Delhi has broken bread with The Naked Chef for many months and it’s finally our turn. After Cambridge and the Capital, the all-new Jamie’s Pizzeria is all set to make Mumbai salivate starting this Friday.
Now it seems like world famous chef Jamie Oliver (the man behind several successful restaurants, books and TV shows) knew that The Hungry Happy Hippy was craving pizza this rain-soaked week! I got my adorable mini-pizza box invite for a sneak peek a few days ago. So today, instead of heading to PVR Cinemas for my dose of cinematic fantasy, I stepped into the cheery ambience of Jamie’s Pizzeria right across from the theatre at High Street Phoenix.
The decor is typical pizza-place pizzazz. Rustic walls, framed pictures of the Tuscan countryside and hand-written chalkboards (some of them in Hindi!), pop colours and an Instagramworthy graphic art mural with a Mumbai theme.
The service is warm, despite first-day, first diner jitters. The food, using almost 96% locally sourced ingredients except largely for tomatoes and mozarella (they’re still hoping to find a good local source for this, according to Manager and marketing wiz Alexander Troughton), is fresh, flavourful and filling. While there’s everything from courgettes to meatballs on the menu, seafood is conspicuous by its absence. Perhaps they’re keeping it truly seasonal and serving fish only when there’s an R in the month? After all, the Naked Chef’s known for his stripped-down-to-basics, ethical approach to cooking. Another big USP is the fact that the bread is kneaded, proofed overnight and baked fresh, right on location.
As it’s hard for them to do small tasting portions of their 11-inch pizza, my dining companion and I request a half and half, with a plain Margherita and a Chicken Peperonata. The pure veg Margherita, which uses three cheeses (Mozzarella, Parmesan and mature Cheddar), is rich in taste and moist on the tongue. I would go back for this one. The thick crusts that remain? They have a solution for mopping these up too, offering three types of dips to dunk them into. I can certainly vouch for the delicious olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade, which is also served with their rosemary-sprinkled garlic bread. It adds a pop of flavour to the already yum bread, making you forgive its chewiness.
The Watermelon and Marinated Feta Salad is jazzed up with cumin and mint. It’s a fresh and soothing contrast to the dangerously dynamite tendencies of the Chilly Chicken Wings. Not for the faint hearted!
Drinks include beer and wine. I try the ‘homemade’ iced tea and ginger beer, made from Jamie’s special recipe. Both are made well and minus excessive sugar. A pleasant surprise on the menu is the availability of fresh fruit juices.
Desserts are old-school in their presentation and heartiness. The ‘proper’ Tiramisu is good, with a tinge of orange zest, but still lacks the oomph of the one at the now-no more Don Giovanni’s, which was the best that Bombay ever had. The brownie with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce sounds like the world’s most boring dessert, but actually hits the spot with its crunchy exterior and soft, dense inner core.
Overall, considering its central location, affordable price point (pizzas at Rs 289-549, potato wedges and garlic bread at Rs 149, for example) and international reputation, this pizzeria has big plans to convert Mumbai’s muncherati this monsoon!
After a few days of ‘will he, won’t he’, Jamie‘s Pizzeria finally opened to the public on August 2, 2016.
Address: Opposite PVR Cinemas, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Social media: @jamiespizzeriaindia