There's pizza and there's beer. But this isn't just any night on the couch with takeaway and a six-pack. Indeed, no - this is a whole lot more. The appeal hits me as soon as I step through the entrance of Pizza e Birra - it's dead sexy.
Not specifically the "ciao" from the waiter; not necessarily the dark, square bar; maybe just a little bit from the clientele - but the place just exudes sex appeal. Granted it's in the glam part of Crown Street so rather than the beer, we wait with an Italian pinot grigio at the bar and just soak up the buzzy, sexy vibe which, in hindsight, is much like any city bar - if not better.
It isn't excessively long before we're seated, and I note that in addition to the intimate ambience, seating can be quite intimate too, with tables closely packed in the tight space.
Although it's a little dim in the restaurant, we light up at the sight of food, and to be honest, the smell of truffle oil. The beef carpaccio is a nice, big serve with the paper thin pieces of beef hiding beneath a forest of micro- and not-so-micro herbs. It's soft, though not to the point of melting; however, I felt the cow was absolutely pummelled by the truffle oil - its heavy scent and taste completely dominating the dish. Pen mightier than the sword? Fungus mightier than the bovine, I say.
Given the tables are quite small, I appreciate the metal stand for the pizza - perhaps the thinking is that pizza this good should be elevated. Not sure if the pizza had a name (menu recall blank) but it was one of the white pizzas with prosciutto and basil, and again, the truffle oil which this time didn't overpower. The base is one of the thicker thin ones with a burnished bottom and a bit of chew, which I like. From sight and taste we could tell the toppings were quality and fresh; miles of pizza boxes away from soggy, processed home delivery toppings.
We tarry a while, although with the waiting diners, it's not really ideal for lingering over drinks despite the atmosphere that makes one want to. With pizza e vino both done and dusted, it's time to leave all the appeal and sexiness behind, while making sure to call again soon.