• Shop 225 (Pascoe Vale South)

It is a cool, Friday afternoon and we are on a mission. We’ve been invited to Shop 225, an Italian restaurant in Pascoe Vale to review. We round the corner onto Melville Road and nab a car park right out the front.

Shop 225 was opened in 2016 by Lorenzo Tron and Roberto Davoli in 2016.  It is small, unassuming – it looks like the type of café school mums would stop off at after pick-up. There are 70s style padded vinyl chairs, neat lines of wine, beer and soft drinks in the glass cabinet, and a white tiled mosaiced pizza oven towards the back wall. Nearly everything on the menu can be made vegan and gluten free.

Lorenzo’s wife greets us and sits us in the best spot, by the window.  There is a big group of workers, talking about their monthly targets while chewing down pizza. A young couple sit out the front. Others emerge from the courtyard out the back.

The staff switch between a mix of Italian and English. They talk about their family back in Italy. The décor says we are in suburban Melbourne. But the menu and the staff say we are in Italy.

We don’t know what to order. There is too much choice.  Everything sounds tempting. We leave it up to them to decide and surprise us.

The surprise is pleasant: home made agnolotti, followed by the Cremosa pizza. Nearly everything is made in house from the pizza dough and pasta to vegan chocolate in jars and desserts.

The ricotta filled agnolotti is delicious. It is topped with the biggest sage leaves I had ever seen. These are fried until crisp and kept whole. Melted butter is mixed with lemon juice and poured over the top. Rinds of lemon peel are artistically placed on top. The peel is warm and tangy, without the bitterness of pith.

The pasta itself is fresh and al dente. Inside is smooth, moist ricotta blended with pesto and whole roasted pinenuts. The pesto is flavourful alone, but missed with the strength of the lemon and butter.

The Cremosa pizza is on the specials menu today. It is colourful and attractive with a variety of roasted vegetables unobstructed by neither mozzarella nor a tomato base. It is a unique pizza, I’ve never tried anything like it. The veggies are all pre-roasted: pumpkin, capsicum, kale, cauliflower. Holding the flavours together is the moistness and sweet caramelised onion. The whole pizza is moist and sweet with the onion, and then the peaks of interest come from the other veggies in different bites. A very soft, subtle goats’ cheese is dolloped on top like whipped cream. I loved the flavours of the roasted cauliflower, and the kale. A forkful of the cheese with onion is like dessert.

The base is chewy and charred. All pizzas are cooked in the wood-fired oven.

To accompany our meal, we enjoy beer by Birra Antoniana. We have tried it recently. But today it tastes more savoury and hoppy, refreshing.

The dessert menu includes Italian classics. We try the vegan chocolate too, which is like Nutella but richer and nuttier.

Coffee arrive in classic Italian style. They are strong and simple.

The tiramisu is delicious. It is topped with a generous dusting of cocoa, enough to make you cough if you accidently breath it in. The biscuit is soaked all the way through with strong coffee and the mascarpone/cream is thick. Very traditional. This can also be made vegan.

The cannoli are hard casings. The ricotta inside is so smooth and speckled with chocolate. It is not too sweet.

Whilst Shop 225 sets itself up like a casual café, its food is far from it. The pizza and pasta we try are exceptional. The desserts are good value, authentic and made in house.  As vegetarians, we are not used to having so much choice.  If we lived closer, we would be coming here all the time.

Shop 225
225 Melville Road
Pascoe Vale South 3044
03 9077 4904

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday, 5:00pm to 9:30pm
Friday to Sunday, 11:30am to 9:30pm

Shop 225 Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato