Ok so can we sustain yet another culinary addition to the West? When do we go from "oh wow, we're so spoilt for choice" to "fuck it, I just want some takeout and something mindless on the box"! We may very well be closer to that precipice than we think.
There is such a thing as sensory overload; and the mere act of having to decide and choose between a multitude of options can be inherently stressful, leading to almost paralysing bouts of anxiety. The Tyranny of Choice, or the Paradox of Choice as some behavourial economists have termed it. We will all need our very own Choice Architects (believe it or not, they actually exist!) to guide us through this consumerist maelstrom.
It does help if your final choice is an experience that is completely new, as it was with Ovest, a recent addition to the Barkly Street, WeFo set - a Pizza Bar with a fairly decent wine list and some interesting topping choices.
The joint was already pumping when we got there, but they were happy to fit us in if we could be done in an hour's time. Not really intending to have a languid boozy affair (hello married?), we decided to take the option and sat down to an amazing glass of wine which made us instantly regret our decision.
It was the Negroamaro, Matane (2013) from Puglia, which at $7.00 a glass is one of the cheaper options on the winelist. We could have easily sat there nursing a bottle of this red, amidst the frantic yet convivial clangour, in an interior with some slightly odd, almost unfinished design accents.
Bottom line is you basically come for the pizza at this joint so there's a limit to the refinery!! There are some interesting starters to be had, and some dubious options amongst the kids menu - the slightly morose blonde one at the table next door clearly was not impressed with his cannelloni which frankly looked an unsavoury orange mess.
If you're thinking that you're "man" enough to stomach an entire pizza on your own, let me warn you that the pizzas are large!! Although we managed to finish off one each, regret was waiting round the corner on our sofa!
I opted for the Prawn blond base, with zucchini, chilli, mint, ricotta and fior di latte ($21). I may be wrong, but I think the first time I ever had a Pizza Bianchi of any description was at Gusto's just a little further up the road. Since then I've tended to prefer the slightly fresher base to the richness of slow cooked tomato sauce. The mix of flavours on my pizza was spot on, with no individual ingredient overpowering the other. And I loved the slight charriness to some of the zucchini pieces, and the subtle hint of mint was a great touch. Definitely a recommend.
M went for something off the specials list (he generally does I now realise) - Spicy Pork Sausage, with Fior Di Latte, tomato suggo, jalapeno and prosciutto ($21). A slightly richer offering (also another M proclivity); the pork sausage was beautifully herby and the suggo provided a nice almost fruity hit! And there was bird's eye chillies amongst all that Jalapeno giving this a real scoville kick!
Ovest definitely warrants a second visit, particularly as we enter the cooler months, and a nice hit of carbs is more than welcome. And certainly a return visit for that Negoramaro if nothing else - and who knows what other hidden treasures on the list!