Where: Lazerpig, 9-11 Peel Street Collingwood
What: Inventive pizzas, and I’m not talking weird like Mojo’s Weird Pizzas
Bloat score: 3 – I could have balanced a glass of wine on my bloated stomach
Pizza can be easily adapted into something suitable for fructose- and lactose-intolerant people, as you can usually customise the toppings and choose a gluten-free base. Pity I don’t love pizza (I know, I know), which is why I ordered a pasta the first time I visited Lazerpig, even though it wasn’t available in a gluten-free version and despite the waiter’s warning that the pre-made sauce had garlic in it.
It’s hard for me to remember what exactly was in this pasta, as I had it a few months ago, but it was a vegetarian daily special that comprised penne, zucchini, some delicious cheese whose name escapes me, chilli and dollops of olive oil. It was incredibly tasty, but the thin spirals of zucchini soaked up the copious amounts of oil and I felt like I would have suffered from a cardiac arrest if I finished the entire thing. Was so tempted though.
My two friends had a pizza each – the Mark Prosciutto (pretty self explanatory) and the Ronny J (peperonata base with a pork and fennel sausage, fior di latte, roast jalapeños, hurstbridge honey and parmigiano) – and enjoyed them thoroughly.
The bloat from this meal was, as you can imagine, immense – I had a friend’s farewell to attend after but the discomfort I experienced after dinner meant I was home by 11.30pm. My other dining companion, if I recall correctly, was wearing a tight fitting skirt and only survived until 10pm before she had to take her leave, so know that the helpings at Lazerpig are sizeable, even for those who haven’t had the displeasure of being diagnosed with every intolerance imaginable.
The next time I visited Lazerpig was a few months after, and I wasn’t going to replicate the same disregard for my intolerances that saw me writhe in pain for the rest of the night.
There were a fair few unusual choices that I rarely see in other pizzerias – from the Violet Femme with its violet flowers and hurstbridge honey to the Lazerpig to the Rescue with its fontina béchamel base and pulled pork shoulder – but I played it safe and requested the gluten-free version of the ‘Prawn Fraser’.
Going beyond the archetypal tomato base, Lazerpig’s pizzas come in five other different bases: the garlic base for you lucky bastards out there who only have to worry about bad breath after, the mushroom puree base, the smoky eggplant base, the peperonata base and the aforementioned fontina béchamel base.
The waiter who served me was incredibly attentive, suggesting that I swap the tomato base of my Prawn Fraser pizza for the olive oil base to avoid remnants of onion and garlic and assuring me that the prawns wouldn’t be marinated in garlic (I’m so used to prawn pizzas being off-limits).
‘Roquette’ was the first thing I thought when my pizza arrived, but eventually I spotted a prawn peeking out of the mountainous heap of greenery. The gluten-free base was one of the better ones I’d had and had grown crispy in the oven, proving more than worthy of holding up the multitude of ingredients on it. The olive oil paired with the buffalo mozzarella culminated in a salty, rich explosion of flavours while the prawns were tender and fresh. Gradually however, I tired of the richness and this may have been where the original tomato base and pesto would have acted as suitable counterpoints, though I am incredibly thankful to the chef for customising the pizza to cater to my propensity to bloat. I didn’t help matters either by heaping dollops of chilli oil on to my already oily pizza.
One friend ordered the original version of the ‘Prawn Fraser’, which she loved, while another enjoyed his Napoletana, which was a classic tomato base pizza with the addition of anchovies and olives.
The only downside to our experience was my friend’s Broc Steady pizza didn’t initially arrive due to an ordering mishap – eventually arriving after the three of us were halfway through our pizzas, although our waiter was incredibly apologetic.
In the end, all of us struggled to finish our individual pizzas. If you’re going with a group of people, I would recommend sharing a few pizzas with a side of salad (I really mean chips). Despite following my intolerances, I was still fairly bloated – I blame this one on my lack of gallbladder, what with the copious amounts of oil ingested. With the first visit resulting in four bloats and the second resulting in two bloats, I have averaged Lazerpig’s bloat score into a neat three bloats.
Lazerpig has a couple of non-pizza options comprising a few pasta dishes and a fish of the day option. It’s easy to get into regardless of what day of the week it is – the first time I went was on a Saturday that was smack bang in the middle of the Gertrude Street Projection Festival – and we still got a table. Convivial and vibrant, Lazerpig is a good option for a night when you feel like low-key Italian but haven’t made a booking and can’t be bothered waiting – which probably rules out half the eateries worth their salt in Melbourne.
Lazerpig is open from 4pm to 10pm Monday to Wednesday, from 12pm to 11pm Thursday to Saturday and from 12pm to 10pm on Sunday.