It’s been three years in the making, but Melbourne pizza institution D.O.C has finally landed in Sydney. The venue, which will open in Surry Hills in late February, is the group’s seventh. It’ll join the ranks of three D.O.C eateries in the Melbourne suburbs of Carlton, Mornington and Southbank, as well as D.O.C Delicatessens Carlton and Mornington, and D.O.C Espresso Carlton.
The menu will maintain its focus on authentic Italian pizza: crispy bases with spring and simple combinations of toppings. A rotating list of specials featuring two new toppings each week will be on offer, alongside Melbourne favourites, such as the San Daniele (San Azano tomato, DOP buffalo mozzarella and San Daniele Prosciutto) and the pizza ai porchini (wild mushrooms, truffle oil, mozzarella & pecorino).
Beyond pizza, diners can expect a strong antipasto offering with buffalo mozzarella and a selection of salumi sourced from Italy, plus veal/pork and vegetarian variations of D.O.C’s signature lasagne.
While Melbourne’s venues have proven to be a winning formula, the D.O.C team aren’t resting on their laurels. Co-founder Michael Costanzo told Hospitality the group is keen to expand their range of suppliers to offer more local produce. “We’re still using a lot from Italy, but also sourcing locally from Sydney which is great,” he says. “We’re working with a great company here at the moment that does cheeses. Before, it was predominately Italian but I want to broaden the horizon and support local producers more.”
Natural wines — a recent edition to the drinks list in Melbourne — will take their place on the menu in Sydney, again with Australian producers front of mind. The signature D.O.C prosecco made by three-generation-old winery Cester Camillo in Treviso, Italy, will, of course, continue to be poured, with Italian wines still a feature of the list.
After three years in the pipeline and roughly 11 months under construction, Costanzo is excited to see the venue come to life. Despite monthly interstate trips turning to fortnightly adventures for the past six months, the process has been smoother than the group’s Southbank opening. “It’s been easy going working with a great builder, landlord and architects,” says Costanzo, who first started eying a move to Sydney three years ago. “There were a few spots we looked at and let go. This came along and it’s a great area. It was calling out for us. We were a looking for something that was about 100 square meters — I like something smaller, so people can come in and get that Italian vibe, like an alleyway in Italy.”
A gut feeling about the space, situated in a commercial building at 78 Campbell St, won Costanzo over. “When you walk into it, there’s the contrast of colours, the timber with Italian natural stones mixing in — I could see that straight away,” says Costanzo. “There’s a cool staircase that runs up to three other floors, that we could utilise at night as a waiting area. I can imagine people sitting on the staircase having a drink and antipasti board. We’ll get some tables up there. I just saw this all in my head.”
Even staffing has been relatively pain-free. Longstanding D.O.C Carlton general manager Andrea Colosimo will be running the show, while the head pizzaiolo will be in town for three weeks to train the kitchen team. All-in-all four people have transferred from down south.
“At the start [finding staff] was a bit of a stress but, it’s all down pat at the moment,” says Costanzo. “One of the guys used to work with us in Melbourne but had moved up [to Sydney], wanted to come back and work with us, which is a blessing. He knows our formula, the dough we use and our suppliers.”
Costanzo isn’t a fan of the “big conglomerate feel” but if all continues to go to plan, Sydney will see more D.O.C eateries in the future. “If this works well, we’ll look for something else,” he says.
D.O.C Surry Hills will be open for dinner seven nights, with lunch service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.