Their vegetarian platter of eight bite-sized pizza disks with different cheeses and toppings is best left on the menu only and shouldn’t make an entry on your table…
Ours is a group of pizza gluttons and I am sure, a lot of you would be trying to identify with us. The craving for biting into freshly made dough, oozing cheese and topped with exotic ingredients is almost perennial and extremely hard to control. When this happens, we usually think of California Pizza Kitchen. Before our last visit to the place, we had bestowed it the honour of making the finest pizzas, atleast in Mumbai. I was quite painful to realise that even they could go wrong, terribly wrong with it.
Last Friday was one of those days when you are dying to be out of office and indulge in the weekend revelries. The most important thing on our minds was food. We really wanted to shell out some money and treat our happiness-deprived souls with mouthfuls of cheesy, crusty goodness. And so, we thought of going to our favourite haunt, California Pizza Kitchen, which is inside the High Street Phoenix in Lower Parel, Mumbai.
It was around 8pm and so the place was relatively less populated. Generally, during weekends you have invariably wait for sometime atleast, before you get a table because it is thriving with gourmands, foodies, gluttons and all those who love to indulge in good food, surrounded by a beautiful ambience and pleasant music.
We got a table as soon as we entered, that too, a corner one, near a large glass facade which overlooks a section of the mall area. One of our friends was feeling a bit under the weather so we called for a veg soup for her and the rest of us had a few sips of beer. At first, we were quite surprised to see that there were only two options for soups, one veg and the other non-veg, so we didn’t have any choice but to call for whatever was there. But this is okay, considering it is more of a pizza place and pizza plus soup combo doesn’t sound very enticing. The soup was a thick concoction and tasted very similar to that gravy potato and peas subzi which our moms make at home when there is nothing else to cook. Strange.
Next we called for our favourite fusilli tossed in olive oil with sundried tomatoes and broccoli, without any sauce. Believe me, if you like your pastas light and appetising, you should totally go for this. They do a really good job with making this. There was also some spaghetti in tomato and basil sauce, with garlic, on our table which was also nicely made.
For the pizzas, while we were going through their menu, our eyes met with a placard placed on the table which suggested their new dish. It is a veg platter for 599 bucks and you can choose eight different slices of pizzas from the ten or eleven mentioned there. So, we left our Margareta, and ordered for a veg platter. There is also a non-veg option, which is for around a hundred bucks extra.
We had finished the rest of the food on our table when the platter arrived. There were eight tiny disks of dough, topped with different cheeses and veggies. But not even a single looked inviting. Usually their pizzas make an inner music which just compels you to devour mouthfuls of them, but nothing exciting was happening with those disks.
It was a moment of tragedy when we took our first bite. The dough was bad and it left a frown on our faces. This was true for almost all those disks on our platter – half-heartedly baked dough. The flavour of the combination of toppings and cheeses they had put on each, was a mood spoiler. We absolutely liked nothing from the platter and were really disgusted because we had dared to try something new at our favourite joint and had failed miserably.
Those disks just spoilt our evening and we were hoping to stuff ourselves with something else to kill that awful taste it left on our palates. If the management or chefs at California Pizza Kitchen are reading this, please do something about it. Your place is one of our favourites, and we genuinely don’t want it to go down on our list of the best places to eat in Mumbai.