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Back to the pizza best in Bentham Street

The feta and mushroom pizza… enriched with truffle oil and chewy, stringy mozzarella. Photo: Wendy Johnson

Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON returns to an inner-south pizza place after 14 years to discover the quality of the food and the delight at sitting outdoors on a warm evening under elegant, mature trees, remains the same. 

Fourteen years ago I wrote a review of Bentham Street Bar ‘n’ Pizza in Yarralumla. This year I returned, to be greeted by one of the owners, Carol Julian, with her massive smile and warm embrace (Carol runs the place with sister Sandra).

Wendy Johnson.

I wrote this in 2010: “A base, a sauce, a topping. Pizzas can be run-of-the-mill but great ones are memorable.” 

This is so true of Bentham Street Bar ‘n’ Pizza, with its Italian and Spanish influences. It’s reassuring that the quality of the food and the delightful feel of sitting outdoors on a warm evening under elegant, mature trees, remains the same. 

But let’s start at the beginning with sensational, sizzling hot garlic and chilli prawns ($21). They were huge and packed with flavour. Except for one, which was overdone and stuck to the shell, they were perfectly cooked.

Absolutely beautiful were premium, precious anchovies from the Spanish Cantabrian coast ($22) – firm, but not overly so, and rich in taste. We soaked up the oil with bread slathered with Pepe Saya butter.

Do not go by the Spanish chorizo ($19). Cooked with white wine and a cazuela, they were superb. Each piece was moist and celebrated the smoky flavour quality chorizo is famous for.

It was now time for some soul-satisfying pizza. We shared three small pizzas but next time will remember to ask for them to come out one at a time, instead of all at once (our fault!).

Crusts are controversial with some liking super thin, some thick and some in between. Bentham Street Bar ‘n’ Pizza offers crusts thin in the middle, but slightly thicker around the edges. Choose from 21 varieties (trust me, you’ll find it challenging). 

The feta and mushroom pizza ($19 small/$24 large) was enriched with truffle oil and chewy, stringy mozzarella. We loved the white base. 

Super tasty was the tomato-based Fiorenza ($20 small/$25 large) featuring more delish anchovies, capers, olives and a lovely hit of chilli. A great combo and testimony to how restraint with the number of ingredients makes for fabulous pizza eating. 

Our third pizza was the pepperoni, which also burst forth with flavour. The piri piri sauce was a wonderful addition and the pepperoni was spicy, the roast capsicum sweet, the olives tangy and the pesto bright and herby.

We love a great salad when dining out on pizza and Bentham Street Bar ‘n’ Pizza offers four types ($13 to $18). Our pear and walnut hit the spot with mixed greens, rocket, shaved parmesan and a dressing created with quality balsamic and evo oil.

Bentham Street Bar ‘n’ Pizza – bar, tapas, pizza, salads, desserts. Who could ask for anything more?

 

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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