The time had come to treat our cousin, who we were staying with while in Newcastle, to a dinner. Even she said that Masa Madre‘s location in what amounted to an unglamourous industrial park was a “random place to have a pizzeria”. Nevertheless, they had interesting vegan options and great reviews so here we were.
The first thing you notice when you enter the store is the bright blue pizza oven with the Masa Madre logo on it. Outside there is limited seating on crates and few tables but ample parking. A lot of Masa Madre’s business is takeaway.
There are only a few menus for tables at the restaurant with all the items presented in handwritten whiteboard marker on the tiles to the right of the entrance. It adds to the fun factor that is the anomaly of Masa Madre in the Wickham industrial district.
The specials are something I would love to try sometime!
The Gazpacho was the first dish to come out. It is a blended vegetable soup from Spain and is served cold. This one came out ice cold, refreshing us and tasting of fresh crushed tomatoes with the unmistakable velvety richness of extra virgin olive oil. A great dish to cleanse the palate before we got stuck into the pizzas.
The first dish out of the pizza oven was the White Garlic Pizza. What set this apart from regular garlic pizza or garlic bread was the garlic chips they used. They provided a more intense flavour and a crunchy texture to contrast with the soft pillowiness of the base. The charred bubbles, a sign of any good woodfired pizza, also added to the depth of flavour here.
Our cousin tried the Corn + Smoked Bacon pizza which came out first. She wanted to try their meat option. While their base was good and the bacon well-smoked, we couldn’t get over the corn. It is hard to keep stocks of fresh corn however we found it just didn’t have the sweetness or crunch we expected. Also, we found the toppings a bit sparse compared to the vegan options below.
Next up was my choice, the Vegan Smoky Eggplant using cashew ricotta. As far as imitation cheese goes, this was pretty good. There was a wonderful creamy fattiness from the sesame in the dukkah and tahini. The spices in the dukkah and fresh pop of the parsley complemented the warm smoky eggplant and charred crust. Delicious and wholesome. If you like eggplant, get this!
The final pizza to come out was my girlfriend’s Vegan Hot Hippie. The kale on the pizza was charred to perfection, reminding us of kale chips. The garlic worked well with the mushroom but we wished we got a bit more mushroom and the chilli flakes added a bit of pop but we ended up adding on more chilli oil (provided on the table) to give it more kick.
Despite the random location, Masa Madre has plenty of business and it’s not hard to see why. From the bright blue pizza oven to the hand-written menu in whiteboard marker, there is a certain charm. Mix this with well thought out and delicious pizzas and it’s easy to see why people make the extra effort to visit. What a great experience!
Cost: $68.50 (With a drink)
Payment: Cash or card