Earth, wind & flour

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By Mantis Kane

Once upon a time the pizza was considered the culinary runt of the food industry – unceremonious food delivered by the waiter on a moped. Wheaty dustbin lids smeared with leftovers have accompanied many lonely nights in, impromptu get-togethers and hellish hangovers. Never more than a phone call away, the pizza became the food world’s cheap date. But in Melbourne’s fine tradition of loosening the shackles of conformity and experimenting like a deranged scientist, it’s now morphing into highbrow foodie fodder. The ever broadening tastebuds of Melburnians have diffused a creativity from top to bottom; from Shannon Bennett’s molecular gastronomic guffs to Huxtaburger’s beefy brioche head-butt, we’re constantly treated to flamboyance and fusion.

The lower end of Ormond Rd (Elwood) is experiencing an epidemic of quality diners. Earth, Wind & Flour join the culinary hotspot, which has seen Sunflower, Da Cuba, The Joinery, The Turtle Cafe and Hannah Hannah (opening soon) amp up the variety. Contrary to what you might think, Earth, Wind & Flour isn’t a tongue-in-cheek 70’s disco cover band; it’s the punnery of Daron Masur for this new gourmet venture. Locally known as Mr Nice (not the international drug smuggler), Daron is the archetypal loveable local lad that’s been dishing up pizza’s for 25 years.

Earth, Wind & Flour isn’t just another pizza place, it steps outside of the usual mould, upping the ante with some adventurous incantations. “I’ve been experimenting for years with different combinations, trying to incorporate ethnic dishes that I’ve discovered here in Melbourne or on my travels. There are certain textural considerations that complicate things when making a pizza – balancing the water content is key to keeping the crust crispy and toppings juicy. It’s not as simple as just dumping a load of ingredients on a base! ”

Years of trial-and-error have produced an ambitious menu that reads more like an SBS travel journal. This whistle stop tour around the world takes in Vietnamese, Indian, Turkish, French, Thai, Greek and Sri Lankan influences, all configured to work perfectly on a pizza base. “I’ve been sourcing locally grown produce and travelling to Melbourne’s ethnic markets to find those rarities, like Vietnamese herbs in Footscray and Middle-Eastern spices in Dandenong”. It’s this intrepid weekly safari around the inner suburbs that has injected some authenticity and exoticness into the menu.

The Rolled Dhal is more than a idle dollop of curry on a base. It has all the fire and sweetness of Sri Lankan dhall, peppered with cauliflower, baby spinach and spiced pumpkin, finished with Daron’s special coriander, mint and yoghurt drizzle. The Frenchy’s Salmon is probably the most ambitious. In a sharp departure from the norm, Daron has dared to swap the cheese for creme fraiche – like Nick Kyrgios wearing a multi-coloured Mankini at Wimbledon, he’s broken all the rules.

tel: 9531 1663

9-11 Ormond Road, Elwood

Author: Mantis Kane (

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