More than ever we love a pizza which is drool worthy. But aren’t we all bored of the same trailing margheritas, cheesy bursts, thin crust, veggie overload and the works? Well, most of us are and the word ‘pizza’ gets nauseating furthermore when someone screams, “ AH MA GAWD cheesy pizza sssssss”

Well, how does one react to an email invite in this scenario when it boldly reads, ‘Pizzas from our kitchen are the best’. I take a minute break from my shoot (for an upcoming youtube video-recipe), reply in negation two words- ‘No Thanks’ and return to do my own stuff.

A few hours later, after a sweaty day in this sveltering heat (more added by the kitchen heat and the studio lights) I get my phone back in hand to see 14 missed calls from the restaurant coordinator. As much as I feel like picking the phone and giving some gyaan, I avoided. Came home, took a shower, had my dinner and got back to do some work and sleep.

Next morning, I find another text, convincing and coaxing to give the pizza one chance and not just pass it off as just another pizza. I finally gave in and drove down the very next afternoon before heading to a few meetings.

I reach Phoenix, Lower Parel and breeze straight into Californian Pizza Kitchen, next to Hamley’s20150925_151109-01_resized

The menu looks elaborate, especially the pizza section. One thing that one wouldn’t miss to notice is the use of some 12-15 sauces and not just a common base of tomato sauce. Now, this is a clear winner to begin my trail.

But, hold your breath. What excited me more than anything was a sign in front of a few names. It read, ‘H&C’. Chef Nilesh, with whom I’ve worked in the past, drops in to say a hello. He informs us that it means – Hot and Cold. He goes on, “The Idea of Hot and cold is a culinary creation on a pizza which gives you a different mouth-feel while having the pizza, definitely imparts the experience of having a pizza which is cold.

He continues, “Topped with a salad like topping in turn we try and engage our consumers’ senses in both the experiences (hot and cold) at the same time.”20150925_151246-01_resized

I requested for all three in smaller portions, but unfortunately he couldn’t manage due to its different bases The Tostada pizza was crisp tortilla spread with black bean sauce, cheddar and fontina cheese blend and baked. Upon baking its topped with a mixture of romaine and Iceberg lettuce with their signature ranch dressing drizzled, fried tortilla chips. The roasted tomato salsa on the side is such a delight and much required along with the gooey topper. I am glad, we made the right choice. This went brilliantly well with their perfectly sweet and sharp-sour Kiwi Mojito.

20150925_144340-01_resizedNext we tried the Greek Pizza. The pizza base in this case was topped and baked with mild garlic olive oil, grated mozzarella, which came with an option of cottage cheese topping, too. The hot baked base is then topped with a chilled Greek salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette, drizzled with Tzatziki sauce and crumbled feta cheese. Wow. Simply.

One smart thing that we did was that we ordered the California Club along with the Greek Pizza as a half and half option, where both toppings came together on the same base. The California Club is their take on the classic club sandwich in a pizza form. The pizza base is cooked with mozzarella cheese, bacon and chicken. Later, topped with a chilled mix of shredded lettuce, guacamole and fresh tomato dices. This was sensuousness in each bite. We were drooling. The concept of having a pizza had a new meaning to us.20150925_145917-01_resized

My final notes on the concept; H&C pizza is a much healthier option, since the proportion of cheese is less, which usually has a reputation of not being a healthy ingredient on a pizza. The cold part of the pizza is designed in a way that it does not drastically reduce the temperature of the pizza base. This actually is a potentially complete meal consisting of a pizza and a salad (both complementing each other).

CPK hits the bull’s eye with H&C. Start informing your guests is all I would recommend, because many like me would have missed this ‘regular’ feature on your menu.

For once, I now know why the coordinator called me 14 times. Thank you for being so adamant and coaxing me to venture out, out of my crazy schedule.Love, V