Celeste and I debated awhile about where to have dinner the day before the Eat Drink Blog conference. I had tossed around the idea of food truck hunting, but Friday night apparently was not the most optimal time to go chasing food trucks like a hungry dog.
After talking through several options, we settled on Etica Ethical Pizzeria and Mozarella Bar. It was the first time I had ever seen the phrase ‘biodynamic’ and rather than the holistic organic farming that should have come to mind, my imagination conjured up some nightmare Matrix-style cow farm. With a little more research, I was set straight and intrigued to try out this pizzeria.
And who does a mozarella bar? Isn’t mozarella just the tasteless cheese you top pizzas with to give it that characteristic stretchiness you pull a mile long with every bite?
First impressions were how tucked in Etica Ethical Pizzeria and Mozarella Bar is. It seems smaller, because tables were set close to each other and the oven has been built inside, warming the place up from its wood fuelled embers. This giant heater is not a bad element to include right in the midst of the punters, giving them a chance to watch the pizza-making action. However I would imagine without good air-flow, it could get uncomfortably warm or their electricity bill for air-conditioning would be phenomenally high in the summer time.
Every pizza at Etica Ethical Pizzeria and Mozarella Bar is prepared by hand. They are dusted, thrown, kneaded, rolled out and topped with whatever fresh ingredients the pizza calls for. This rustic flair is accented with toppings, which were smothered, torn, pucked and tossed with care before being offered to the embers for a cooking.
This little platter was assembled by the Etica Ethical Pizzeria and Mozarella Bar owners and included a couple of items which were on the Mozzarella tasting platter. The olives were unexpectedly warmer than room temperature and not as salty as commercially available ones at the supermarket.
The Mozzarella tasting platter was an assortment of cheeses, including a cow mozzarella and a buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, and a plain and smoked version of another cheese. It was definitely eye opening to explore the subtleties in flavour from such delicate cheeses, particularly between a buffalo and cow milk mozzarella. I can see why buffalo mozzarella has been taken off as a gourmet choice.
Etica Ethical Pizzeria and Mozarella Bar uses their own slow-rise sourdough for the pizza bases. Rolled thinly, the crusts take on a crispier light shell that flakes slightly, but can be soggy in the middle. Pizzas arrived uncut, so customers may divide and conquer the bounty however they fancy.
The simple margherita extra has a tomato base to lay the foundations for buffalo mozzarella, organic olive oil, sea salt and a few basil leaves.
The Zbigniew was a bit of a tongue twister. We eventually gave up and pointed to it on the menu. Who knew a “marzano tomato, fior di latte, porcini mushroom, salami, olive, olive oil and sea salt” would be so hard to pronounce? This is the pizza for the meat lovers.
“Cavolo Nero” is kale. So the Penne al Cavolo Nero is essentially a penne in kale pesto. They had run out of penne pasta and asked if we would be happy for them to substitute it with a homemade pasta. We would never turn down homemade and it was delicious! The pasta looked like ricciutelli and had a gorgeous spring in the bite, reminding me I really should try my hand at making pasta to recreate this homeliness at home.
Now I know you’re probably thinking “eeew, kale!”. I understand most people do, but I was surprised. Unlike a basil pasto, the flavours were more gentle on the palate and didn’t detract from the pasta. They went hand-in-hand, each enhancing the other. And I would’ve loved to have had a whole portion to myself.
Did I enjoy the pizzas at Etica Ethical Pizzeria and Mozarella Bar? Yes, although I wouldn’t bestow the title of ‘best pizzas eva’ to them.
Did I enjoy the mozarella platter? Yes, but it’s not necessarily something I would have more than once as my cheese preferences lean towards the blue.
Did I detect a difference with their ’biodynamic’ beef? Mmmm, no, but I enjoyed the idea that what we were eating was less harmful to the environment than commercially available meat.
Would I visit them again if I were in Adelaide? Sure, if they still have their Penne al Cavolo Nero on the menu.