A slice of disappointment

Pizza Metro Pizza flatters only to deceive

Pizza is love. Pizza is life.

Like Dominic Toretto, I too live my life a quarter pizza at a time. Pizza is one of the great abiding loves of my life, right up there with Monica Bellucci Incredibly hot and oozing raw sensuality, I am sure that entire generations of people would agree with me when I say that there were few sights better feasting on this than this tasty Italian dish.

And that’s before I even begin to speak of the ethereally gorgeous Monica Darling.

Photo 25-07-15 3 34 56 pmThe tiny, blink-and-you-miss-it entrance gives way to relatively cavernous interiors and at the heart of it all is…a pink Vespa, cute as a button. Just north of it lies the star of the show though, a traditional domed, wood-fueled ovens that a Neapolitan pizza is baked in. In front of it, the pizzaiolo dances like a dervish, stoking wooden fires to crazy temperatures as he creates a work of art.

The end result, a smorgasbord of smoky, slightly bitter notes that comes from the leopard-like charred spots and the pliable, mildly chewy dough gives a Neapolitan pizza its trademark simple, endearing complexity. Not for me the deep-dish pizza pies of Chicago, instead take me to the shores of Naples where the garnishing treads ever so lightly on dreams of dough.

The cutesy Pink Vepsa at the centre of it all!
The cutesy Pink Vepsa at the centre of it all!

However, those dreams were dashed on my visit to Pizza Metro Pizza. You see, what I had in my mind was a thin, crisp, dotted base with subtle garnishes that drop bombs of flavor on the palate. Instead, the base was so gelatinous and tender that the sheer heft of the toppings threatened to overwhelm it (and did). I have a bit of a soft center, but this was just a wee bit ridonkulous.

Elvis crooned ‘Love Me Tender’, but even he didn’t have a crust so tender in mind when he warbled those words. There’s no fun in making a bit of a roll out of a pizza, and I’m far too indecent to resort to using a fork and knife to shovel down my grub. The best idea for Pizza Metro Pizza would be to go Parisian and give it the crepe treatment. That is to say some heavy duty butter paper could be used to pull off a quad fold so that the pizza would be folded in half and then halved again for easier consumption.

As it stood, I did give this a go with mixed results as my washing machine (called Kantabai) would attest to. Moral of the story: butter paper is of the essence if you are to form this neat little pocket of pizza. Instead, all that was missing was a Benny Hill soundtrack as I bumbled my way through the meal.

Parma Ham up front, Murugante bringing up the rear
Parma Ham up front, Murugante bringing up the rear

And if you were to imagine that my grouse with this meal was the messiness of it all, you’d be mistaken. The pizzas were like a profile on shaadi.com; it sounded fantastic on paper, but the end product sold you just a wee bit short. For instance, the Parma Ham and Rucola Pizza (with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, parma ham, rocket and basil) had massive rocket leaves where baby rucola would have been perfect. The Ham should have been the star, and yet I pictured myself mentally looking like a Giraffe as I munched on mouthfuls of leave with ham thrown in for good measure, admittedly.

The less said about the Murgante (chicken, mozzarella, tomato, black olives, capers, garlic, basil and oregano), the better. This pizza was insipid and joyless, like that kid standing on the bylines as you played football in the rain and tried like hell to coax him to be the 11th member on your team. Go away Pawan, no one likes you. We lost 1-0 because your fat ass didn’t want to get doused in some rain water.

I love my pizzas, but I couldn’t get myself to fall in love with this slice of Italy. And that’s a shame, because when an unabashed Pizza apologist struggles to come up with a coherent argument to romanticise Pizza, you know that there’s big trouble in Little China, or Little Italy, as it were.

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