PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
The humble pizza has apparently been around for over a thousand years. Now Cargo's chef, the very talented Simon Townsend, is set on scrambling our idea of just what a pizza is. While his bases are not too thick or overly doughy, his wood-fired oven is hot enough to nicely puff the edges and, while there are the usuals like Hawaiian, Margherita and pepperoni, what does one make of a hoi sin duck pizza? Or a baby abalone pizza with croutons? Or octopus salsa pizza, sticky pork pizza or tandoori chicken with rice crackers pizza? Oven even a salt and pepper prawn pizza, chocolate truffle pear pizza, apple crumble pizza or Pinot-poached pear with honey cream and star anise pizza?
It seems Townsend has taken the most popular multicultural restaurant dishes and desserts from around town and replaced the plate with a pizza base. And he's hit a gold seam, for the restaurant has seen a mad buzz since it opened in mid-January this year. The kitchen opens onto Salamanca Place, placing the milling crowds at the alfresco benches in sight of the action; there's a small, more mainstream menu for diners at the tete-a-tete tables and cosy lounges inside, a good cocktail and top-shelf selection and an interesting wine list with sensible pricing that encourages a second bottle and a return visit. There's also a good gelati selection to finish.