Malvern’s Sagra Opens a Pizza Bar

Originally published on Broadsheet.

Glenferrie Road’s Italian diner adds Roman-style pizza to its repertoire, by popular demand.

“I often say visiting Sagra is the cheapest ticket to Italy you can get,” says owner Ross Chessari.

But a trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without pizza, something Chessari’s popular Malvern restaurant was previously missing, despite its expansive offering. The multifaceted venue has a restaurant and food store on its ground floor, and a bar on level two.

“I never wanted to introduce pizza downstairs, it’s a special occasion type of place. I don’t believe pizza fits with the atmosphere,” Chessari says.

Since Sagra opened in 2015, the level one mezzanine had housed an art gallery: that space is now home to Pizza One, a bar serving up Roman style pizza.

“People kept asking for [pizza] and as a business you have to evolve,” Chessari says. “People were using the gallery more as a setting for functions and events. But not enough art was selling off the wall, so we’ve found another purpose for it.”

Pizza One overlooks Sagra’s ground floor open kitchen, which occupies the centre of the spacious dining room. It still has the feel of a gallery space, with artworks for sale on the wall. The artworks rotate: currently it’s a selection of abstract works and landscapes.

Pizza One’s offering runs at a succinct eight toppings. Diners will find classics like margherita and pepperoni, as well as options such as wagyu bresaola with sweet onions, goat’s cheese and rocket; pork and fennel sausage with buffalo mozzarella, shaved fennel, apple and parsley; and shredded lamb with potato, garlic, red wine jus and gremolata.

Chef Tony Moss spent weeks refining his pizza dough, going through 300 kilograms of flour to get the base right.

“In the end, we found that dough fermented [for] 72 hours worked best for the type of pizza we are trying to achieve – soft, with a bubbly crust, but still firm in the middle and doesn’t get soggy when you top it,” Moss says. “We also put a little bit of honey in the dough, for a bit of sweetness and moisture.”

Apart from pizza, diners can order honey-roasted olives, pork and raisin meatballs, mac and cheese and an array of salads. Finish off your meal with a tiramisu-flavoured, choc-covered “Magnum” ice cream.

Pizza One at Sagra
Level One, 256 Glenferrie Road, Malvern
(03) 9079 5600

Wed to Sun 5pm–10pm

Photography: Jessica Prince.

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