


The stairs in question are only two or three and mean that your group can have relative seclusion, meaning that if you have kids with you, you may actually find dinner a relaxing experience.


This little pizzeria is tucked away in a gorgeous part of Kensington, nestled among big old trees.  They're open Wednesday to Sunday evenings (live music Sundays from 4 pm!)


Now, not only will the lovely staff bring the kids unbreakable cups, allow them to play with the animals in the old fireplace (not as Victorian as it sounds) and ply them with colouring books, as well as delicious pizza, the big drawcard here is the "make your own pizza" activity for kids.


Littlies get a mini ball of dough and pizza tray and can then squish, squeeze, stretch and smoosh to their heart's content...

Roast garlic focaccia, $8.50

...while parents can high five it over the table while reaching for a piece of this awesome foccaccia, each piece studded with a juicy, caramelised garlic clove.


The "kids - we get it" approach continues with kids' pizzas for $8.50 each, with anything you want on them.  Saffron only wants pesto and artichoke?  You got it.  Ham and cheese, hold the tears?  No sweat.  (No Aussie tinned pineapple though!)

Melanzano (eggplant, passata, ricotta, pesto), $19

Grown-up pizzas are generously sized.  With six out of twelve pizzas vegetarian and gluten-free bases available, there's something for everyone.  This eggplant number got the thumbs up.

Rustica (scamorza, caramelised onion, potato, rosemary), $19

At first I found the chunky potato on my "Rustica" odd, as I had been expecting thinly sliced, but combined with silky sweet onion and a top-notch base, it won me over in the end.  I'd love to check out their recent special, the Yabbie Dabba Do, with yabbies, marscapone and chives.

Savoy cabbage salad, $8.50

Big love for this clean and refreshing shaved Savoy cabbage salad with parmesan, lemon, pepper and mint - gorgeous!

Fish of the day, $25

La Cannella also do daily-changing mains like slow-roasted pork belly, veal saltimbocca and gnocchi, perhaps baked with blue cheese.  This blue grenadier was delicate, fresh and lovely.


Dinner done, the kids' dough creations are returned to them, dusted in cinnamon and icing sugar!

Dessert pizza, $9.50

...leaving surprisingly non-frazzled parents to enjoy ZEE BEST dessert pizza with luscious poached pears and a scandalous amount of molten dark chocolate.  Fifty shades of yum.


Coffee roasted by Flemington's STREAT (formerly the Social Roasting Company) tops off a dinner that has managed to please everyone - parents, kids and, in our child-centred world, the oft-forgotten other diners.  With genuine, switched-on service, La Cannella make it seem almost easy.


Thanks for the lovely company, M, B, C, E and F!

La Cannella on Urbanspoon

43 Epsom Road, Kensington
Phone:  9939 7241
Open:  Wed-Sat from 5.30 pm, Sundays from 4 pm

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  1. I'm pretty sure that 'make your own pizza' was one of Kramer's ideas! Although in his plan you also placed the pizza into the oven yourself. Which of course George and Jerry thought a bit dangerous.

  2. Total nom nom. Making me hungry on night shift :) I will definately take my family there :)


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