Follow your nose to Kingsland's New North Road and you'll discover a new pizza joint worth its weight in dough.
While it may not resonate with the Neapolitan purists, Umu boasts one of the best looking pizza menus we've seen in ages. The newest addition to the city fringe is further affirmation (in case you needed any) that this neighbourhood is changing.
There's Garage Project's newly minted tap room up just up the road, the arrival of Love Exposure (brought to you by the team behind Chinoisserie and Kiss Kiss) within walking distance, while Bluebell's delicious new cakery and high tea room a stone's throw away.
"This is probably the least Italian pizzeria ever," smiles Umu owner-operator Simon Murphy while busily buffing the crown jewel – the custom Stefano Ferrara pizza oven – shipped all the way from Italy and installed on-site during the dead of the night.
Umu – the generic term for oven in many Polynesian dialects – is befitting of its namesake. Fermented sourdough pizzas are lovingly crafted using imported flour from Naples and a 200-year-old starter and topped with locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. During our visit, we inhale the number #6 – generous handfuls of merguez sausage doused with harissa and yoghurt, resulting in a Middle Eastern flavour medley.
Umu offer fresh, foldable and flavoursome pizza that are marbled to perfection. While there are no gluten-free options currently available on the menu, each base is light enough so that you're not left feeling bloated. Each table is equipped with bottles of chilli oil for those who prefer their pizza hot or to douse sides like the oven-fired field mushrooms and polenta with semi-dried tomatoes. Pies are served fresh out of the oven in just over a minute, a testament to the beech wood the eatery is litterally burning through, adds Simon.
Those calling in for a drink won't be left thirsty. The grapes menu offers a steady line-up of New Zealand producers, including biodynamic must-try Supernatural, Te Rata and Heron's Flight, while the hops list is a nod to local brews from the teams at Urbanaut Brewing Co. and the boys from Garage Project.
If you find you're craving pizza with pizzazz, we suggest you make tracks to Kingsland – and please save us a slice.
469 New North Road,
Tuesday until Friday: 4pm – 9.30pm.
Saturday: 12 – 9.30pm.
Sunday: 12 – 10pm.