We really wanted to like Woodfire Cafe Pizzeria. No, let me correct that. We really, really, really wanted to like it… Why? Because (1) our favourite local pizza place (Amici in Heidelberg) sold to new owners last year and it’s just not the same; (2) D.O.C. is too far away for the spur of the moment “I want pizza” craving, and; (3) because it’s got such a high rating & reviews on Urbanspoon.
We arrived to an absolutely packed out, postage stamp-sized dining room. Granted, it only fits like 30 people sitting on top of each other’s shoulders, but it was packed nonetheless. Curbside appeal = zero. Inside appeal = fantastic. Inside it had all the tell tale signs of being one of those special places that only the locals know about: cramped seating, cute little Italian decorations, relaxed regulars eating and chattering away, and some serious pizza cooking in the full-view-tiny-as-all-get-out pizza kitchen.
For those of you who didn’t read the love affair I had with the D.O.C. Caprese Salad, you might wonder why I ordered a Insalata Caprese ($12.90) at this pizza place. For those of you who read it, you know why I gave Woodfire’s a try. This salad had standard round slices of buffalo mozzarella decorated with slivers of tomatoes and fresh basil. Lightly seasoned with sea salt, cracked pepper and extra virgin olive oil….it was, well…good. But it might have been closer to ‘really good’ if I never had that D.O.C. salad….
Moving onto the reason we went: pizzas. We ordered from the gourmet vegetarian range that night. First one was Pisciotta with pumpkin (Large, $19.90 +$1 for the pumpkin.). Piled up with fior di latte, baby spinach, roasted potato, roasted eggplant, roasted capsicum, semi-dried tomato, and our optional pumpkin… it was all sorts of good. I was happily eating away until I thought to myself, “What’s this bitter taste?” My eyebrows go all quizzical, Shawn notices and asks, “What’s up?” as he goes to take a bite of his slice.
“I think the base is burnt…” And upon further inspection, it was randomly burnt on the bottom. Not just a little bit where it adds the woodfire taste. This was burnt just enough to affect nearly every bite we took, making those luscious toppings null and void with charcoal bitterness. So sad.
Shawn confirmed it was the same with the other pizza… Oh yeah, and the other pizza was the Saganaki (Large, $19.90) and have lovely roasted zucchini, roasted eggplant, caramelised onion, kefalograviera cheese. Again, the toppings were beautiful – yet ruined by a burnt pizza base. Again, it wasn’t glaringly blackened; it’s like it was left in for 1 minute too long – just enough to make another sad pizza.
In sum, it was clear this place is popular, the entire time we dined it was packed and had non-stop takeaway traffic. It’s more than likely we got them on a night where they were a bit off their game, taking their eye off that flame for a moment too long, hence the burnt pizza bottoms…
We’ll give them another shot for sure….we just hope your first visit there doesn’t turn out bitter like ours did 😉