I think of dieting, then I eat pizza. - Lara Stone
The above quote can sum up my love affair with Pizza. Cheesy, oozy and full of happiness it truly is a great comfort food.
Thankfully there have been a spate of new pizzeria's which have opened up shop in Bombay in the past few years and I'm happily working my way through them one by one. However the classic pizza serving places stand proud and Mezzo Mezzo was one of the best in the old guard.
I was recently invited to the Mezzo Mezzo to experience the hospitality, food and theatrics of Chef Pasqualino Barbasso, a two time World Champion Pizza tosser.
Read on to find out how it was.
Walking into Mezzo Mezzo across the "bridge" you immediately feel like you are in a slightly different part of the Marriott, one which is a bit more sedate and formal yet inviting.
On your right as soon as you enter is the Kitchen which you can peek into and from where you can get a view of the extensive bar available.
Here is a badly taken Photo Sphere of the Entrance for your viewing pleasure
You would then find some cute booths to sit in or some tables beyond the bar, both options are equally lovely in my opinion.
All their names link to their social media profiles incase you want to check them out.
We started off with a beautifully presented Anti Pasti platter which consisted of a variety of cheeses, namely provolone, parmesan, taleggio and salted ricotta. The cheeses were paired with some olives, Caprese salad, Artichokes and asparagus with cheese melted over it. There were also some Stuffed Risotto balls, though those were forgettable. The rest of the platter was lip smacking though.
In addition to the anti Pasti platter we were served with two varieties of grilled pizza bread. One was served plain with just a dusting of sea salt and thyme, the other one had a tomato puree on top to lend it some flavour. Both of them appealed to me but I was more partial to the one with the tomato puree on top.
Coupled with this we were served some Peroni Beer which was crisp and light, I like my beer smooth but with a bit more bite than what the Peroni offered. Still a nice beer to sip on.
In the midst of all this we interacted with Chef Pasqualino Barbasso and came to know quite a few tid bits. He still runs his own pizzeria in Sicily and travels all over the world to train and perform. His favourite soccer team is Juventus (Sigh!) and the dough for performing is totally different from the one used to cook with as there are different requirements in terms of elasticity and texture.
Chef Davide the head chef of Mezzo Mezzo then gave us a nice surprise with some exquisite Chilli oil made from chillis which were brought down specially from Sicily. Fragrant and flavourful the oil was perfect to dip the chiabatta and other breads in with a lingering burn on your tongue after each bite. The burn itself was nice and subtle which speaks volumes about the quality of the Chilli.
We were then treated to an amazing pizza tossing performance by Chef Pasqualino and let me say that it's one of the most exhilarating things I have seen in a while. I was lucky enough to have captured a video of the entire performance. You will definitely be impressed.
Performance over it was time for us to dig in to the food.
For the veggies we were served with a brilliant rolled up Pizza stuffed with Artichokes and cheese inside coupled with parmesan and rocket outside. The bite of the rocket tied the entire dish together. Subtly flavoured it was super delicious.
The next one to come up was the Veggie pizza which had Aubergine, Zucchini and broccoli as toppings. The dough and veggies stood out to me but the sauce disappointed. Didn't quite scream out tomato to me as much as I would have liked.
The last one we were served was a special pizza which was inspired by India and will be a permanent addition to the Mezzo Mezzo menu. It's name is borrowed from the restaurant it will be served in and features Palak Paneer on a pizza. It was a surprise to have with the Palak Puree serving as an excellent base for the Paneer and Zucchini a top it. There was also a nice drizzle of fresh cream on top of it. A must have if your feeling adventurous.
To end the meal we were told we are being served Chef Davide's pride and joy, his Tiramisu. Let me keep this simple. It is Exquisite! (With egg though). You will fall in love with it. Moist Sponge fingers, brilliantly smooth mascarpone cheese and an amazing coffee flavour, we were all reaching out for seconds.
Here's the Menu that's there as part of the special with Chef Pasqualino. I will say though it was disappointing that the menu doesn't mention that the pizzas can be made veg on request and that will probably cause people to miss out on good food. Do ask for a veg version if your visiting after reading this.
I found the prices a bit too high at 1200 for a pizza, probably 1000 would have been okay, but then again you don't get to see performances like this every day do you?
Chef Pasqualino Barbasso is there at Mezzo Mezzo from the 9th to the 17th so go catch him soon.
PHONE:022 66933220, 022 66933000 ADDRESS: JW Marriott, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai This was part of an event by the FBAI