Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Mr Natural Gourmet Vegetarian Pizza – heaps of vegies

Every now and again I head over to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy and drive past Mr Natural’s pizza shop. It fills me with yearning for the days when we lived in Collingwood and were able to have their vegetable-packed pizzas delivered to our door. Many times I have wished to stop for a pizza but it is too awkward because we are headed for another destination or it is not dinnertime. So when the planets aligned this week, I made sure I didn’t miss my opportunity to have one of Mr Natural’s fine pizzas.

Sylvia and I headed there at 5pm, only to find that Mr Natural does not open till 5.30pm. A walk down Brunswick Street is no great hardship, even if it does mean crossing busy Alexandra Parade and being laid bare to the temptation of second hand bookshops. We were back when it opened and ordered a couple of small pizzas.

I am used to settling for whatever is the sole vegetarian option nestled among meaty pizzas and find myself spoiled for choice here. So many interesting pizzas! My favourites are the broccoli and the pumpkin. I chose the former partly out of sentimentality. It was here that I first discovered how good broccoli is on pizza. Especially with such an interesting combination of toppings: tomato, broccoli, mushrooms, olives, capsicums, feta, onions, cheese, parsley, sesame seeds and garlic.

Ordering for E is even harder. The menu has lots of bean sprouts, which I know he hates, so I don’t even consider the Razorback pizza because it includes tofu, bean sprouts and eggplant. The Bezalya pizza intrigues me with potato, olives feta, satay sauce and pumpkin among other toppings but it would be too much of a challenge for E. Even stranger is the oddly named Natural pizza with vindaloo curry sauce as well as vegetables, beans and cheese – does that sound natural to you?

Mr Natural caters for everyone. There is no standard vegetarian pizza of tomato, capsicum olives and cheese here. But you will find gluten free bases and vegan cheese. A ‘massive’ vegan pizza is available without any sort of cheese but all pizzas can be veganised or lactose free with the substitution of vegan cheese. We have an old menu that says they do yeast free but I can’t see any note of that in the more recent literature.

I decide upon the Chilli Beans pizza for E. It is piled with tomato sauce, borlotti beans, onions, capsicum, pineapple, cheese, garlic and chilli. This will illustrate just how unusual the pizzas are, when I tell you that this is one of the ‘classic pizzas’.

We don’t have to wait long but even so Sylvia has a little sleep. I wish I had taken my camera so I could show you the artwork on the wall which is pleasing to gaze at while I sit with a drowsy baby. It is a long drive home with the tempting smell of pizza wafting from the passenger seat. Dinner is very early for us. So early that we are able to eat together with Sylvia.

I love my pizza. They are better when piping hot from the delivery boy’s insulated case but they survive the peak hour traffic well. A little soggy under the weight of so much topping but the wholemeal base is still dense and nicely chewy. There are so many vegetables on top that I don’t feel the need for a side salad, although they are under a blanket of seedy cheese. Lotsa stinky garlic and intense feta make this pizza very tasty indeed. Since first tasting these pizzas I have found many good ones but I was so amazed when first encountering Mr Natural to find just how interesting pizza could be.

E on the other hand is all a bit Grim Eater over the pizza. He doesn’t like the beans or the pineapple and it doesn’t have enough chilli for him. (It did say on the menu that you could have it as hot as you liked but I forgot to ask and so did they.) He said he would have preferred the Margherita pizza. Actually, he decides he much prefers the Gringo and says that Mr Natural could learn a lot from Mr Mojo. I disagree.

I still think Mr Natural does some of the best vegetarian pizzas around. If only they could open a branch nearer us I would be a happy little vegemite. There is now a branch in St Kilda and a glossy menu has replaced the old red and white one we had on the fridge. So maybe there is some empire building that could come our way. If not, I will just have to be content with my infrequent pizza excursions to North Fitzroy for my favourite takeaway pizzas in Melbourne.

