Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Justin Lane (Gold Coast, QLD)

1708-1710 Gold Coast Highway
Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
+61 7 5576 8517
justinlane.com.au

After spending most of the afternoon at Yas’ bachelor’s pad watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (don’t ask), Dom, Marty and I decided to have an early dinner at possibly the best pizza restaurant on the Gold Coast. Screw Eagle Boys and Marie’s, Justin Lane is where you should be going if you feel like simple but amazing pizzas.

Justin Lane sits in an old arcade that saw its halcyon years back in the 1970s. It covers two intimate dining rooms and pretty much all of the walkway, hence the ‘lane’ in its name. I have no idea who Justin is but I can only imagine that he must be a top blokes if the pizzas served here are anything to go by.

This place gets packed after 6pm (especially on Saturday nights) and crowds have been known to queue up for more than an hour. However, we got here in good time (just before 6pm) so we were able to take our pick of the tables along the walkway. It DID get busy (and noisy!) really quickly but not once did we experience slow service.

Um, NO.

We started off with some cocktails. Dom had the bella dona ($12), a sweet mixture of Bombay Sapphire, prosecco, vanilla, blueberries which was very sweet with strong floral notes – kinda like Dom herself.

Marty had the spicy pear fizz ($17), a fruitier concoction which reminded me of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It contained Grey Goose, licor 43, jalapeno, lemon, agave and soda. Marty thought his drink was strong, though not as sweet as he expected going by the description on the menu. He said that while it was spicy and bitter, it was still a nice, mature drink with a bit of fruity fun.

They also have a special pear cocktail called the pear affair ($29) which comes in a jug. No, this wasn’t all for me. I had some for myself but also poured some for the others. This big baby contains 42 below, moscato, pear, peach, cloudy apple and spices which made it my favourite cocktail of the night. It was refreshingly crisp and I loved the slight hint of spices. It certainly was an affair to remember.

We shared a charcuterie plate containing salami, jamon serrano, cornichons, tomato relish and grissini ($15). It’s not terribly hard to screw up a charcuterie plate so I won’t too hardcore with my review here, but suffice to say that it was a wonderful way to begin what would then be a pretty heavy (but delicious) meal.

Our first pizza was the mushroom pizza ($21). The base was perfectly thin and crispy with a hint of doughy-ness and the style reminded me of +39 and Ladro from Melbourne. Normally, pizza bases tend to be overshadowed by the toppings (which can often be a bad thing) but not in this case. Here, the base and the toppings shared centre stage, making it a well-balanced pizza. The mushroom, onion, mozzarella, thyme and grana padano cheese topping may have been strong (even for a vegetarian pizza, according to Marty) but it certainly did not overpower the base.

If we thought the mushroom pizza was amazing, then no words can sufficiently do the prawn and calamari pizza ($24) justice. Topped with fresh, local tiger prawns and calamari rings, the base once again shared equal billing while mozzarella, chilli and parsley kept things zing-y.

I normally like to sprinkle chilli flakes on my pizzas but thought the handmade chilli oil provided was even better. Not that the pizzas needed it, but the chilli oil certainly added a bit of extra FutureSex/LoveSounds with each bite.

To keep things in check, we ordered some greens in the form of a rocket, pear and pecorino salad ($9). I don’t know why Justin Lane love their pears so much but we’ll forgive them because they certainly know how to use them – this salad was fresh and struck a great balance between salty, peppery and sweet.

It doesn’t look like we ordered a lot of food but we were actually too full for dessert, and even had to take a few slices home. On Marty and Dom’s second visit (without me, dammit!), however, they managed to squeeze in some ricotta cannoli, which was apparently just as good as the ones they serve at T Cavallaro & Sons in Footscray. They also had the homemade burnt butter ice cream which also delicious. Oh well, next time.

Next time, I would also love to try the pappardelle with slow-cooked beef cheek ragu ($19) and the other pizza flavours. Maybe a spinach, béchamel, buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto, pine nut ($19) one or the smoked pork belly with pear, provolone and chives ($22) one? I can’t wait.

Justin Lane Pizzeria & Bar on Urbanspoon

8 Comments on Justin Lane (Gold Coast, QLD)

  1. theragingcook
    October 18, 2012 at 20:54 (2 years ago)

    Pizza and Jamon, you can’t go wrong!

    Reply
  2. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake
    October 18, 2012 at 21:05 (2 years ago)

    Oooohhhhh the pear affair looks amazing!! Makes me want to make it at home…dang..I can do with a refreshing cocktail right now…and those pizzas, can’t go wrong when they look so good. :)

    Reply
  3. yummychunklet
    October 18, 2012 at 22:45 (2 years ago)

    That pear affaire looks fantastic!

    Reply
  4. Dominique LeBel
    October 19, 2012 at 15:04 (2 years ago)

    How do you immortalise food in such a heavenly way? The flakes of shaved cheese, the zingy pear fizz. Sweet food dreams xx

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 20, 2012 at 16:34 (1 year ago)

      I want to go back and try the beef ragu pappardelle!

      Reply
  5. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    October 22, 2012 at 08:29 (1 year ago)

    OMG! Did you say burnt butter ice-cream?!?! WOW :) I wanna try too ~ the servings much have been pretty huge if you couldn’t fit in desserts hehe I want to try that prawn and calamari pizza so so so muchie :)

    Reply

Leave a reply