The latest Salt Meats Cheese brand extension delivers the goods, yet again.
Once upon a time two handsome and charming cousins, Edoardo Perlo and Stefano de Blasi, moved to Australia from Italy and laboured in the hospitality industry. Keen to work for themselves, they began importing top-shelf food from the motherland to sell to nostalgic European migrants and discerning foodies.
Eventually, they opened a shop on a site in Alexandria, which was at that point a light industrial wasteland. But the site, called The Grounds, and their shop, called Salt Meats Cheese, soon become insanely popular. The cousins started hosting events, running weekend cooking classes, and finally decided in the evening they’d put out some tables and chairs and turn their store into a restaurant – The Pizza Box.
The result is pretty much what you’d hope for if a top-notch providore decided to open up a pizza joint. You can dine on the signature Black Lobster Pizza, which has a base dyed squid-ink black, or wolf down a range of pizzas made using only the finest imported Mutti tomatoes, Caputo flour, truffle oil, goat’s cheese, mozzarella, gorgonzola, fromage blanc, San Daniele prosciutto and caramelised Spanish onion all mixed in the best electric pasta maker. As an added bonus, if you take a fancy to any particular ingredient, you can buy it on the spot and enjoy a 20% discount when you do.
If you’ve got room, there’s an elegant selection of entrees – cured meats or cheese platters served with sweet and spicy jams and pizza dough breadsticks, beef meatballs, arancini, Caprese salad – and a decadent bounty of comfort food desserts: Nutella bombs, tiramisu and mixed berry pastry with Chantilly cream. As would be expected, there’s a wide selection of delightful Italian wines and beers to accompany the authentic food.
At some point, Edoardo or Stefano will wander by and check that you’re enjoying your meal (you will be) and, if you’re interested, expound on what you’re consuming, perhaps explaining how the pizza you’re drooling over is a fusion of thin and crispy Roman-style pizzas, and the thicker and somewhat soggier Neapolitan ones.
If pushed, they might also confess that their venture, only a couple of years old, has been so successful that they’re already considering franchising options. So with any luck it soon won’t just be Sydneysiders who can enjoy their five-star casual Italian cuisine.