An Italian chef's expertise, signature dough, ingredients sourced from Italy, and an attempt to create healthy fast-food is being promised at a new Andheri pizzeria
"It's pizza that can be eaten every day, without compromising your health," is one of the first few things that co-founder Krishna Gupta says, and with that he has our attention, as also our scepticism. But then Gupta quickly explains that there are 50 varieties of toppings to choose from, and also there's no added sugar in their preparations. (For the uninitiated, sugar is often added to dough; it reacts with yeast to make the crust rise). He piques our interest, further, as he explains that the flour comes from Italy, and the dough is prepared with a special recipe — which also includes curing for 24 hours — created by renowned Italian chef Renato Viola.
The Margherita Pizza had a hint of sweetness from the tomatoes sourced from Italy, which complemented the smoked mozzarella
Chef Viola is known for the 'World's most expensive pizza', available in Italy, priced at a whooping €8,300 (Euros). Pizzeria 1441 has roped in the expert as a consultant, while keeping the prices in an affordable range. In an attempt to bring Mumbai the perfect slice, the chef, who made his first pizza, with help from his mother, at the tender age of four, "tasted over 70 different types of pizza in Mumbai" and "worked on the menu for over a year."
The restaurant offers a live pizza counter so customers can choose their own toppings from a variety of over 50 options
Co-founder Istayak Ansari gets into the details: the tomatoes too are from Italy, as is the oven; there are four different types of sauces: a Jain sauce, a 1441 special sauce with garlic, mama's sauce which is chef Viola's family's recipe, and a pesto sauce with cheese from Gujarat. Also, the 50 types of toppings give you countless combinations. Next, we see how it actually works as we walk up to the counter, and in a Subway-style format, we can see the many toppings on offer. The dough, too, is stretched out before us. Now, we pick the sauces and toppings. The pizza goes into the oven and approximately five minutes later, it's ready!
Chef Renato Viola readies to place a freshly made pizza into the oven
We start with the Margherita (Rs 345) because "that's how you can truly judge an Italian pizza", insists Gupta. The base is thin just as we like it; the tomatoes add a hint of sweetness, which goes down surprisingly well with the smoked mozzarella that we opted for. Next we try the Make Your Own Vegetarian pizza (Rs 495) with mama's sauce, and toppings of jalapenos, onions, mushrooms, peppers and zucchini.
Make it yourself Veg Pizza included delish toppings of onion, jalapeno and veggies, held together by Mama's sauce
The onions add a sweet flavour, while the sauce adds spice, and the jalapenos and peppers give it bite; all of which works beautifully on the Indian palate. Finally, we fashion our Non-Vegetarian Pizza (Rs 595) with pesto chicken, olives, and shredded mozzarella. The chicken is tender and spicy, while the olives add bite. Why 1441? It's the latitude and longitude of the very first pizza place in Italy. And with every bite We are whisked away to Italy. The decor, too, has the same effect with warm lighting, cosy seating, and colourful murals of the countryside and the streams. No small feat considering we're in the suburb of Andheri.
Here (left) we created our own non-veg pizza with pesto chicken, olives, and shredded mozzarella. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Pizzeria 1441 opens to public
On: March 1
At: Shop no 20, ground floor, Samartha Vaibhav CHS ltd, off KL Oshiwara, Tarapore Gardens, Milat Nagar, Andheri (W).
Home deliveries will not be available initially.