It is believed that pizza, one of the world’s most widely eaten foods, was born in the Italian coastal town of Napoli (or Naples as it is called in English).
The Neapolitans are pretty particular (read snobbish) about what they consider to be the right way of making pizza. Keeping that in mind, Nariman Point’s brand new pizzeria Di Napoli — which translates to of/from Naples — offers hand-tossed pizzas, Neapolitan style.
We walked into the fuss-free pizzeria, right at the heart of Mumbai’s work district Nariman Point, on the very first day of its opening. The cement-coloured walls were left alone save for some lovely red and grey photographs and paintings recreating Naples and explaining the fine art (and ingredients) that has gone into their pizzas.
Our meal began on a fantastic note with the Melon and Feta Salad (Rs 230). Slices of watermelon, muskmelon and honeydew melon were served stacked onto a salad plate with generous servings of alfalfa, sunflower seeds, little feta balls and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Each bite was an explosion of flavours — salty feta, tarty balsamic vinegar and the sweet fruit. Very summery, very refreshing.
The pizzas, served only in one size (12 inches), were up next. Chicken-eaters beware — there is only one chicken option, the Campania (Rs 465). It is a pesto sauce pizza with chunks of boiled chicken, ricotta and fresh mozzarella.
The pesto both smelled and tasted divine. Our only grouse — there is too little of it on the pizza. The same applied to the vegetarian pizza, Montana di Giulio — Masterchef’s Creation (Rs 385), which had too little of the tangy tomato sauce. This was done intentionally — because their flour is super fine, the dough is extremely soft and can hold only a small amount of sauce — or so said the super-friendly chef when he came by to see how we were doing.
Our vegetarian pizza was a Margherita Pizza with Tomato sauce, Basil and Mozzarella, with a slight twist. It had been lightly fried before it was baked, which gave the crust a more delicious crunch than the Campania’s crust. The latter was light and fluffy round the edges but a bit dry for our taste.
The Penne Pomodori Pesto (Rs 270) with sundried tomato pesto, zucchini and Parmesan sounded extremely promising but turned out to be a bit disappointing. As Parmesan lovers we never thought we’d say this, but it was the overwhelming Parmesan flavour that almost killed this pasta dish. We couldn’t taste the sundried tomatoes in there and that was a huge downer.
For dessert we had the only two options (since it was the first day) — the eggless Chocolate Mousse Gateaux (Rs 180) and the New York Cheesecake (Rs 220). The lemony cheesecake had a nice tartiness to it, but like the gateaux, was a bit dry.
The pizzas were really good, the pasta was okay, the desserts forgettable. But ask us whether we would come back to this place and we’d say yes. And that’s only because of the salad we began our meal with.