Going against the whole grain

By Dimithri Wijesinghe

Pizza Bakery is the new pizza place at One Galle Face that’s introducing a brand-new concept to the pizza-consuming world – sourdough pizza. While it is a lot more popular in Europe and the Western hemisphere, our part of the world isn’t too acquainted with the idea.

According to Nikhil Gupta, co-founder of Pizza Bakery, an Indian company making their first foray into the Sri Lankan market with One Galle Face, shared: “If you have sourdough-base pizza you won’t be able to have other pizza dough again.” He also added that because it is so light and airy it is very easy to digest and it just isn’t as heavy as other types of dough, allowing you to avoid that after-bread heavy feeling in your stomach.

The restaurant is what Nikhil refers to as an upmarket pizzeria as they do serve other dishes while also maintaining a full bar (which currently serves only wine and beer, however, they are set to have cocktails and an assortment of spirits by the end of the month). While they may feature other foods, Pizza Bakery is first and foremost a pizza-focused eatery.

Since their star item is the sourdough pizza we had to give it a try. Before actually tasting it however we took a peak behind the scenes at the team at work. We spoke to Chef Arjuna Rajapaksha who revealed that while the staff are all locals, they received extended training from the team in India who came down and taught them the ropes on how their signature dish should be handled.

Chef Arjuna, a man of few words who was actually brought up in Kandy, has many years of experience working abroad in Australia, Maldives, and Singapore and his specialty is Italian cuisine and as such he felt as though this was pretty ideal for him.

We shadowed Chef Arjuna as he prepared our order of “baked crab pizza” with their famous sourdough base and we got an idea of how the dough itself is prepared and how Pizza Bakery is a just a little different from other pizzerias you may encounter.

Like Nikhil said, the sourdough is quite the unique item as they ferment it for 48 hours and hand stretch it to a rustic uneven shape – the shape being what we saw Chef achieve with his fancy pizza-chef-hand-work as he tossed the dough around in the air.

The oven that the restaurant uses is custom made, six feet tall, and is able to heat up to 500°C and they cook the pizza at 400°C.

As it is a budding restaurant chain with three outlets at present, the establishment is dedicated to being as meticulous as possible to maintain their signature taste and therefore all produce and ingredients are of high quality and are a combination of local and international products – the flour they use is 100% natural with no added enzymes, additives, or stabilisers and the tomatoes for the sauces are Roman tomatoes from the south of Italy.

As for our baked crab pizza, we can say that while of course it was delightful, it was more than anything a very different experience. Just only a few hours after having consumed the whole pizza, we can attest to the “easy to digest” part of Nikhil’s claims as we did not feel bloated at all and the crust was smooth and packed with flavor.

We were certainly not ready to take him on his word, but now having experienced it ourselves we have to say it’s quite a lovely experience. Considering that we all love pizza and that if we could we’d eat it all the time, this healthier and more comfortable option paves the way for a whole new pizza experience.

Strawberry cheesecake shake
This actually tasted like they blended an entire strawberry cheesecake to make a the most delicious shake; our chocolate-loving, strawberry-hating selves were shocked

Stuffed garlic bread with lamb ragu
We’ve not had stuffed garlic bread before so that was a treat on its own and the lamb ragu had a local spice feel to it which balanced out both stuffing in the crust – caramelised onions on one side and mozzarella on the other.
Truffle fries
Homemade black truffle aioli poured over perfect crunchy fries – need we say more?

PHOTOS: Eshan Dasanayaka