What’s a great Pizza. It should have a thin crust, should be light, the base should be visible in parts, the toppings should be lazily thrown all over, the toppings should not be heavy and neither should they be in large quantities, should definitely have some basil leaves peppered over, great mozzarella leisurely melting over the base and a good helping of fine olive oil. This is my vision of a great Pizza, sitting beside a small cottage on a private beach with waves hitting the rocks and a pied-piper blowing sweet melodies as the sun goes down. I had an opportunity of enjoying this ethereal setting couple of times. Seagulls flapping their wings just makes it better. A lighthouse on a faraway horizon completes the pictures. A glass of wine would compliment the situation.
Ahem!, you would cry, but the pizza available all around us, does not even remotely looks like that; isn’t it, well blame it on home delivery, fast food joints and great America in equal measure. As a result, the base started getting thicker (“Pan Pizza”), the base is smothered with all sorts of toppings and finally it is weighed down by humungous and copious quantities of cheeses of questionable origin and quality. The net effect is that its heavy on the stomach, full of undesired calories.
The Pizza in its purest form is simple and minimalistic. It has a great thin crust coated with freshly made tomato sauce, topped with meat, or seafood helpings, small vegetables, mushrooms, basil leaves, fresh oregano, best mozzarella and a good drizzle of olive oil and freshly baked in wood fired oven ( wood fired aroma can never ever replace electric or charcoal oven).
Where the heck you get these sort of Pizza in India? Well, the answer is quite simple and straightforward. There are only 2 great places to have the authentic Italian Pizza with the 3rd place at a kissing distance. Yes, thats it; only 3 places. No room for discussion even.
Celini, at Grand Hyatt, Kalina, Mumbai offers the best Pizza that one can get in India. They are thin, light and made just the right way. Try a veggy Pizza, its great or the one with thin shavings of Parma Ham and porcini mushrooms or the one with shrimps thrown all over. All are great, just great. So if you stay in Mumbai or planning to visit Mumbai, love Pizza, Celini is the place to go. Its expensive, but well, the visit would be well worth. Its so light that even after eating a whole pizza ( yes, i whole pizza), you will not feel heavy and might find an excuse for an extra slice.
Olive Bar and Kitchen at Mehrauli, Delhi comes a close second. Its right next to Qutub Minar, the setting is leisurely white, great ambience; has indoors and outdoors and the Pizza is a “smasher”. Try the Parma Ham, rocket and Parmesan Pizza or the the spinach, sun dried tomatoes, corn, Parmesan.One can easily polish off a Pizza alone.Drizzle olive oil liberally, and mama mia, this is the place to be.
Diva, N Block ,Greater Kailash, New Delhi is the 3rd one trying to close the gap with the Olive. Thats it.
Simple, yes only 3 places in India to relish a great Pizza.
To test how the world tour of Pizza has horribly gone bad, look around at Milan airport, Italy. At its domestic departure terminal, you will get thin crusty Pizza with great toppings and olive oil drizzlings and at International departure, a horrendous Pan Pizza with obscenely high quantity of cheese and meaty toppings.
Need I say more!!