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When expat Neapolitan chef Annamaria Forgione opened her pizzeria cum restaurant Fire and Ice on Russel Street in 2005, her thin crust wood-fired pizza was a novelty that became an immediate hit among the city’s more discerning diner. Over the years the city’s pizza scene has grown and now there are numerous restaurants that ride chiefly on the strength of their hand rolled, thin crust, wood fired pizzas – classics and innovative! Here are a few Kolkata originals you must try when in the city!
Fire of Bengal: At the Fire and Ice Pizzeria chef and owner Annamaria Forgione swears by authenticity. Her wood-fired pizzas are a rage and she makes the best pepperoni pizza in town. The menu is mostly true to its Italian roots, the only innovation on the menu is the Fire of Bengal pizza that comes with spicy mutton, green chillies and coriander leaves as toppings – it is a tribute to the local palate and one of their bestsellers.
Pesto Egg Pizza: Egg pizzas have begun to make an appearance on quite a few menus in town. The Biker’s Cafe on Elgin Road makes a neat egg pizza. But the pesto egg pizza at Eggytarrian, another Elgin Road eatery, is a must try. The recently re-opened café serves a spread dominated by eggs and their crisp thin-crust pizza slathered with herby pesto and covered with a sheet of fried whisked eggs, is one of their bestsellers.
Pizza Alla Carbonara: While pasta Carbonara is a mandatory number on any Italian menu, the pizza Carbonara does not make an appearance too often. The Corner Courtyard on Sarat Bose Road has it on their menu. The hand-rolled oven-baked pizza comes generously topped with bacon strips, grilled sausages, egg yolks, a slathering of Pecorino Romano cream sauce and loads of mozzarella. It is finished off with crisped basil leaves.
Pizza a la 1658: Ex pat Chef Shaun Kenworthy’s pizzas are easily the most popular picks at his contemporary European restaurant 16:58: The Exchange (it was previously called 1658: Bar & Kitchen). Try their signature Pizza a La 1658 that comes topped with pesto, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic and roasted chicken. And a glass of wine, perhaps.
Afraa: Since its inception in 2007, Afraa Restaurant and Lounge has earned raves for its thin-crust pizza. The menu has changed significantly over the years but their pizzas remain popular. A must try is their signature pizza that shares the restaurant’s name. The Afraa is a vegetarian pizza topped with a delicious mix of basil pesto and tomato sauce, some oak ash goat cheese and mozzarella, roasted garlic and sun dried tomatoes. A sprinkle of pine nuts adds a nutty twist.
Greek Pizza: Here is another vegetarian number, served at Villa 19, which you must try. Crisp Arabic flat bread smeared with pesto and toppings include spinach, sundried tomatoes, mint and crumbled feta – the Greek pizza is a delicious twist on the Italian staple.
Gambari Al Forno Burro: Here is one for seafood lovers. This thin crust pizza served at Brickwood on Wood Street, a newer addition to the city’s pizza scene, is topped with butter-laced roasted prawns and a drizzle of crustacean oil. (Brickwood used to make a sweet pizza slathered with chocolate and Nutella and topped with fresh strawberries, but they have recently introduced a new menu and the chocolate pizza does not feature on it)
Spanish Café: A nondescript café on Sudder Street, their pizzas have earned raves. Mostly, they do conventional thin crust pizzas, and their margaritas are fantastic, but try their special the Spanish Café pizza, supposed to be a surprise, that comes loaded with their best toppings and loads of cheese
Here is wishing more pizza power to you!
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