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The Canberra Times | In The City Magazine | WINTER
There are a range of emotions that
well up when someone utters
the words "who's keen for pizza
Feelings of happiness and gratification
with a sprinkle of guilt, are the usually the
first ones springing to mind.
Then, to make the guilt of eating a
whole pizza to yourself worthwhile, you
must wade through the crowded pizza
system, trying to choose the perfect pizza
place to suit your taste, making the whole
experience potentially frustrating.
Thankfully, among all the ham and
pineapple confusion, there sparkles a quaint
little shop front in the heart of Braddon,
which goes by the name of Pizza Gusto.
Owned by hospitality veteran, Ailsa Lagos
and husband Collin, Pizza Gusto stirs up the
perfect combination of gourmet ingredients
and traditional simplicity, making your
choice to eat out a pleasant and reasonably
Ailsa and Collin started out in Red Hill
in 2007 and the decision to enter the pizza
business was an easy one for the couple.
"The main force behind the decision
was our passion for good food. We were
living in Red Hill and recognised how good
the product was, and the potential of the
existing business model," Aisla said.
The couple saw where they needed
improvements and five years on they have
opened up their second shop in Braddon.
The pizzas produced from their giant
oven, made in the hills of Tuscany with local
clay, encapsulates the timeless simplicity of
good quality, traditional pizza.
There's no fussing around in their
spacious kitchen, which takes up most of
the shop front.
"There's no flashy million dollar layout, but
that's not what we're about. It's about getting
back to basics and producing really beautiful
pizza everyone can enjoy," Collin said.
Business owners are scrambling for a
spot among Lonsdale Street's rustic old
shop fronts, and for good reason.
"Lonsdale Street is a cool street. It
reminds me a bit of Darlinghurst in Sydney.
I love how the buildings are a bit grubby
and old. It's got a real rustic feel. It's also
growing and emerging. The whole street
scape is going to be really different in a
couple of years' time," Ailsa said.
Ailsa and Collin stress the importance of
having a point of difference to the numerous
other pizza places in the area.
"There are about five pizza joints in the
immediate facility, but there are not too
many pizzerias out there doing takeaway
woodfired pizza," Collin said.
"We make everything to order. All our
ingredients are bought fresh every day. We
slice all our own meats, so you won't get
any ham cubes here."
Both owners are maintaining their
presence across both stores to keep in
touch with their customers and employees,
keeping quality high.
"We are the main chefs and we quality
control everything that goes out. We
couldn't start a business and then turn our
backs. You can't do it that way," Collin said.
According to Collin, cooking with a wood
fired oven is a delicate art. There are gluten
free options as well as options for vegetarian,
meat lovers and supreme eaters alike.
"We have a wide range of customers such
as the Olympic rowing team, the Brumbies
and a wide range of health conscious
customers, who can eat our pizza and feel
good about what they're eating."
Hiring staff for the store has also been
a key aspect in the development of the
"The people we hire have to love the food.
We are picky with our staff and they have to
feel like family," said Ailsa, who believes in
a close knit team environment for the store.
In a city like Canberra, small businesses
need more than just good product to
survive Canberra's make-or-break word-
of-mouth custom. Luckily for Collin and
Ailsa, Canberra's strong word-of-mouth
advertising has worked in their favour.
"It's really all you've got product and
service," Collin said.
"[Five years from now] we might start
looking at making desserts and salads
across both shops.
Pizza Gusto A: 23 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
P: 6257 7508 O: 5pm-9.30pm daily
Braddon's Lonsdale Street is fast becoming the place to be
and now pizza lovers have a reason to visit. BY BONNIE ELVIN.
Anew addition to Canberra's dining
scene, Soju Girl made a lasting
impression on diners at autumn's
Dinner in the City.
The modern Asian fusion restaurant blends
Thai and Japanese influences and owner
Derek Brown created a six-course meal,
exclusive to the night, which was a beautiful
showcase of the range of flavours available at
"It was an unusual mix of flavours which we all
really enjoyed," diner Lucy O'Sullivan said.
Each course was served with a complementing
wine. From the Pfalz Gutswien Riesling Pinot
Blanc with the Merimbula Bay oysters to the
Rusden Driftsand Shiraz Grenache teamed
with a Miso marinated beef, each wine was
perfectly matched with the tastes and textures
of the meal.
The dessert, a mango mix of sorbet and panna
cotta with a ginger jelly, was another hit of the
"We loved it all," said diner Deborah Lawrence.
"The dessert was delicious and all the food was
very tasty. It was a great night."
With the varied flavours, beautifully prepared
meals, relaxed atmosphere and attentive
service at Soju Girl, there is no doubt there will
be many looking forward to our next Dinner In
In the heart of the historic Melbourne Building, guests of
In the City magazine and Soju Girl gathered for a night of
delectable delights at the third Dinner In the City.
BY RACHEL PACKHAM Expanding
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