While a bustling city can never have too many pizzerias, new ones need to be different. Motorino has opened its doors in two prime locations and it is definitely worth making a lot of noise about. From the funky urban metal chairs to the spectacular ingredients and, their pride and joy, the custom-made oven, Motorino definitely stands out from the crowd.
Coming off the Soho escalator, we were warmly greeted and shown to our table. A chilled Fever Tree Ginger Beer ($48) tickled the tastebuds as we perused the menu. We came for the Motorino main event so saved all our room for pizza. However, the antipasti salads caught our eye for next time.
It would be easy to wax lyrical about the use the finest extra-virgin olive oil and beautifully aged balsamic vinegar but for us it was Motorino’s inventiveness that stood out. On this front, the fennel salad with olives, orange and pecorino ($118) topped the list, while the marinated beet salad with ricotta salata, olives, mint and anchovy ($98) wasn’t far behind; octopus and potato salad with capers and chili oil ($148) was another tantalising offering. We’ll be sure to come again soon with a ravenous crowd!
Motorino boasts that they are “honouring the traditions of Naples, the birthplace of pizza”. Indeed they do, and with an exciting modern twist. Their custom-made Stefano Ferrara oven cooks pizzas in just 90 seconds at an extremely high heat, so the top is soft and inviting while the crust offers the standout charring that will have customers returning for more.
Another nice touch was that once our daughter Sophia had ordered, she was invited into the kitchen to help make her meatball pizza ($178). On her return she was still giggling at the amazing dough-flinging skills of the pizza chef and was thrilled to have topped her own pizza and watch it come to life in the wood-fire oven.
As well as the outstanding charring, Motorino also prides itself on the creamiest of buffalo mozzarella, fior de latte. It was sensational, and for our other pizza we added sweet sausage, smoked pancetta and roasted peppers from the toppings list. In all, it reaffirmed why this peasant food has become so revered around the world since the first pizzeria opened in Naples in 1830.
The Dolci menu offers tiramisu and torta al ciocolatto but we were surprised by the ever so willing-to-please staff with a Nutella and marshmallow calzone: gooey, sweet indulgence, again with the pockets of charring to really bring it together.
As well as more great salads and pizzas, an exploration of the Motorino wine and cocktail list beckons on our return. Just when you think you’ve tried it all, it’s thrilling to have a new kid on the block surprise you – in this case, with inventiveness, a custom-made oven, and those oh-so-heavenly pizzas.
Must try dish: Any pizza (it’s all about the base…)
14 Shelley Street, Central | 2801 6881
15 Ship Street, Wan Chai | 2520 0690