Pizzas and Calzones, the quintessential Italian food achieves gourmet status in the kitchens of Prego, Westin at their ongoing food festival. We had a little tête-à-tête with Chef Maitreya Sen before we could dig into the amazingly delicious pizzas (the menu already had us drooling!!). The menu has been designed from his experiences of working with Classic Italian chefs during his tours of Italy giving each dish a little twist of its own. He further explains that when ordering a Calzone, one might expect the usual half-moon shaped dish but an element of surprise awaits once it arrives.
Now that had us excited. For a person who sometimes loves simplistic toppings on pizza, I really can’t keep myself away from a good Margherita Pizza. It is one of the easiest, heavenly and also hardest comfort Pizzas to get right. And the flavors were bang on for the Pizza Pomodorini. The Marinara base was perfectly seasoned and the twist by Chef Maitreya were the addition of Cherry Tomatoes as toppings which give short bursts on the upper palate with each bite. The Bocconcini melts all over and the Basil gives it that necessary freshness.
The La Pizza Secchi Pesto Di Pomodoro has a base sauce of sundried tomato pesto and finished off with Mozzarella, Artichokes, Olives and Bocconcini. The artichokes give it a mild smoky, nutty flavor but the freshness of the pesto could be a bit more intensified. After having the Pizza Pomodorini, this had a hard time following in the former’s taste-steps.
Calzones have always been a favorite. I mean Pizza dough with lots of stuffing of meats and cheese. Can anything sound even more heavenly? The Stromboli Pollo is a turnover with minced chicken, mascarpone, thyme and olives sealed in and fried. The filling was scrumptious but a little more mascarpone could have done wonders. The tangy hit of the Olives in certain places with every bite is absolute delish.
Now sneaking it’s way into the menu at the Pizza and Calzone festival are the lovely bits of Baked Ravioli Aperti. To understand the beauty of the Baked Ravioli, you’ll have to put yourself in a situation. A glass of the finest wine has been uncorked by the pool and you are one of those no fuss kind of eaters. The Baked Ravioli Aperti arrives and you put one of it in your mouth. The crunch and crackle of the Ravioli Base and the freshness of the open toppings, that’s what you call perfect company. The Raviolis have a range of toppings which include Garlic Chili Shrimp, Crab Avocado and Smoked Salmon.
The Big Daddy of all pizzas on the menu was the Gli Amanti Della Carne Di Pizza, a meat lover’s delight. If you are that carnivore of all things meat, then this should be right up your alley. Lamb, Ham, Chorizo, Chicken, Tomato and Mozzarella (Phew!) is what awaits you with each bite. It’s so ‘molto delizioso’ that every hit on your palate is like thanking heavens for giving us meat on our plates. Chef Maitreya has done wonders with this pizza and it’s a whole meal in itself. If it’s the Pizza Pomodorini for the vegetarians, then the non-vegetarians should order this blind-folded.
Everytime the mention of a double-crusted pizza and the thought wanders off to the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, which the Doppia La Pizza Crosta is not. It’s what the Pizzaiolos in Italy call a “Surprise Pizza”. Surprise in the pizza being that you never know what is going be the filling inside. But the Double Crust Pizza Pie at Westin packs in a delightful filling of broccoli, artichokes, olives, jalapenos and sundried tomatoes.
Chef Maitreya has done a wonderful job at creating a menu so exquisite. Good gourmet pizzas are hard to come by in the city and this is brings in the welcome change. His vast experience speaks through the menu and craftsmanship with the wood-fired oven.
The Pizzas And Calzones Festival is on at Prego from 19th – 30th June. Till then Ciao and a cheesy goodbye.
Address: Prego, Westin Hotel, Mindspace, HITEC City, Hyderabad, Telangana
Phone: 040 6767 6828