Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Italian Job

Review: Di Napoli

Just when you wonder, ‘what more can be done to a pizza that the Gujjus Madwadis of the country have not done already?’ Prepare to be surprised!

 The newest Italian eatery in town, Di Napoli boasts of a tagline that says "handmade pizzas". Frankly speaking, I didn’t have a lot of expectations from this, I mean Pizza doesn't top my list of cravings ever and I hate the pizza chains in our country!  So when they invited me for a bloggers meet the above lines kept echoing in my mind. But I did take a chance. Good decision? Well let’s find out.

 With hues of scarlet, white & black as decor, Di Napoli reminds you of the typical Pizza joints in the US and even the earlier Pizzeria at Marine Drive (now Pizza by the bay. Tacky I know!). Think that comes from the owner Jay Thakur, US returned, banker by profession, who decided to call it quits one day so he could learn the art of pizza making. The place also exhibits a wood fired brick oven imported all the way from Italy.

A look at the menu and you would see the limited options available amongst the soups, salads, pastas and deserts categories. All pizza’s have minimum of one and maximum 3 toppings and are available in 12” only.

We begin with the humble Original Margherita – thin base, mind you not the 'papad' like crispy but gooey, with tomato sauce topped with mozzarella, olive oil and basil leaves – a beautiful melancholy of flavours plays in your mouth unlike the boring margheritas you are used to. The simplicity of the pie just makes you crave for more. Post that I try the Greca – this pizza is thinner and crispy with no tomato sauce, but some sprinkled cucumber, tomatoes and feta, a take on the salad – quite a refreshing combination although I thought the crust was a bit charred.

Original Margherita

After this chef Giulio Adriani, a master pizza maker, who was here to help Mr. Thakur set up his kitchen demonstrated the making of original Neapolitan pizza. My first question to him was how many kinds of pizza are there besides the Neapolitan. With a wrinkle on this nose he replies back Pizza is only a Neapolitan phenomena, the others are just copies. Wow I thought, quite an epiphany, for all these years of my life I have been eating the crappy fakes!!  He also added that pizzas must have only 2-3 toppings in order to be able to savour all the flavours – that of the base, cheese, tomato sauce and the topping. Another epiphany! His anger on the Domino’s offering an extravaganza of toppings seemed valid to me. Just like we wouldn’t like Italians and French to mess with something like a vada pav or dal chawal, they do not like people messing with their pizza. Christian Grey style- Fair point, Well taken, Mr Adriani. With fluid dexterity Adriani, who has been making pizzas since the the age of 13, shows how the handmade pizza is made - He spread the dough with his hands, adds a dollop of marinara sauce, then the cheese, basil, olive oil and then places the oven. The pizza takes just within 1 minute to roast and what you see is the beautiful simple pie, fluffed at the ends - a mouthwatering sight

Chef Adriani

Back at our tables, we order the Tomato Soup – thick tangy broth served in a coffee – very ok, nothing extraordinary. The Funghi Pizza – was delectable with subtle flavours of mushroom added to the already flavoured margherita. The Margherita Prosciutto – margherita with slivers of Parma was yum too, although I felt the ham was a bit chewy!

Tomato Soup
Funghi Pizza

In drinks, I have the Lemongrass Cooler – a zesty drink with quite a refreshing flavour

Then we order for the Penne Pomodori Pesto- penne tossed in sundried tomato – I found the pasta a little uncooked for my palate, although people may argue its al dente. The sauce was too dry and too oily. The Fusilli Basil Pesto -  in green pesto sauce bought the same emotions.The Angel Hair Pasta - white sauce pasta was too thick and lacked any flavour. While the pastas were not a disaster they were certainly many notches below the pizzas in taste and flavour.

Fusilli Basil Pesto
Penne Pomodori Pesto
A meal for 2 would cost between Rs.1000 -1500/-. Alcohol isn’t available yet.


Food: Good

Ambience: Pizzeria like

Service: Good

Quick Tip: Come here for the immaculate & unadulterated Pizza experience!

The Co-ordinates:

Di Napoli

Where: Dalamal Towers, Free Press Journal Marg,  Nariman Point , Mumbai

Tring Tring: 43473200

Timings: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Food Type: Italian

Payment Methods: Credit cards accepted

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