It's been a little while since I've been to Mr Wolf in St Kilda, but it still holds a little piece of my heart. It was one of the first restaurants I went to in Melbourne upon moving here, it was where I took S-bo when he completed his last CA exam and it's where I had potato on a pizza for the first time ever. The patate pizza comes and goes as the menu shifts, but Mr Wolf is still getting it right.
Specials for the kiddies make the venue ideal for families; but, if you're not blessed with little angels you should choose to eat a but later. Whilst providing a laid-back, casual vibe, the marble table tops and timber interiors can also bounce sound around rather effectively.
Don't be fooled into thinking Mr Wolf is just about pizza, infact the antipasto items are so moreish you might not even make it to pizza. Mt Zero mixed olives are sophistacated nibbles, but why not consume an entire course worth of food? Crumbed eggplant fritters, served with lemon yoghurt mayonnaise, have a creamy texture inside a batter so light you'll believe its healthy, and the salted fish cakes dance to a similar tune.
The famous pizzas are supplemented by a few other options, including lasagne, a wet dish of the day and, on the night we visited, a nicoise salad special, which GB enjoyed. I stuck with the basics and, just like the patate pizza experience four years ago, this visited heralded an eating epiphany: I ate anchovy on a pizza and actually liked it! Diavolo (tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, olives, capers, chilli, oregano, basil) had no overpowering fishiness, instead a mild salty seafood flavour greeted this sceptical eater.
That's not to say I'm an anchovy convert, I'll definitely try anchovy on a pizza again but on this evening I was happy to stop at one piece, particularly when we'd ordered a few other winners. Signore Lupo (my pick; roast tomato, roast cauliflower, mozzarella, sausage, pancetta, chilli) was dominated by the chilli but had a wonderful chewy texture thanks to the sausage and mozzarella, and Funghi (porcini, roasted garlic paste, mozzarella, roast mushrooms, thyme) shifted the focus onto the fantastic Mr Wolf bases (also available in gluten free). Unfortunately, a chorizo pizza special had too many toppings and the flavours got a little lost, but hey, you win some, loose some. The chorizo itself was great, it could have been served on cardboard and I'd still be happy.
One unexpected winner, particularly given the quantity of pizzas with chilli on them, was the cabbage salad. A not-quite-coleslaw offering was GR's suggestion and thank goodness we obliged. Many a diner has been known to walk out the door with a copy of Karen Martini's Cooking at Home book just so they can make this salad at home.
We glossed over Mr Wolf's dessert menu as we had another dessert venue in mind (St Kilda, dessert? Melbourne foodies will know exactly where I mean). Still, we couldn't resist a scoop or two of Mr Wolf's vanilla icecream made with the deliciousness of Heilala Vanilla pods. Thanks to the kitchen for sorting this little sampler out for us ;-)