The pizzeria Queen Margaret is not named as a reference to QEII’s sister, but to Queen Margherita of Savoy, the first Queen of the united Italy and for whom the magherita pizza was named.
Queen Margaret boasts eighteen (!) pizza varieties on its chalkboard menu, spearheaded by not just one but three riffs on the classic tomato, mozzarella and basil margherita pizza.
My Italian friend tells me that the only way to judge a pizzeria is by its margherita, but I’m actually not such a fan of it myself so I’ll leave someone else (namely Melbourne Gastronome, who was sitting at the next table) to report back on the comparative qualities of the three margheritas.
Instead, our table of three ordered three pizzas – Sock it To Me (tomato, hot salami, mozzarella, olives, roasted peppers $17), Easy Tiger (tomato, prawns, fior di latte, chilli, cherry tomatoes, basil $18) and Just Magic (mushrooms, thyme, pancetta, mozzarella $18) plus the QM Salad of rocket, pear, fennel, parmesan, wanuts and balsamic dressing to share.
The pizzas came out promptly and hooray! presliced. I loved the heady aroma of the earthy mushrooms and crispy pancetta on the Just Magic and the prawn pizza had a satisfying chilli heat to it, compared to the hot salami which wasn’t very hot at all.
As for the bases, they had the bubbly misshapen texture that I like and a base that held the fresh ingredients without turning into a soggy mess. However, if I’m nit-picking the base was a little too bready – I prefer a bit more chew to my dough (my pizza gold standard is still Ladro and Supermaxi). Having a glance around at other diners it seemed that most people had also left the puffy crusts on their plate.
Our salad was deliciously fresh through relatively pricey at $9.50 for a small bowl given that the pizzas range from a very reasonable $15 to $19. If you must eat something green with your meal you might be better off with spinach, greens and lemon for $6. For those who don’t want pizza there are two non-pizza option – lasagna al forno or a spinach and ricotta agnolotti with tomato sauce (both $18). They also cater for those who can’t eat the wheat-based pizza bases with gluten-free pizza at an extra $2.
Although I think we could have quite happily skipped dessert, a bit of pressure from the blogger at the table decided that we’d share two desserts – a flourless chocolate cake with sour cherry and coconut ice-cream and an apple galette with rum raisin ice-cream (both $12). While both sweets were quite good they were not remarkable and I think if your appetite is not up to it the desserts are not a must-do. The rum raisin icecream was missing a lot of the rich rum flavour and the chocolate cake was a fairly standard affair.
The restaurant was buzzy and casual on a Friday night, full of friends, families and local couples. Service was prompt, though our sweet waitress seemed a little unexperienced and unsure of herself – I’m sure time will cure that.
Our total bill came to a very reasonable $30 a head without drinks and we walked out with bellies extremely full, with much talk of unbuttoning waistlines and having a lie-down.
Queen Margaret, 356 Queens Pde, North Fitzroy +61 3 9482 5988
Tue-Sun 5pm – late