There's a fair stretch of continent and ocean between Naples and Brisbane, but Pizzeria Violetta, located in the latter's leafy western suburbs, effortlessly bridges the distance.
Of course, it helps to have a traditional, imported-from-Italia wood-fired oven that roars to a temperature of 400 degrees. As the ultimate kitchen appliance, it works wonders - melting mozzarella, blistering bases and delivering the most authentic slices of Napoli-style pizza this side of the city has seen.
Nestled right next door to Sichuan Bang Bang, which has been moulded by the same capable hands, Pizzeria Violetta offers classy but casual al fresco and indoor dining options as well as an intimate and understated bar area. You can kick off your night on the bar stools here, perhaps sipping signature mixed drink options such as the Italian Negroni (Campari, Martini Rosso and Gin) and munching on starters such as fried calamari, bruschetta, or crudo e melone (rockmelon and Parma ham skewers), before moving onto the main event.
Pizza chefs at work. Image courtesy Pizzeria Violetta.
Pizzeria Violetta pizzas are classified as either rosse (red) or bianche (white), based on the presence or absence of tomato sauce. My companions and I opted for pizza all round, choosing a couple of reds - primavera (mozzarella, rucola or rocket, cherry tomatoes, parmigiano shavings, cracked pepper, olive oil and parma ham) and the much-loved favourite capricciosa (mozzarella, mushrooms, ham, olives, artichokes, basil and olive oil).
The white salsiccia e friarielli pizza was another delicious choice. It was topped with mozzarella, pork and fennel sausage, provola, olive oil, basil and a mystery ingredient called friarielli. Having no idea what friarielli was, I googled it, right there in the restaurant. Turns out, it's a green cruciferous vegetable - like a cross between spinach, rocket and broccolini. Tangled nests of it arrived atop my pizza, adding a pungent, peppery and thoroughly welcome pop to the plate.
Gluten-free options are available for all pizzas. Feeding a crowd, or in too much of a rush to sit down? Don't fret, you can still satisfy your cravings by grabbing takeaway pizzas instead.
Desserts include tiramisu and pear and ricotta cake, not to mention a carnival of ice cream flavours from the superlative local company Lick! Ice Cream. Among the selection is burnt caramel, couverture dark chocolate, coffee and hazelnut, and mango and roasted coconut.