There’s nothing I love more than pizza so I definitely couldn’t say no to an invite to A25! Having been there before I knew it was perfect for the usual carnivore such as myself but with the release of a new vegan menu I knew I had to challenge myself to see if vegan pizza was worth a shot!
I love the A25 space in the city as it borders on the corner of Hardware Lane giving it the classic Melbourne alleyway atmosphere but is away from the hustle and bustle enough to keep some quiet. Decided to sit outside for dinner on this day which was a great decision - with outdoor heaters and a shaded area it was cosy with some fresh air.
Service was alright. Staff were very attentive due to my invite there but otherwise did seem a bit blunt at times and to other guests, not overly comforting and genuine either.
The Crispy Calamari (Lightly fried calamari, rocket, squid ink mayo) was absolutely perfect. I actually couldn’t fault it. The calamari was so tender and soft, thankfully not overcooked and chewy. On top of that the crunch on the outside was crispy and not oily, signs of a good batter and fry to it. Seasoned to perfection with the best accompaniment of squid ink mayo which added creaminess and acidity with none of that fishy after taste. LOVED IT!
On to the mains, Vegan Patata (Vegan mozzarella, kipfler potato, rosemary, sea salt) was our first pizza and my first taste at vegan cheese. Vegan cheese…not at all bad but definitely as a cheese eater it wasn’t the best. It reminds me of a sweetened puree of some sort. Definitely can see how it can be used as a substitute for the vegans on there though. It really worked on this pizza though as it did have quite a few salty elements around with the potato and rosemary making it quite savoury. I really enjoyed the actual toppings on the pizza and they were well cooked but the same can’t be said about the base. It was a bit tough which made it quite chewy and stuck to my teeth. The crust was much better with its fluffiness. Overall my only major issue surprisingly wasn’t the cheese, it was the pizza base.
The Vegan A25 (Vegan mozzarella, basil + walnut pesto, cherry tomato, charred pine nuts) is the signature pizza at A25 so I had to give it a shot. I found the whole pizza very mild in flavour, lacking an abundance of ingredients. There was not enough pesto to really make an impact apart from making the dish green and there weren’t many pine nuts either. I found the tomato and vegan cheese stood out the most which created a very sweet dish overall. It needed more savoury flavour to balance the cheese but also to add a punch to the pizza.
I love a good pizza and this experience really opened my mind up to vegan options and how they actually aren’t bad! Vegan cheese is worth a try and even more so on your favourite Italian dishes. Though the pizza’s weren’t perfect at A25, the atmosphere for dinner on a Friday night is ideal for a group of friends in summer. Whether you are vegan, vegan curious or a carnivore like me…drop by A25 if you’re looking for a pizza (or calamari) fix in Melbourne’s (arguably) most famous laneway!
Presentation (5): 4
Taste (5): 3.5
Service (5): 3.5
Atmosphere (5): 4