Monday, May 27, 2024

A pizza for all occasions

Fresh from the oven: All time favourite pepperoni pizza

Fresh from the oven: All time favourite pepperoni pizza
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Whenever I have a pepperoni pizza, I am reminded of author R.K. Narayan. There is a wonderful little anecdote about Narayan in Rukmini Srinivas’s engaging book Tiffin. Narayan, who often visited Rukmini and her husband, the sociologist M.N. Srinivas, in the U.S., told her once that he’d eaten some pork pizza, thinking the topping consisted of sliced cherry tomatoes. A vegetarian, he later asked her to give him a bowl of curd rice as a “cleansing” food, Srinivas writes.

I, on the other hand, am so fond of pepperoni pizzas that I am unlikely to ask for curd — or anything else — to counter the taste of the pork. While taking a bite out of a juicy pepperoni pizza a few days ago, I recalled the legendary writer, but also wondered what made this pizza so special. I concluded that it was perhaps the somewhat tart bite and juicy texture of pepperoni.

Pizzas have morphed over the years, but the pepperoni continues to rule. A new pizza delivery outfit called Slyce offers delicious pepperoni pizza, prepared with imported pork and a San Marzano (a plum tomato variety) sauce. For those who like their pizzas hot, there is even a spicy version with jalapenos and green chillies.

It’s difficult to imagine that there was a time when a pizza in Delhi usually meant a topping of sausages, capsicum and onions. We were introduced to this by Nirulas, and our generation simply loved it. The varieties started changing with time: paneer became the must-have for vegetarians, and later chefs began experimenting with corn and pineapple, or even butter chicken, as toppings.

Now, chefs have pushed the envelope further. Diggin, the popular restaurant chain, has pizzas with truffle oil and mushrooms or country sausages. At the Nomad pizza — Traveller Series, you can have pizzas with eggplant or pesto potatoes.

Avocado Green Out Pizza at Slyce Delhi

Avocado Green Out Pizza at Slyce Delhi
| Photo Credit:
SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Slyce, which has outlets across Delhi NCR, has upped the ante further. It has, for instance, a pizza called Italian Mob, which comprises Spanish chorizo, bacon, sausages and pork pepperoni. Art pizza has a topping of artichokes, onion, sautéed spinach, baby tomatoes, olives, roasted garlic and feta cheese. The Quattro Pollo pizza has four kinds of chicken preparations — barbecued chicken, peri peri chicken, chicken chorizo and butter-poached chicken. I, however, found this a bit too chewy.

The one I enjoyed the most was its Avocado Green Out pizza, topped with pieces of avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos, olives and Parmesan. The avocado was soft and sweet, the tomatoes deliciously tart, and the jalapenos and olives gave it the twist it needed.

Another interesting item is its Chicken Karaage pizza. Karaage is a Japanese method of deep frying chicken nuggets coated with flour. The small chicken balls gave a delicious crunch to the pizza. Equally lip-smacking was the Mushroom and Cream Cheese pizza: the soft cheese and somewhat crunchy mushroom had been flavoured with chives and shaved Parmesan.

Japanese Chicken Karage pizza at Slyce Delhi

Japanese Chicken Karage pizza at Slyce Delhi
| Photo Credit:
SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Slyce, one of entrepreneur-chef Zorawar Kalra’s many brands, also offers a butter-poached lobster pizza with prawns, truffle oil and gold leaf. The pizzas are in the ₹ 400-900 range, depending on the size you opt for, and the lobster one is priced at ₹ 2,000.

Looking at the array of vegetarian toppings on offer now, I feel for Mr Narayan. He, I am sure, would have enjoyed an avocado or artichoke pizza — and not asked for a palate cleanser!

#pizza #occasions

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