If it looks like a ‘dodgy pizza’ place, should you try it?
We walked past Captain Cooked Pizza a fortnight ago, and ever since then I couldn’t stop thinking about going back to try it, although it looked kind of dodgy from the outside. Located on the quieter part and the quieter side of Pitt St, directly opposite Boon Café, is this newly opened pizza place, a little out-of-place in what is otherwise Thainatown.
On this Friday night we pushed open the semi-stuck door and was surprised by how bustling it sounded in there! The sounds coming from the pumping music, and the voice of numerous individuals all talking animatedly at the same time- it actually seemed quite lively in there! Maximising their floor plan, we were seated at a table for two, placed in what otherwise would be a walkway- with the open kitchen behind us, the cash register station to the left, and the neighbouring table to our right, pretty much elbow distance away.
We sat for a moment, waiting for one of the waitresses to bring us a menu. But when it wasn’t forthcoming, we decided to help ourselves and since we were here for pizzas we only focused our attention on their wood fire pizza offerings. The options on offer were quite extensive actually, there were the usual suspects, but they also had around 10 pizzas which were their own creations.
Feeling a bit adventurous we ordered the:
Mediterrano- Eggplant, mushroom, shallots, tomato, garlic, spicy lamb meatballs, capsicum, fetta, Spanish onion, and olives.
1001 Nights- Mushroom, pastrami, Turkish salami, capsicum, Spanish onion, parsley, tomato, and egg (with fetta and mozzarella)
We elected the small size pizza priced at $11.95 each (9 inches, as opposed to 13 inches for the large), and we had accidently picked up the Thai restaurant’s drink menu so we just settled on our complementary table water (we think the space is shared with the Thai dessert place out front).
We didn’t take our customary interior restaurant pic, as our fellow diners were sitting so close to us, and with the kitchen right there and the station where the waitresses hung out, there was no discreet way to do so. But the place was pretty cramped, 35 seats squished into the small restaurant and when everyone was talking and the music was in full voice it was quite loud in there.
But as our food arrived, one by one the other tables left until we were the only diners left in the restaurant (and it was only 7.35pm on a Friday night!).
The pizzas were served on a wooden serving board, and the pizza bases were thin and crispy! The bottoms of the crusts were thankfully nice and crunchy (my pet hate is soggy pizza bottoms) and the toppings were fresh and tasty. The egg on the ‘1001 Nights’ was the highlight for that flavour, while the Mediterrano wasn’t all that spicy, considering they asked what spice level we’d like.
After everyone had left, and in-between tracks where there was a brief silence from the music, we could unfortunately hear the chef getting stuck into the sous-chef, and later, one of the waitresses bore the wrath of his annoyance – which made things kind of awkward for everyone in the restaurant including us. And when we were finishing up another couple thankfully came in, making it a little less lonely in there.
In the end, the pizzas were pretty good, the attempts to come up with new and creative pizza flavours were commendable; and aside from pizzas they had a wide selection of pides, sides, and a number of set menus for those who wanted a bit of everything without expending too much effort in studying the menu.
Our end verdict, 3.5 Stars from 5 (2 from 3 for Food; 0 from 0.5 for Service (although the chef tried to make small-talk at point of payment, the earlier staff interaction was off-putting); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (the music was a little loud, but it did give the small restaurant atmosphere); and 1 from 1 for Value for money (in the end $11.95 for a small pizza which can be sliced into 6 average sized slices, that is pretty reasonable for the city!)).
Although no one has even left a single score on Captain Cooked’s Zomato page, let alone a proper review, it’s not as bad as it might seem from outside. I’m not going to go as far as calling it a ‘Hidden Gem’, but it’s not a bad place if you want a quick and cheap meal in the city.
Captain Cooked Pizza- Friday 10 May (3.5 Stars).
PH: (02) 9212 3933
410 Pitt Street, Haymarket
Mon-Thurs 11.30am – 3.30pm, 5.30pm – 10pm
Fri 11.30pm – 3.30pm, 5.30pm – 1am
Sat – Sun 5.30pm – 10pm