A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published June 25th 2022
Pizza - but not necessarily as you know it
A talented team of four with some deep hospitality experience has taken the plunge and opened a pizza restaurant just off the main Brunswick Street drag. Think you know pizzas? Here's a quick quiz: what's the difference between a New York style pizza, Detroit style pizza and Chicago style pizza? This is a question you will want answered before your visit to Deep End, which has all three styles on offer - so read on!
The entrance to Deep End is around the corner from Brunswick Street, in Westgarth Street, Fitzroy
You'll find the entrance to Deep End down Westgarth Street, just a few steps away from Brunswick Street. It has a modern vibe from the outside, which continues through to the interior. The dining area on entering is cosy, with a row of tables next to the windows, plus a bigger table to the left. It has an open kitchen, so you can see the large pizza ovens in production. If you walk past the kitchen and along the corridor, you'll come to another dining space, larger again than the area you see on entry. The dimensions are such that the restaurant would be suitable for an event or corporate function.
The view on entering Deep End. There is another, larger dining space at the end of the corridor.
Looking at the menu for Deep End, the first surprise is the dishes on offer that are NOT pizza. There are currently 10 'small plate' dishes on offer, with a gourmet twist that suggests a head chef on the scene with experience in fine dining. Paul Kasten (Host Dining), Chef and co-owner, has brought his experience to Deep End, and in doing so, seems to have found his happy space. "I am a pizza nerd who has been working in fancy kitchens", he said. "I've taken the techniques and products from my fine dining background and am using them to create food that is fun and accessible."
The food is also delicious. We tried some of the small dishes, including the roasted marrow bone with toast and herb salad ($15). A winner on presentation and flavour.
Roasted marrow bone - winner on presentation and flavour
Another hit was the Queensland blue pumpkin with pepitas, brown butter, kale and guajillo ($16). Again, the presentation was very pleasing and the flavours are beautifully balanced between the toastiness of the roasted pumpkin, the richness of the brown butter and the spicy hit from the guajillo.
Queensland blue pumpkin
By this stage, having been so impressed with the non-pizza dishes, the discussion at the table was about whether it was appropriate to plan a return visit just to dine on these dishes! However, it was time to move on to the pizzas.
We tried the three styles of pizza. The first was the New York style. This is the classic thin crust style pizza. While the style might look familiar, the toppings may not be. For example, there is a clam pie pizza ($40), a roast spinach pizza with hazelnut pesto, mozzarella and goat's cheddar ($28) or 'Caps and Chokes': confit garlic, mozzarella, artichoke heart, roast capsicum, gorgonzola dolce and parsley ($28). We tried Caps and Chokes. Great combination and a perfect, crisp base.
New York style thin crust pizza. Pictured here is 'Caps and Chokes'.
Next up, the 10" Chicago style stuffed, deep-dish pizza ($36 - $44). This is a style not often seen in Australia. It presents a little like a baked cheese cake, but certainly doesn't taste like one! Each slice is a meal in itself. What came to mind as I bit into a slice of the cheese deep-dish pizza was that it was like eating lasagne with a crust (without the extra pasta sheets of course). All the goodness of cheese (in this case mozzarella and pecorino) with a rich sauce, conveniently encased. "Luscious" is how I would describe it. Oh, and wickedly indulgent. Please note you'll need to allow a 30 minute bake time if you order the Chicago style.
Chicago style deep dish pizza
Finally, the Detroit style square crust pizza ($26 - $30). This is the style Marketing and Brand Manager, Kate Paterson, suspects will become the diner favourite. It has a light texture base, along the lines of focaccia, with a crispy cheese rim. You can play it safe with toppings like 'triple pepperoni', or be a bit more adventurous with 'Piney Brussels': brussels sprouts, pine mushrooms, mozzarella, pecorino, ricotta and garlic sauce. Chef Paul Kasten felt that the crust was still a work in progress, but we loved the lightness and airiness and, of course, the crispness of the base.
Detroit style square crust pizza. Pictured here: 'Thyme Crisis'.
Deep End is fully licensed, offering cocktails ($15 - $20), a select list of red and white wines by the glass and bottle, and a thoughtfully curated list of beers.
So if you're after a deeper-than-average pizza experience, make sure you head on down to Deep End!
If reading this article has whetted your appetite for pizza, why not try a slice of pizza on the house? Deep End is giving away 100 larger-than-usual corner slices of Detroit-style pizza on Wednesday June 29 from 12pm until allocation is exhausted.