Is Melbourne riding a third wave of artisan pizza? A fascination with regional pizza styles from across the United States is slowly emerging, and last month’s opening of Deep End in Fitzroy cements the trend.
Not a Neapolitan slice at the pizzeria of chef Paul Kasten and his partners. Instead, it offers three distinctly different styles of pizza from three American regions, all of which are new to Aussies.
Thin, soft Neapolitan-style pies took Melbourne by storm in the early years, followed about a decade later by slower-fermented doughs that were chewier and fluffier, less afraid of fusing Italian tradition with the local interpretation. Vegan cashew creams with greens, bologna with peppers and traditional flour blends have become commonplace.
Now, Detroit-style squares, huge New York discs and toppings such as clam sauce or pepperoni are gaining traction as American pizza traditions are explored on home soil.
Deep End focuses on three regional styles of pizza from across the United States, featuring a huge Chicago-style deep dish that fits the description of the pie. At 5.5 centimeters tall, it’s not for the faint-hearted, with the Chicago Classic stuffed with layers of sausage, mozzarella, mushrooms and pecorino.
It’s joined by another chunky number, the Detroit, which comes in six flavors ranging from ‘nduja and honey to Kasten’s favorite, Thyme Crisis: potato, pork cheek, thyme and candied garlic.
A range of six New York pizzas – thin but crispy rather than floppy – complete the pizza night.
Each style needs its own dough and baking process, achieved via a three-tier oven that takes up much of Deep End’s slender kitchen. The flours are single-origin from the miller NSW Provenance, the mozzarella is made by Floridia and Mr. Kanubi supplies the guanciale.
“I’ve never been one to do it easily,” says Kasten, a tragic pizzeria who has finally fulfilled his dream of opening a stand-alone pizzeria. He spent several years working in more upscale venues, including Brunswick’s Host.
Snacks include whipped taleggio, chicken liver pate brulee, and pizza-baked chicken wings, inspired by the recipe from a Denver pizzeria.
“As we change the menu, we will pay homage to the menus of [pizza] restaurants scattered across the United States,” says Kasten.
He also plans to explore pizza styles from other parts of the United States through unique menus, starting soon. New Haven, near Kasten’s hometown in Connecticut, will likely be the first region to be spotlighted. Its thin, flaky bases, made using a pastry sheeter, are making a serious comeback in the United States, he says.
Late-night pizza cravings are tamed by three different slices of Detroit, starting at $10 a pop.
Open Wed-Sun 12pm-2:30pm, 5pm-11pm
412A Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 03 8589 2983, deepend.pizza