When it comes to pizza, the battle for the hearts and minds (and stomachs) of the Time Out
office has always had two sides: the fancy pants gourmet pizza stylings of Gung Ho!
and the guilty pleasure grease fests of Annie’s
. But now there’s a new contender on the battlefield, and it’s packing some seriously heavy artillery.
Owned by Italian chef Fabrizio Montori, Pizza Plus boasts the ‘forest’ (20RMB per slice, 64RMB for a 13 inch ‘round’ pizza), a heady concoction that, if the proud to bursting menu is to be trusted, won the 2011 Pizza World Championships. It’s not hard to see why: with juicy chunks of salsiccia, crunchy walnuts, tasty mushrooms and mozzarella, and extraordinarily generous dollops of truffle, it’s a fragrant, rich – yet not too heavy on the palate – combination, and one of the best pizzas we’ve had in the city.
You’ll notice the lack of tomato there, and with good reason: Montori’s tomato base – imported from Italy – is a knockout, and would threaten to overpower his more subtle flavours.
Fans of the red stuff might want to swing towards the ‘spicy super’ (15RMB/ 46RMB), with its tasty circles of flavour packed salami and hot chilli peppers, and the ‘four seasons’ (15RMB/46RMB), which balances tomato with tremendously tasty ham, salsiccia and artichoke pieces.
Other highlights include the spinach and ricotta (18RMB/54RMB) and the chocolatey ‘Nutella sweet’ (20RMB/64RMB), both of which come served pseudo calzone style, with the toppings sandwiched between two layers of chef Montori’s gorgeously crisp and crunchy base.
Actually, almost everything Pizza Plus offers is fabulous, with only the eggplant pizza (15RMB/46RMB) proving a bit of a bland miss. And thanks to their decision to sell pizza by the slice – a common sight in the West but a revolution for Beijing – it’s neither expensive nor a chore to experiment. Especially if you go with friends and divide the slices up between you, then wash them down with the small gaggle of European beers: Maredsous, Erdinger (both 25RMB) and Moretti (20RMB).
But here’s the crux of the issue: while Pizza Plus is best experienced with friends, the actual dining area is awfully cramped (especially now winter has made hanging around outside unpalatable), and while the delivery service is pleasingly swift and polite, the 13 inch (or 13 foot, if you believe the typo on the menu) round based delivery pizzas are doughier, chewier and less pleasingly crisp than the sister slices you’ll buy in house.
Plus, those who’ve become accustomed to ordering desserts and salads with competitors may be put off by Pizza Plus’s single minded devotion to the pie. Still, there’s plenty of time for Pizza Plus to improve and expand, if it so chooses. In the meantime, we’ll be tucking in at the best new pizza joint in town.
Deliveries available within 3km for a minimum order of 50RMB.