Finally I made it to Ace Pizza in Perth’s inner city suburb, Highgate,. It’s run by the same people that run Cantina 663, a favourite of mine. There has been a lot of hype around Ace Pizza, many touting it as the best pizza in Perth.
Finding the entrance can be tricky – it’s not at the front of the building, but down the alley on the side. Walking in, the huge floor to ceiling wooden framed windows and a neon pizza sign hanging above a dark mural on the wall an make an impact. The place is buzzing and it’s barely 6.30pm. Cosy circular booths flank on wall, high tables and with swivel chairs flank the other wall and there are tables running both sides down a middle partition. The high ceiling is patterned with large decorative domes and the place it lit with stage lights.
The service is snappy with friendly Gen Y’s efficiently taking our drinks order – and even waited patiently while we debated if we’d ever seen Peroni beer in a can before. Apparently, Ace Pizza is the only place in Perth that has Peroni by the can. I ordered an Aperol Spritz, my favourite Italian aperitif. It was fine, topped with too much soda (should really be just a dash – like the way the Italians make it), and I would have preferred more Aperol. Normally the taste of an Aperol Spritz evokes memories of Rome, but this one didn’t.
The menu is small with some traditional pizzas like the Margherita, although Ace Pizza calls their’s “the o.p” ($17) – I’m not sure why. We ordered that, a Pig Town with pepperoni, pancetta, pecorino, onion, mozzarella and san marzano tomato ($24), and the Lincoln Lady with hot salami, anchovies, olives, mozzarella, and san marzano tomato ($20) – ssshh, don’t tell anyone but we ordered it without without the hot salami. Our waitress told us they don’t normally permit topping changes and checked with the kitchen before accepting our order.
My theory is that you judge a good pizza place by their Margherita. Ace Pizza’s version is quite good, but it could have done with another minute in the wood-fired oven. The thin base wasn’t crisp enough in the centre making each slice flop when held. The topping was good – the tomato sauce was well seasoned, the cheese was used sparingly which I think is best (or the pizza gets too sloppy), and fresh basil leaves added after cooking.
It’s not as good as Neighborhood Pizza‘s Margherita, which I maintain to be the best pizza place in Perth. Neighborhood Pizza’s wood fired oven consistently cooks thin and crisp base and they make a rich tomato sauce that is packed full of flavour, like it has been cooked down for hours.
The Pig Town pizza wasn’t for me only because the pepperoni was too spicy for my mild palate. The crust was thin, crisp on the outer edge, same well-seasoned tomato base sauce, and thankfully, well cooked red onions.
The Lincoln Lady pizza crust was like the other two, crisp on the edge and a bit droopy in the centre. Anchovies packed a salty punch along with the olives. Overall, the Margherita was the best pizza we ordered.
For dessert, I had to try the tiramisu donut ($5), which sounded like a dream. The reality was nothing like the dream, and nothing like a tiramisu. Really, they should call it something else because a tiramisu paints a picture of soft sponge layers, strong coffee laced with liqueur, and sweet creamy mascarpone. What I got was what looked like jam donut, topped with crunchy shards of sugar, and filled with a chocolatey ice-cream with crushed nuts, which oozed out and was described by one of my dining companions as looking like bird poo.
It was a cold dessert and between three of us, we left half of it to be taken away by the waitress. Perhaps the bird poo comment put us all off. It was not memorable in a good way, not as light and pillowy as other jam donuts I’ve had. I was full from pizza and it wasn’t good enough for me to force myself to eat it.
Two other desserts feature on the menu: nemesis choc cake ($11) and ace soft serve ($7).
The atmosphere at Ace Pizza is great, albeit quite loud so hard to hear each other speak. The service is good, the prices are very reasonable, and the pizza is okay, pretty good even. Out of ten, I’d give Ace Pizza a score of 7.5.
448 Beaufort St, Highgate
Tel 0499 448 000
Open 7 days from 5.30pm til late