What’s on the menu at Piccolo Piano, chef Victor Barry’s new pizzeria and snack bar

What’s on the menu at Piccolo Piano, chef Victor Barry’s new pizzeria and snack bar

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Name: Piccolo Piano
Contact: 89 Harbord St., 647-341-3100, @piccolopianopizzeria
Neighbourhood: Harbord Village
Owners: Victor Barry (Piano Piano), Nikki Leigh McKean and Brendan Piunno
Chefs: Executive chef Victor Barry and chef de cuisine Francis Nitoral (Piano Piano)
Previously: Café Cancan
Seating: 30 inside; patio next year.
Covid-19 safety measures: Frequent sanitization, hand sanitizer at entrance.
Accessibility: A short flight of stairs up to the entrance; flight of stairs down to basement washrooms.

The food

A rotating selection of 10-inch, wood-fired pizzas and shareable snacks. Barry describes his newest restaurant concept as “P.T. Barnum driving a Ferrari eating a pizza on his way to the Moulin Rouge.” (Whatever that means.) The flavourful food might be Italian-influenced but is not meant to be traditional. Case in point: the high-hydration pizza dough he’s developed. (Barry’s obsession with dough began when he got a job working at a pizzeria when he was just 11.)

While Barry uses 100-percent naturally leavened sourdough like he does for Piano Piano’s pies, the pizza at Piccolo Piano is cooked in a wood-fired oven at a blistering 1000-degrees Fahrenheit (versus Piano Piano’s oven, which runs at just 750). “The key difference that temperature makes is in the texture of the crust,” Barry explains of the one-minute cooking process. “It’s very soft, light and slightly chewy. It cooks so fast, it doesn’t get crunchy or crispy at all—and that’s exactly what I’m going for.”

Snacks include (clockwise from top left) Mozza Caviar Stix topped with Osetra caviar, chives and crème fraiche ($29);
Oysters XO, a pair of east coast oysters topped with lime, coriander and radish ($8); and the Octo-Dawg, octopus in a potato bun topped with white onions, paprika, and pickled jalapeño ($16).


The Ezzo Pepperoni is a red pie topped with, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and tear drop chilies. $22.


Pizza Bianco, an obviously white pie, is topped with mozzarella, red onion, Sicilian anchovies, chili peppers and oregano. $22.


The show-stopping baked spumoni features three types of gelato (vanilla, mint chocolate, strawberry) under Italian meringue. It’s all doused with anise liqueur and set ablaze. $18.


A whole spread


Victor Barry, the don of Piccolo Pizzeria
The drinks

A tight list of food-friendly wines by the glass or bottle, a couple beers and four cocktails in two sizes. “It’s supposed to be fun, cheeky and straight up what it is,” Barry says of the simple cocktail list. Besides a martini and negroni, there’s a Manhattan and a spritz.

The Italian Manhattan is made with Lot 40 rye, vermouth, Cynar, Angostura bitters and an Amarena cherry. $8 and $16.
The Vroom Vroom Vespa-tini is made with vodka, gin, Lillet, lemon and olive brine. $8 and $16.
The space

The room is long way from its past life as Café Cancan. Anything that can be red is red, with a bright neon (also red) sign that proclaims “Pizza is life” as the focal point. Barry says the casual, walk-in friendly restaurant is meant to be a space where you can have anything from a couple of snacks to three-courses with drinks and be out in less than an hour and a half (but you can also linger all night, if that’s what you wish).

Isn’t it, though?