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Pizza Religion is creating a godly pizza experience

Pizza Religion, the restaurant with locations in Hawthorn and Malvern, is staging a reformation sure to convert a few pizza heathens, with new additions to their menu and a partnership with Colonial Brewing Co that has broadened their selection of beers and ciders.

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The restaurant aims to create an experience separate from that offered by the typical pizza joint. Recent reshuffling has added the brisket pizza, previously a special, permanently to the menu. This pizza, topped with smoked beef brisket and a combination of green chilli slaw, coriander, barbecue sauce and restaurant-made pickles, reflects Pizza Religion’s efforts to keep their food as in-house as possible.

Other popular pizzas include the beef cheek, topped with cauliflower puree, caramelised onion, gremolata and truffle oil as well as mainstays such as the pepperoni pizza. This cherished beauty has been given some tweaks nonetheless, served here with goat’s cheese and mint. The ham and pineapple flies off the pass, adorned with mozzarella fior di latte and pineapple, oven-cooked in-house with brown sugar. 

The restaurant, which recently donated 800 pizzas to two local school fairs, has worked to create a friendly and energetic atmosphere while making connections with the community. One way of doing this is by offering a wine list populated not with products from Dan Murphy’s, but with vintages from Australian boutique wineries, such as a Pinot Noir from the Prancing Horse Estate, a biodynamic winery on the Mornington Peninsula.

The Pizza Religion cocktail menu includes many Melbourne staples – such as the espresso martini, Negroni and Moscow mule while they’ve also expanded its drinks menu to include Colonial Brewing Co’s pale ale and “Bertie” cider, brewed from Victorian Gala and Sundowner apples. The Melbourne brewery’s Kölsch ale, also on tap, is a light, smooth ale with notes of lemon and passionfruit, adapted from a traditional warm fermented brew originally from Cologne, Germany.

Pizza aficionados won’t have to stray too far to find dessert, as Pizza Religion is rolling out a new array of dessert pizzettes, featuring toppings like Christmas pudding and pear with frangipane on a sweet pizza base. The restaurant’s currently-available dessert pizzette includes a sticky date topping accompanied with butterscotch sauce and vanilla-bean ice cream.

As well as the standard thick-cut chips, Pizza Religion offers a range of light sides, including a balsamic-glazed wild rocket salad, a cabbage salad topped with parmesan and lemon and a grains-based dish comprised of freekeh and lentils with currants, red onions, capers and almonds with a yoghurt dressing. New sides include a refreshing Greek-style tomato salad, suitable to pair with a glass of Prancing Horse Estate Chardonnay.

Starters include chilli-glazed lamb ribs and semolina-crusted calamari, served with a light rocket and fennel salad. Especially popular are the house-made arancini balls, a deep-fried Sicilian street food traditionally filled with meat ragu, mozzarella cheese and peas.

Pizza Religion, fittingly, has planned a slate of special deals for Christmas, including a modestly-priced set menu for adults and children. Adults will be able to choose from an array of pizzas, including the lamb, mushroom and capricciosa, as well as sides such as the restaurant’s popular fried chicken thighs. 

For children, the set menu includes a small pizza, a soft drink and a frog in the pond or a “frog in the snow” – substituting vanilla ice cream for the jelly. The restaurant invites diners to bring friends, family or colleagues for an out-of-the-ordinary Christmas dinner in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Check out Pizza Religion's website.