Friday, 11 May 2012

Acqua e Farina: artisan pizza in Preston

An immutable rule of urban transformation: if a yoga studio and organic cafe open in the area, artisan pizza will surely follow. And so we have the recent appearance of Acqua e Farina Woodfire Pizza, at the corner of Murray Road and Gilbert Road, right in the heart of the exclusive Preston Hill enclave.

The interior is a surprisingly welcoming fusion of surgical theatre and urban trattoria, and reminds us a lot of DOC  Carlton.

The menu has a good range of pizzas, as well as pastas and other dishes. Some locals might be disappointed by the lack of any novelty pizza names referencing the area (ie the Northern Bullants Special or the Crusty Cramer). Others will see this as a plus.

The pizza is excellent, with a perfectly thin and chewy and crunchy and yeasty crust. For those who used to make the pilgrimage to Heidelberg for Pizza Amici before it changed hands, the Acqua e Farina pizza is fairly similar.

Acqua e Farina already has a strong following: on the evening we visited it was very busy, and all parking in the area was occupied. The kitchen team are obviously very experienced, as they managed the orders with no problems at all.

The best pizza  the CPL Newsline team sampled  was the smoked ham pizza with artichokes. The most artisanal pizza was the Napolitana: olives, caper berries and anchovies scattered sparsely across a cheesy tomato canvas.

Central Preston: catering to the upper crust.

Acqua e Farina Woodfire Pizzeria  on Urbanspoon


  1. I would say after all of the racy activities that Prestonians must take part in: think of the ski shop,the snow shop corner Plenty and Gower and the power ski boat type shop on High street near Bell, that another Pizza shop in the 'hood is a welcome addition to the landscape.
    I personally don't take part in any of these racy activities but there must be a hugh demand in Preston.
    Can CPL staff shed any light on this Prestonian phenomena ?

  2. Now that you point it out, Preston does seem to be a sort of bogan sports centre of Melbourne. There is also a quad bike store on High Street, if I'm not mistaken. There must be an explanation, but I don't know what it is. Maybe it's a celebration of the diversity of Preston. Maybe it's a symptom of too many under-educated, over-cashed residents. Research is needed.

  3. Dear fellow CPL follower, I can answer your question.

    One night I got woken by what I thought was distant burn outs so I donned my coat to investigate. My curiosity led me out of my Oakhill comfort zone to the reservoirs on High Street. There to my surprise I saw a clan of hooded young men with few front teeth speeding around on jet skis.

    I hope this answers your questions. I have experienced similar strange occurrences elsewhere in the North from midnight bongo drummers in Fitzroy North to bizarre meetings of mothers groups in Thornbury espousing the benefits of Steiner schooling and organic ice blocks.

  4. Do we have a new breed of Boganity? CUPS.. Cashed up Prestonians.
    I rather liked the fierce looking inflatable rabbit atop of the Ski shop corner of Plenty and Gower during the Easter Festivities.
    My children had a few sleepless nights over that one. I think it showed just where Preston is at a crossroads CNR GOWER and PLENTY

  5. Dear Anonymous the First:

    I hope the High Street jet-skiers took precautions against the sharks in the reservoir. Many a night I've hooked a fat salmon there, reeled it in, only to have it snatched just metres from the shore...

    Your tale of jet-skiers has brought attention to something I hadn't realised until now, which is that Preston and near surrounds has the facilities and infrastructure to become Melbourne's urban water sports centre. Imagine, international water-skiing heats at Edwards Park Lake, the final held at the reservoir stadium (roof retracted for the event, of course), following by reception at Cramers where the victor is awarded the keys to the City of Darebin. Wow. And don't even get me started on the potential for a ski run on Preston Hill (the St Moritz of the northern suburbs), with a ski lift running up the centre of Murray Road.

    As for organic ice blocks, surely their benefits over regular ice blocks are self-evident.

    Dear Anonymous the Second:

    I don't know if CUPs are a new breed of boganity, but they're certainly more conspicuous these days. Every second or third house in the High Street - Murray Road - Plenty Road - Tyler Street nexus has been heavily renovated or demolished and re-built three times larger, with at least two utes parked out the front.

    What is it with the snowboard shop and large holiday-themed inflatables? If you go on Google Maps and type in "plenty road and gower street", you can see the snowboard / etc shop with a large Santa Claus on top. Then if you click to travel up Gower Street towards Northies you get a closer view of the shop and the Santa is gone. Spooky.

  6. Yeh right corner of Gower and Plenty the Bermuda rectangle of the North

  7. Acqua e Farina loosely translates to you'll need cash for this one... no eftpos I know there are a lot if CUPS in Preston but really cash only? I had to go to the supermarket up the road and buy something to get cash out, then I got the pizza home it was tepid, tepid I tell you tepid I was not so much a cashed up Prestonian then more a turned off Acqua e Farina doom sayer. Not for me sorry didn't float me boat

    1. There's an ATM right next door less than 10 meters away which try informed me of, there is also a sign aprox 3 foot long saying ATM in the bottle shop right out front of acqua e farina, found the pizzas to be amazing also went to pay with card but a 10 meter walk for quality pizzas yeah I'm not going to complain, and finally it is on the door saying cash only so it's no one but ourselves fault for being less observant

  8. Acqua e Farina, what can i say it was and it is an enjoyable and delicious pizzeria :D i highly recommend especially the calzone mmmmm. The owner is very friendly and so is the staff.

    Tony Sakr ( Pascoe Vale )