Eating Out

Wooing us with pizza

June 19 -25, 2019

Gulf Weekly Stan Szecowka
By Stan Szecowka

Gulf Weekly Wooing us with pizza

THIS is one assignment I’ve been waiting months to savour … in fact, ever since attending the opening of the new outlet of one of my favourite coffee establishments back in March.

During the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony they dished out little tempting slices of sensational savoury pizza and I marked it down as a ‘must do’ eating out review.

Finally my moment of destiny arrived and as a pre-Father’s Day family gathering, the good lady wife, Kathryn, pushed Stan Jnr in the back seat of the car (he was recovering from a post GCSE exam party) and we drove off to Crust & Crema’s stylish Seef outlet.

We were welcomed by Chorok (pronounced Cho-rock which is totally different to what I’ve been calling him for the years I’ve known him) Cyrus Woo, director of this celebrated roaster, café and bakery business.

As reported earlier, this tasty addition to the operation gives a twist to the ‘crust’ element of the Crust & Crema name as a new Neapolitan oven has been installed to bake a range of home-made sour-dough light, yeast-free pizzas.

All the Italian-style favourites, such as Margarita, colourful Veggie and Pepperoni are included in the choices, but the talking point has been the creation of two toppings only available at this venue.

The Kimchi features a spicy homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella and Kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes.

I have become a very big fan of this offering which adds a delicate chili kick and a crunch to the pizza experience.

However, the big talking point is the Crust & Crema Special, served either spicy or non-spicy, featuring marinated beef. Just not any old marinated beef, marinated with a secret Woo recipe. Divine texture and it’s clear why it’s Crust & Crema Seef’s signature dish.

Known in Korea as ‘bulgogi’ which in English means ‘fire meat’ which is a fair translation as these marinated slices of beef are grilled on a barbecue or on a stove-top griddle. Sirloin, rib eye or brisket are frequently used cuts of beef for the dish.

Another hot piece of conversation is the pizza oven itself which took the patience of a saint to arrive following broken part issues and transportation angst but now it’s really cookin’ in more ways than one.

The dull grey exterior was freshened up with a bright white splash of paint and video game fan Chorok decided to give it an added Italian flavour by introducing a touch of Super Mario inspiration.

The games follow Mario’s adventures, typically in the fictional Mushroom Kingdom with Mario as the player character. A Super Mushroom is a red mushroom that serves a particular function depending on the game so now the pizza oven has been painted to look like one and, of course, who doesn’t like a slice of mushroom on a pizza?

The problem is, the sparkling pizza oven is now the hot topic of debate over whether it looks more like a ladybird than a mushroom. Readers, please note, ladybirds have black spots!

Either way, the pizzas delivered by Chef Roland Cahatian are outstanding with prices ranging from BD3.500 to BD4.900.

Famed for its in-house roasted coffee, breakfasts, cakes and gourmet desserts, Crust and Crema became a welcome addition to the culinary scene at Galleria Mall in Zinj in 2016.

Its original outlet in Saar closed as a result of parking, maintenance and operational issues and the fact that it was surrounded by shisha cafés.

The Woos went in search of new premises and were delighted to find the answer to their dreams at the recently-built Sanyan Residence in Seef. It is in such a superb spacious location boasting a mezzanine floor, plus easy parking outside and to get there you swing left at the lights, instead of right heading for the malls.

Another unique offering are bowls of Acai, a Brazilian super-food. Grown wild on the banks of the Amazon in abundance, farmers now sustainably harvest and sell it Fairtrade with no negative impacts on the environment.

Sold as a sorbet, it’s bursting with antioxidants, and is also blended with fruit if preferred. One tropical bowl even comes with peanut butter, fruit and a hint of chocolate.

But the coffee reigns supreme, which started another debate on our table. Stan Jnr, who is used to drinking the bitter stuff from multi-national chain outlets, was convinced to try it without heaps of sugar. Sure enough, it was good enough with milk alone. A sweet lesson learned.

Try for yourself by calling at this superb eating out venue and the pizza can be home delivered too by contacting 17214155.

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