Soul Kitchen is one of the many food trucks you'll see zooming around inner Melbourne. It's also one of the best pizzerias you can find.
Pizzas and food trucks aren't a natural mix. You'd think that squeezing everything you need for a good, wood-fired pizza into the space of a food truck would be pretty much impossible. Even an ordinary pizza oven would create a bit of a squeeze. That's why when I saw the big black box of the Soul Kitchen truck down by the Arts Centre I had to investigate.
It didn't take more than a glance to see their method. The crazy guys behind Soul Kitchen have managed to install a full wood fire oven in their van.
The menu was impressive. Instead of the usual options there were two distinct types and a split down the middle. Pizza Rossa provided options with a tomato base. Pizza Bianca went with a white base, mozzarella and olive oil. It was incredible to see such traditional fare being offered from a van. I went with the Bosco, testing out their salami selection.
The pizza took a little while to come out, and this is the difficulty with food trucks. You expect things to be quicker, but you're essentially dealing with a regular kitchen on wheels. I could pass the time watching other orders being assembled. It was pleasing to see that everything was done with a particular type of care.
Around ten minutes later I had my pizza in hand. The toasty smells coming out of the paper bag got my stomach rumbling and I admit it was a trial waiting for it to cool down. When it did I was again surprised. This pizza wasn't just good: it was excellent. Forget food truck standards, this was one of the best pizzas I've ever had in Melbourne, period. Not only was the salami of a high quality (a sign that the cook actually sees pizza as more than junk food) but the parmesan lightly sprinkled across the top was too, and the base was cooked to perfection.
I wasn't expecting such a great meal out of a truck. Next time I see that big black van you better believe I'm hailing it.