When We Took Our Taste Buds On A Trip Around The World At California Pizza Kitchen
Fusion food is all the rage right now. From cronuts to sushi desserts to ramen burgers, the world has seen some pretty wacky fusion dishes. It’s no surprise, then, that multiple experiments have been done on a large amount of people’s favourite comfort foods; pizza. Pizzas are traditionally topped with tomatoes, cheese and (if you’re lucky) chicken, but fusion pizza experiments with flavours from all around the world. Sometimes, it falls flat and sometimes it results in a gorgeous explosion of flavours that send your taste buds tick tick ticking to heaven.
California Pizza Kitchen is one of the places that do fusion pizzas right. Generally, they take traditional pizzas and give them their signature Californian twist. This month, however, they went a step further and put together the World On Your Plate menu with ten pizzas with exciting new combinations of ingredients inspired by flavours from around the world. In other words, if you can’t afford to travel around the world and sample all the international cuisines that foodies go gaga over, you simply have to head to the nearest California Pizza Kitchen outlet and let your taste buds go on a trip around the world, while your feet remain firmly on the ground.
When we wandered in to Lower Parel’s California Pizza Kitchen outlet, we ran into Chef Nilesh Bohr (of the Mexifornia festival fame) who sat with us as we enjoyed the refreshing Blue Horizon Mojito and explained the process behind putting together a limited time pizza menu that would take customers on a pizza trail around the world. By experimenting with iconic, traditional dishes from various countries and their plethora of in house sauces, they were able to put together beauties like the Zesty Meat Ball pizza (representing Hungary), the Peri Peri pizza (representing South Africa) and the Cheeseburger pizza, representing America. Yup, a cheeseburger pizza; but hold your tongues, we’re getting there!
Truth be told, we had the complete intentions to sample each of the ten pizzas on the menu, but our stomachs, we knew, would disagree. So, we settled with sampling six of the most unique creations on the menu. If you ask them nicely, the chefs at California Pizza Kitchen may just agree to serve you a half and half pizza, which is what we did. Before that, however, we started with some new starters, which were also included on the World On Your Plate menu.
Starting At The Start
Being firm non-vegetarians we called for the Lebanese Grill Chicken and Charmula fried fish. While the chicken had an interesting blend of spicy and tangy flavours, we particularly enjoyed the fish fingers, with a crispy crust, soft crumbly fish dipped into an accompanying smooth lime cream sauce.
Let The Pizza Trails Begin!
We then moved on to our pizza feast. We started out with flavours close to home – the Rustico Indiano, a pie topped with capsicums, onions, subtly spicy sauce and a generous dose of beautifully spice achari chicken. This particular pizza would be perfect for the Indian who’s looking to eat out of his comfort zone but doesn’t want to completely relinquish spicy flavours.
Moving on, we had ourselves a slice or two of the Peri Peri pizza that was buzzing with a heady Peri Peri sauce, bell peppers, which gave it an extra kick and olives to balance out the flavour. Next, we enjoyed the texture of the Zesty Meat Ball Pizza, which had fat meatball halves sitting atop a crispy, almost kadak, crust accompanied by jalapenos and a spicy sauce. The jalepenos, we thought, injected the pizza with an exciting, spicy kick.
Up next was the Sauerbraten Pizza, rife with German favours. Since the whole world is caught up with the Oktoberfest fever, let’s just say that this pizza would be pretty neat paired with beers; it has a variety of German flavour elements including sauerkraut, loads of cheese and a cold potato salad.
Now, finally, we’ll put an end to your waiting and tell you all about the Cheeseburger pizza; the ultimate fusion. If you’ve got an expandable stomach, then you have to have to try this dish; with a chicken burger patty and various other burger stuffings ladled atop this creation it’s sure to leave you with a full stomach and happy taste buds. Oh, and there’s cheese on it. Lots of cheese.
A Tryst With Dessert
With the plethora of pizza slices we scarfed it may surprise some that we still had room for dessert. But one look at the dessert menu and the words ‘Banoffe Bombe’ and we were sold. Wonderfully moist, with a complex amounts of layers including dulce de leche cream and chocolate sponge this was the perfect round off out trip around the world.
Want to take a trip around the world too? What’s stopping you? Head to California Pizza Kitchen and satisfy your wanderlust. And your stomach. The festival is on until November 15th, so you’ve plenty of time to get a taste of each country!
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