Pizza party anyone? Three new Chennai brands that deliver scrumptious slices
For the past several months, a slice of life has meant more of the same. Fortunately, this pizza marathon ups the flavour on any given day, whether at home or away. Here are three new brands to try out this weekend.
This might be a cloud kitchen, but the attention to detail is close to a five-star hotel. The sturdy packaging that arrives at our door is impressive — from the eye-catching red font to the thoughtful ‘heating’ note on the inside that recommends an oven (not a microwave) and a drizzle of herb-infused olive oil that comes with the box.
Operating out of a kitchen in Teynampet, Lola’s Pizzeria is owned by the Ceebros, which is in the real estate and hospitality space. “We were gearing up for a launch in the cloud kitchen space and the pandemic supercharged our decision,” says Swetha Reddy, executive director, Ceebros, who is at the helm.
We open our pizza boxes to simple, rustic presentation with delicate flavours. Think Parma ham and arugula with parmesan cheese shavings (San Daniele) — this quickly becomes our favourite. The ham, we are told, is sourced from Italy, while the arugula is hydroponically grown at a nearby farm. We give the chicken a miss for a not-as-easy-to-come-by tuna and black olive combination (Marcello Mastroianni) — definitely worth trying. And we wrap up with slivers of eggplant, caramelized onions and (Verdure) and later mushrooms and spinach (Vegetariana). Just as we think, lunch couldn’t get any better, we dip our spoon into the exquisite Tiramisu.
Price: Pizzas are 11 inches, at INR 425 to INR 700 approx.
Ciro’s Pizzeria is named after the man behind Bella Ciao who gave Chennai authentic Italian pizza way back in ’98. The brand that opened shop during the lockdown has been getting quite popular and we realise why — one bite into their addictive pepperoni slice, rightfully christened the Inferno. “I have been making pizza for 32 years now,” chef Ciro Cattaneo tells us from Hyderabad, where he is setting up their most recently launched cloud kitchen, complete with a woodfire oven on wheels. Ciro has partnered with Nikhil Nath and Paul Raymond of the Masseys Group of Companies — that own franchise outlets of Ponnusamy and Mamagoto. Three months in, they have cloud kitchens in Kottivakkam and Gandhi Nagar, with Anna Nagar lined up next and plans for Goa before December!
Expect two crust variants — a thick crust fermented for close to 48 hours (Napoletan) and a classic thin crust (Romanov). We try the latter, which is soft and light made with 00 flour from Italy. There is a vegetarian Fiorentina with earthy button mushrooms, salty kicks from the feta, and pops of sweetness from the caramelized onions. And a make-your-own option where we opt for smoked chicken, sundried tomato and subtle hints of pesto. The pesto recipe has been passed down from chef Ciro’s 76-year-old aunt from Tuscany, Ileana.
Price: Medium (9 inch) at INR 400, large (12 inch) INR 550 approx.
Crust and Cheese
Mexican desi. This was our interpretation of the flavour notes from a sample menu sent over by new cloud kitchen — Crust and Cheese. Expect appetizer plates like Buffalo Chicken Nachos and South Western Chilli Beef Quesadillas. Both tasty, but very desi. The nachos unfortunately do not travel well and are not as crunchy as we would have hoped. What impresses us, instead, is the Cheesy garlic bread (opt for chicken as well). Soft and melt-in-your mouth mozzarella delicious, this is a side that deserves centre stage for a minute. Well, before we move on to pizza, at least.
Owned by Pricol Gourmet — the company behind Soy Soi and Double Roti, Crust and Cheese launched in April. Partner Nikesh Lamba says, “Over the years, Double Roti became known for its burgers but the only
challenge with burgers is that they are not sharing-friendly.” And, so came the idea for a pizza brand. We opt for their novel Pulled Chicken (slow-baked for two hours) pizza with grilled vegetables and buffalo mozzarella. As expected, a second helping is in order.
Price: A 12 inch pizza costs between INR 450 to INR 610. Appetizers at INR 125 to INR 235.