Pizza Metro Pizza
Dr. Ambedkar Road
Near Sarvodaya DVD Library
Next to Barbecue Nation
Call: 022 6599 3333
Price: Rs3500 (meal for two)
A stone lion, its jaw frozen in a yawn, greets us before we reach for the door of Bandra's Pizza Metro Pizza restaurant. The infectious melody of an Italian pop song wafts past the sprawling mural of a Mediterranean marketplace and over the tiles of the patterned floor. Gazed upon by the heroes of a series of Italian films whose posters adorn the wall, we take our seat at a marbled table. The bustle of Italian chefs is open to view in the cooking area as they work over an oven, which dominates them all.
With pots and pans suspended from the ceiling, and not a bottle of barbeque sauce or ketchup to offend the purist’s eye, the establishment goes the extra mile in maintaining a form of fusionism-shunning visual integrity while at the same time keeping a chilled-out vibe.
From the antipasti, or appetiser section, we tucked into the Polpette al Sugo and Fritura di Calamari.
The Polpette al Sugo, snowball-sized beef meatballs drenched in tomato sauce and parmesan serve two well but by themselves they have a delicate almost understated taste. Crumbling under the knife, the tender treats whet the senses to the distinct Italian flavouring.
The Fritura di Calamari or fried squid rings should give seafood lovers something to sing paeans about. In the mouth, the cephalopod's crispiness has a happy marriage with the restaurant-made mayonnaise sauce.
Eschewing the obvious pasta, we turned adventurous (we were lubricated by the delicious and somewhat-heady ruby-red house wine Le miro rosso), sampling the meat and fish listed in the Carni and Pesci section. The sumptuous and well-portioned Polleto Diavoletto is something meat-lovers sink your teeth into. Beneath a layer of salmon pink parma ham and buffalo mozzarella is succulent chicken.
When our half-a-metre-long pizza arrived, we grasped the stunned look of the mustachioed cartoon chef atop the restaurant and the significance of his oversized wooden ruler. Metro, meaning metre after all, refers to the length of the disc-shaped delicacies to whom Naples, traditionally, has been credited as their home. Chicken was conspicuously absent from the toppings of the selection of pizzas in the menu (the chefs, I learnt, would balk at the idea of desecrating the pie with - shudder- poultry). The Cicciobomba pizza in particular is visually and olfactorily inviting. Proving sumptuous to the carnivores with its generous sprinklings of ham, salami, and meatballs, it is tasty to boot. Adequately chompable, though deceivingly thin to the sight, the pizza base with its fluffy crust was quite well-cooked. (‘burnt’ was the uncharitable term used by my companion, i prefer 'well-done').
For desert, we topped it all off with the familiar tiramisu and and the not-so-familiar pastiera, a cake of dense consistency made wholly of wheat and cheese. Both were so-so. If you are spoiled for choice with external sweet-tooth soothers or your pockets simply aren’t deep enough or simply stuffed, it would be safe to skip dessert at Pizza Metro Pizza.
The décor which strives for the authentic is relaxingly unpretentious and the food is delectable. But were it not for the graciousness of our hosts, our repast would have blasted quite a hole in this humble reviewer’s modest bank balance (A 12-inch Cicciobomba – literally meaning fat bomb - alone leaves its eaters Rs950 lighter!). But If you won't let cash come in the way of your engagement of authentic Italian cuisine, Pizza Metro Pizza won’t let you down. Skinflint that I am, I will be returning again.