Allen Thomas finds an Italian eatery where the fare leaves him and his brother replete, relaxed and ready for a new working week.
It was a busy Saturday evening crammed with religious obligations (Easter mass) and sometimes we just can’t be bothered to take the trouble to make something to eat.
Well, in my case, I don’t have to worry about that thanks to my mum’s commendable cooking. But there comes a point when you just have to call it quits and head out.
And I had been craving some authentic Italian cuisine for a while. So, along with my brother Alvin, I headed to Pizza Italiano in Azaiba.
The restaurant is quite easy to find: situated on November 18th Street, Pizza Italiano sits in an ideal spot making it easy for passers-by to stop by and have a quick bite. From the inside, the restaurant is minimalist in style but classy.
Unfortunately, my brother and I were the only customers. But that could have had something to do with the time of our arrival: it was about 10pm when we walked in. But to my surprise, the waiters were still very welcoming and even took the time and effort to explain what their restaurant was about.
Skimming through the menu (which is only a thin takeaway card), I noticed that they have a wide variety of dishes ranging from appetisers to desserts – and I’m not kidding when I say that they have “delicious” written all over them (and there are pictures accompanying every dish).
Since we’d had a rather busy day, we decided to dive into something cold and refreshing to begin with. And there is nothing more energising than a Virgin Mojito – which was my first pick – while my brother opted for a Lemon Mint.
But then we found a drink that seemed rather intriguing – the Italian Smooch. For appetisers we ordered a plate of garlic bread with Mozzarella cheese on top while our entree comprised California Crush pizza, Carne Picante Beef pizza and a Penne Alfredo pasta.
Our drinks came in a jiffy. The Virgin Mojito was a generous size in a tall glass (although not in a traditional mojito glass). One initial sip and I experienced nothing less than a refreshing punch of flavours from the mint leaves and the lemon. It held a beautiful balance and there was a fine consistency to it. Meanwhile, my brother seemed to enjoy his choice.
And then came the Italian Smooch. It tasted really good. The drink was a combination of mango juice, orange juice and kiwi crush, garnished with fresh ginger to give the otherwise sweet treat a slight zing.
Then came the garlic bread with Mozzarella cheese. It was appetising but not something that would make you want to go for more. There was a very generous amount of cheese on the bread – and the chef deserves applause for that alone.
From what seemed to be an encouraging start, we moved on to the entree. And as usual, my brother took a minute to click a few pictures while I impatiently jumped in. I started off with the California Crush as visually, it seemed more appealing. And boy, what a delight it was! The taste of hot sautéed mushrooms with the cream sauce mixed with Mozzarella cheese searing through your mouth with generous portions of chicken simply shouts “heaven in a bite”. After my very first bite, I thought this restaurant was one that had been understated and deserved an exceptional review.
While I thought nothing could top the California Crush, my brother and I stormed through to the Carne Picante, and suddenly my perceptions of an excellent pepperoni pizza (at least ones that I had eaten before heading here) completely changed.
Flavours burst with every bite we took. Garnished with beef, this pizza changes gear on your palate, making your taste buds cry for more. The joy was real, folks. I had never tasted a pepperoni pizza as good as this.
Unlike the Carne Picante and the California rush, the pasta didn’t seem to stand out and leave an impression on me. It tasted just like any regular Penne Alfredo. The white sauce was cooked a little longer than it should have been and the chicken was a little oily, making it heavier than I would have expected. Despite the flaws, the flavours of the Penne Alfredo came from generous portions of pasta, mushrooms and chicken.
Following these succulent courses, my brother and I suddenly found ourselves thirsty again. Hence, we ordered one final drink – the Plantter Cooler – a drink with a mix of orange and pineapple juices, strawberry syrup at the base, sugar syrup, and garnished with fresh ginger slices.
Overall, it was a fine dining experience. The pizzas and the drinks at Pizza Italiano are unique and worth every penny. It is a great place to have dinner with friends and family without burning a hole in your pocket.
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Authentic Italian pizzas and a service to match