Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pizza: fast food or artisanal?

with family

Is fast food pizza possible? Of course the method of baking a pizza is the very concept of fast food...but typically a fast food joint will also have demands on budget and often lack the guidance of a master chef.

Hence, I never eat at Pizza Hut, or Canadian Pizza, or Rocky's Pizza...too many wasted calories. Spizza is a little different. As one enters each restaurant (there are at least 3 branches), one can spy with one's eye, the presence of a wood fired oven (the al forno, as the Italians would say). This wood fired oven is almost a guarantee that good pizza is to be served...first because these ovens are expensive to build, and presumably maintain...and if the owners go to such lengths to get these made, they are serious about their pizzas, and this generally mean the food will be good.

Spizza does not disappoint. The names of the dishes are in non-descriptive Italian names, but here it goes.

We started with my favourite Italian anti-pasti...Parma Ham wrapped around slices of rock melon.

Parma ham is quite a special kind of ham. Known as Proscuitto de Parma in Italy, this ham has received terrior and methodology protection from PDO by the EU. Paired with a sweet, succulent slice of rock melon, this can be one version of heaven. The Spizza version has the ham a bit on the dry and tough side...but very flavourful. My mom even remarked that she found the flavour very nice. The rock melon was sweet, and succulent...and as intended the combination was excellent. The halfed cherry tomatoes provided an astringent touch to cut the richness and sweetness of the combi.

Next the pizza...the Barbera...

The pizza is true traditional Italian style...thin crusted, with flour generously sprinkled. and Cooked to a crisp...but with parts of the insides slightly chewy, and parts crispy like a biscuit. The dough was excellent. The toppings were tomato, mozzarella, hot Italian minced pork, shallots and olives. Not exactly masterful, but nice.

We also had the Sophia:

This was a seafood pizza with the following toppings: tomato, mozzarella, shrimps, mussels, scallops, calamari, fresh Basil. The seafood was fresh, and nicely done.

We also had a plate of lasagna

Older Singaporeans may remember a small Italian eatery run by Humphrey Thio called Milano's at Orchard Point and Lucky Plaza. This establishment used to served the best pizza in Singapore (the Milano Special with a raw egg cracked on the pizza topping after baking), and the best lasagna. Perhaps I was young and my palate too under-developed in those days, but the shiok memories remain.

The Spizza lasagna revokes some of these memories. But albeit, less beef, more tomato and what looks like more oil. The taste was very nice indeed, and worthy of the calories.

Still hungry, we added a serving of Ravioli:

Little dumplings, about 1.5"square, these were filled with ricotta cheese and spinach. And served with a tomato sauce. The sauce was quite superb, nice amount of sour-ness and tang, balanced with the body of the tomatos. They could have been more generous with the cheese and spinach stuffing, but it is good enough to tantalize.

Overall, a nice family restaurant for quite genuine Italian food. Excellent service. Nice environs. I must say the food is quite good, but not inspired or exceptional. Worthy a visit.

Spizza (Bukit Timah)
271 Bukit Timah Road,
#01-09, Balmoral Plaza
Singapore 259708
Tel : 6333 8148
Fax : 6235 0363
Lunch: 12 noon - 3:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
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