Etica: Ethical Pizzeria e Mozzarella Bar

The philosophy of thinking about where I put my food dollar extends from
my home into the restaurants at which I like to eat. So many wonderful
South Australian restaurants are now proudly boasting the free range,
organic and sustainable origins of their produce. There are still many
that boast grain-fed of course, and sadly, those who do not offer any
information at all, let alone train their staff in this field.

After long and considered planning, a new Pizza Bar had finally opened
in the city and I was so thrilled that I made a time for dinner in
between my crazy fringe show viewing schedule as soon as I could.

Etica: Ethical Pizzeria e Mozzarella Bar is the brain child of Melissa Merola and Federico Pisanelli, who are
as obsessed about pizza as they are about food ethics. Their entire food
philosophy flouts the factory farming industry; rejecting the abuse and
exploitation of animals and passionately supporting seasonality,
freshness and sustainability.

Striving for the feel of an authentic Napoletana pizzeria, the pair have
had their amazing woodfire pizza oven custom made in the region, and
employ authentic methods including a 30 hour preparation and aging
period for the dough. As I was about to discover, this results in the
most wonderfully tender, yet crisp and smoky flavoured pizza base
imaginable.

But I jump ahead. This place is also a Mozzarella Bar. Having almost no
idea what this meant, my husband and I asked Melissa for
recommendations. We ordered the Mozzarelle Squacquerone, a soft cheese
likened to a rindless brie or fresh, smooth feta without any of the
saltiness and of course, the Mozzarella di Bufalo. Both are served in
earthenware dishes on a bed of radicchio, fresh herbs and local olives
and drizzled with the most wonderful olive oil from Adelaide’s own Tony
Scarfo.

The story of the cheese itself is remarkable. Wishing for all of their
animal derived produce to be sourced from ethical farmers, the couple
have researched and visited farms and businesses to ensure the food they
offer comes from farms with whose practices they agree. The Buffalo milk
dairy they were happy with is in Cairns. From here the milk is sent to
Giorgio Liguanti in Melbourne. Etica receive the fresh mozarella the
next day.

This extensive research applies to all food choices, and, in the case of
desserts and drinks, all care has been taken to ensure they are vegan as
the pair do not wish for unknown animal derived ingredients to corrupt
their menu. Modestly, they aim not to innovate with their
menu, but to serve the food they have loved and enjoyed while growing up. In keeping
with this, they offer simple and few menu choices. Still, half a dozen
antipasti dishes, 3 or 4 pasta varieties and 3 organic salad choices
isn’t bad on top of the 7 pizzas and 5 Mozarelle on offer.

You aren’t getting ham and pineapple here, and you certainly aren’t
getting a weird satay chicken pizza. The closest to meat lovers you are
going to get is the Zbigniew, which is what we ordered. The finely
textured organic salami, teamed with porcini mushrooms, local olives and
Fior di Latte was a familiar combination taken to the next level by the
quality of the ingredients. Delicious. Yet I still found myself staring
enviously at fellow diners’ Margherita pizza topping; the simplicity and
freshness of organic San Marzano tomatoes with Fior di Latte looked
incredible. A simple salad of homegrown fig, organic cos lettuce and
fresh herbs was also a revelation; the quality of the olive oil and
balsamic vinegar taking centre stage.

The whole restaurant is intimate enough for a quick couples dinner, but
still capable of seating larger parties. It is warm and inviting and I
cannot wait to see what the season changes brings to the menu.

Located at 125 Gilles Street,
Adelaide
,
Etica is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm, and for lunch on
Fridays at this stage.