Since moving to Australia six years ago, Valentina Vigni and Andrea Contin (formerly of 1889 Enoteca) have dreamed of opening an eatery of their own. After scrapping initial plans for a Tuscan-style restaurant, the duo honed in on an idea that they thought suited West End’s thriving dining scene – a smart and chic Roman-style pizza bar. Situated at the base of the new Light+Co development on Montague Road, Valentina and Andrea’s Lupa Pizza Bar is opening to the public tonight, dishing up some primo pizze and a wonderful selection of wine. Valentina is spearheading the kitchen, enlisting the services of pizza consultant (yes, that’s a real job and yes, we now regret our choice of career path) Marco Lungo to advise on the early stages of the recipes, while Andrea is putting his encyclopaedic knowledge of wine to good use by curating the restaurant’s stellar bar offering.
You’re not going to be labelled a nosh neophyte if you can’t spot the difference between pizza from Naples and pizza from Rome, but seeing as Lupa Pizza Bar specialises in the latter, it doesn’t hurt to learn. The Roman style of pizza is made using a different preparation method for the dough, with the end result being thinner and crispier, and is made to be lighter and more easily digestible. Restaurants in Rome don’t often employ wood-fired pizza ovens, so electric ovens are more common. Lupa Pizza Bar also employs a Moretti electric oven for its menu of Roman-style pizzas, boasting six red and six white pizzas made from slow-fermenting dough, as well as focaccia-style lupacchiotto bites topped with varying ingredients, dessert pizzas and entrees including buffalo cheese layered with anchovies, cheese and salumi boards and more. Valentina will be continuously changing the menu, offsetting the venue’s lack of a cold room by using produce sourced fresh daily.
A pizza bar couldn’t be called such if the bar portion was lacking, thankfully there is nothing to worry about at Lupa. Andrea has painstakingly assembled a consummate and comprehensive wine list, sourcing natural and organic wines from Italy to pair with Valentina’s menu. In Italy it is common to pair pizza with lightly sparkling wine to assist with digestion, so Andrea has sourced several dry whites and reds with a hint of effervescence for Lupa’s wine list. Great drops such as Monte delle Vigne’s lambrusco classico, Tutto’s pizzicante rosato, and Lunaria Orsogna’s Ramoro pinot grigio feature, alongside Italian craft beer from Baladin, apple cider from Sidro del Bosco, natural aperitifs from Contratto and black coffee.
Lupa Pizza Bar is opening tonight! Check out the Stumble Guide listing for contact details and opening hours.