We’re lucky that the pizza game is taken so seriously on the Gold Coast – and Zero81 owner and chef Justin Palumbo is no exception to the fact, preparing the Napoli-style pizzas with traditional techniques derived from the motherland. The dough is hand-stretched and topped with a simple arrangement of ingredients (it’s all about quality over quantity) before being placed in the custom-made pizza oven at 450-degrees for no longer than 90 seconds. The margherita pizza, Justin’s signature, may be a simple combination, but it’s history is anything but. As the story goes, the first margherita pizza was served in Naples, Italy back in the late 1800s when pizza maker Raffaele Esposito was ordered to prepare pizzas for Queen Margherita of Savoy. Raffaele served a pizza to resemble the colours of the Italian flag – mozzarella (white), tomato (red) and basil (green). As you’d expect, the Queen loved it and from that day on the creation became known as Pizza Margherita. There’s your little dose of history for the day – you’re welcome.
On the menu at Zero 81 you’ll find a bunch of rossa (red) and bianca (white) based pizzas, with traditional flavours from salami, ham and Italian sausage with tomato and fior di latte, through to the four cheese (gorgonzola, parmesan, scarmoza and fior di latte), and meatballs with parmesan and basil. While pizza is the hero here, the menu also delves passionately into Italian-style street food, featuring tasty eats like potato croquettes, arancini with bolognese sauce and mini fried pizzas with ham and ricotta. There’s also a selection of fresh pastas including handmade woodfired gnocchi and a delicate seafood linguine in an olive-oil sauce.
Follow your nose to Zero 81 – or just jump to our Stumble Guide for its location and opening times.