Mr Natural Gourmet Vegetarian Pizza
469 Brunswick Street. North Fitzroy
Phone: 03-9481-7775


  1. Such cool pizzas!!! I love the incredibly unique combos - they sound so tempting I wish I could afford to purchase two plane tickets for Zach and I right now!! :-) Your broccoli pizza sounds especially delightful - I love the inclusion of sesame seeds! And oh my, pumpkin pizza... Wow... :-)

  2. Delicious looking pizza,....mmmmmmmm!!!

  3. This looks like a great place. I have not discovered that side of Melbourne much. Looking forward to more since I may settle down there :)

  4. Hi Johanna,

    As a kid I was always slightly embarassed that my family's idea of a pizza was eiher homemade on pita bread or wholemeal and vegetarian - no Pizza Hut for us!

    Although now I'm more inclined to the thin base, minimal topping "fancy" pizzas around Melbourne I still have a soft spot for Nostralis Vegetarian Pizza - which is a similar place to Mr. Natural but in Caulfield, near the park. It claims to be the first wholemeal, vegetarian pizza joint in Australia!

    If you're ever in that neck of the woods and feel a hankering for a pizza, I can definitely recommend Nostralis.

    As a kid, I always went to Nostralis Wholemeal Vegetarian Pizza - it's in Caulfield, near the park and claims to be Australia's first wholemeal vegetarian pizza joint! If you're ever in that neck of the woods, I suggest you pop in for one of their pizzas - YUM!

  5. I love Mr Natural (and the broccoli is my absolute fave) but I'm pretty much alone amongst my friends. I love the wholemeal base, they hate it. I love all the vegies, they think there's too much happening. I also love that they do gluten free bases.

    And now I want pizza at 9:30 in the morning.

  6. i still haven't been there, but this post just might inspire me to change that

    i HATE bean sprouts on pizza though!

  7. first time here,great info..yummy they have a branch in US? I would love to have a bite.

  8. Oh I LOVE Mr Naturals!

    And you should go for the Bezalya sometime, it's probably my favourite (it's a tossup between that and the broccoli and the mushroom one). I think it'll have to be Mr Naturals for dinner tonight!

  9. Thanks Astra - it would be worth the cost of the ticket - well almost! Failing that - try the combinations yourself as they are very good

    Thanks Sophie - oh yes!

    Thanks Anh - I have always lived this side the river (well since I was 3 years old) and highly recommend it

    Thanks Eat it Good - strangely enough though I hardly know caulfield I do know this pizza place because I have passed it and wanted to go and try their pizza but have never passed it at the right time - glad to have your endorsement to encourage me to try it

    oh sj your friends have nae taste but in the blogosphere you have great company in appreciating mr natural :-)

    Thanks Philippa - go on and try Mr Natural's pizza - not all of them have bean sprouts - I don't mind bean sprouts but will have to feel brave to try them on pizza

    Thanks Flowering Cactus - sorry there are only two stores in Melbourne - N Fitzroy and St Kilda

    Thanks Niki - the Bezalya sounds worth trying - and am happy to take recommendations from anyone who loves the broccoli pizza.

  10. What an embarrassment of choices! That bortoli pizza sounds great to me--wish I could finish off E's if he didn't like it!

  11. Thanks Ricki - E whinged but he still finished his pizza - just left a trail of beans and pineapple behind!

  12. YUUUUUUUUUUM! I want a Mr Natural!!!!!!!!!!

  13. please try nostralis pizza that shop is running 29 years why??? best of the best vegetarian and vegan pizza its firs vegetarian plece in all australia and ather strat to copy that guys but never thay come tp closer to nostralis

  14. I LOVE MR.NATURALS!! I actaully asked them about nostralis after seeing the post.. and i found that they actually started nosralis all those years ago... im happy they continued down my way in fitzroy though.. im at their door every 3rd day.. And the Aroma!! to die for just walking down the street..


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