With wonderful English understatement, Pink Floyd's drummer Nick Mason once described the months before the band tore themselves apart in a whirlwind of mutual loathing with the sentence, "things got so bad, someone almost said something." And that's how we felt about Pizza Meine Liebe and why we won't be going back.
Pizza Meine Liebe is a few doors up from the brilliant Estelle, and has a plain but inviting front room surrounding its pizza oven. It looks like a suburban pizza shop from 1980 set in a shopfront from the 1960's, which is obviously very Northcote, what with nostalgia having only been invented in 1952.
We'd been told over the phone that they had two sittings and we booked for an earlier sitting, knowing we wouldn't be able to linger. That should have been ok.
Only once before on High Street had we been told we were booking in the earlier of two sittings and that was at Otsumami. Our experiences couldn't have been more different. At Otsumami we never felt rushed; we were served quickly but not once did we feel under any pressure to order or to eat faster. At Pizza Meine Liebe, however, we felt continually pressured to order, to eat and to leave. We were not even half way through our pizza when we were asked if we wanted dessert. We declined.
We ordered four pizzas, a truffle-paste-and-potato pizza that was resplendent with the heady scent of the great black stuff; another with potato, caramelised onion and Taleggio (which was beautiful); one with mozzarella, mushrooms and rocket; and something called a superMario which, although generous with anchovies, was not nearly as interesting as the ingredient list had suggested. The bases were lovely - just thin enough and chewy with puffy edges and the toppings erred on the side of excess.
A pear, walnut and fetta salad was alright. Nothing more to say. The wine list was short but good and we had a bottle of breezy sangiovese.
The service wasn't rude, but it was perfunctory and focused on getting us out of the door. Pizza Meine Liebe was also, without question, the noisiest place we've been to on High Street and the volume was, frankly, unbearable.
I Saluti and Pizza Farro are on par, with Pizza Farro being better than Pizza Meine Liebe, but both have the bonus of welcoming service and not feeling like you're in cattle class. At Pizza Meine Liebe I felt like just another inconvenient customer gumming up the efficient operations of a restaurant.
Of course, if you don't mind going a little further to North Fitzroy, Supermaxi is in a different class altogether. Their pizzas are a little better but their other dishes are suburb and the service, even in a place so busy, was excellent.
Pizza meine liebe? Nein danke.
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