Eat

California Pizza Kitchen – ‘Light Hearted Gourmet Pizzas’

 

The famous American chain California Pizza Kitchen has been in Mumbai for a while. And the Malad branch, at the now-famous Infiniti Mall, that opened after the first branch at BKC; has been around for some time too. But with all my own cooking that keeps me firmly planted in my own kitchen; I didn’t make it to CPK until last night..

After a rather horrible day of re-re-re writing the scripts I am writing for a food show on TV, it was my husband who suggested that we go out, rather than stay home. And because my brother Uday is visiting from Delhi, it had to be a place that satisfied his palette too. That’s where it gets tricky you see. Uday is in college, and so is his food aesthetic. While Kartik & I are, for lack of better expression, are slightly more ‘matured’ in our culinary tastes. The solution to this disparity? California Pizza Kitchen.

That’s really at the heart of the experience at CPK. It has pizzas, something that everyone loves, young or old. But then, it serves up these pizzas to a wide variety to tastes. The menu is versatile. It has pizzas that youngsters would love – Pepperoni, ‘The Works’ (like the equivalent of Meat Lovers pizza from a Dominos or Pizza Hut). Then it has the classics like Margherita, that people with more ‘standard’ tastes would love. And then, for those of us seeking a bit more excitement & adventure, there will be wonderful creations like the Greek (spiced cottage cheese, Mozzarella, topped with a Greek Salad served with home-made Tzatziki Sauce); a great pick for vegetarians & the Chipotle (Grilled Chipotle Chicken, fire roasted chillies, Fontina cheese, topped with roasted corn, black-bean salsa, cilantro and a lime cream sauce). Top that with an understated & elegant ambiance, booths that are private, and decor that is pleasant; it makes for a welcoming place where the focus remains the pizza.

We started the meal by sharing a Thai Crunch Salad.

My only note here, be sure to squeeze generous amounts of lime juice, and this salad will sing! It had shredded Napa Cabbage, Grilled Chicken Breast, Crispy Wantons, Rice Sticks, Pea Nuts, Cilantro and a Thai Peanut Dressing. It was fresh, zesty, sweet, tangy, salty, yummy crunchiness all the way. A big-winner. On to the pizzas. There are two sizes and two bases. Not too much fuss, which is nice. If you’re in a greedy mood, get the 9′. if you’re sharing, go 14′. my preference is thin crust, and they do a beautiful one. I got the Sicilian which had my favorites – Parmesan, Parma Ham, & Sweet Italian Sausages. The sweetness from the really yummy & robust tomato sauce CPK uses as their pizza base contrasted perfectly in texture with the dryness of the Parmesan, and flavor-wise with the luscious saltiness of the Parma Ham. The entire experience was heightened by the yummy sausages, to round off this pizza as a true slice of Italia, and our top pick of the night.

Uday had the Pepperoni which was mouthwatering. The cheeses were excellent and pepperoni, succulent. Our second favorite of the night. And Kartik, being a Goats Cheese lover, got the Goats Cheese with Smoked Bacon. This was the only downer of the night. Maybe it was because the place was up to full capacity. The pizzas intended hero flavors (goats cheese & smoked bacon) were overwhelmed by the caramelized onions.

We were totally stuffed, and totally satiated. Service, despite the chaos was attentive & efficient. Our food took a little more time than I would have liked, but it came piping hot. And finally the pricing; which for me, in two words, great value! Our meal, with soft drinks, was INR 2,500/- Now I know this will seem pricy. But for a place where the pizzas are near-gourmet (without being pretentious or intimidating), the prices are just fine. Overall, I loved the place, and I’d recommend it on any day, at any time!

MY TIP: For those in the Andheri-Versova-Malad area craving for gourmet pizza without leaving home; Pizza Roma is a great option. Its this small delivery-only place in Laxmi Industrial Estate. 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