CLOSED. Chef Hiran has opened another pizza joint – Zazz Pizza.
Like every other Singaporean, I am always on the look out for “Good and Cheap” food. I always say that there is only one thing better than finding really good food and that is finding good food that is also friendly on the wallet! Singaporeans are attracted to such “lobangs” (good deals) like hogs to truffles!
When I first visited Crosta a few weeks back. It was neither very cheap nor very good. It was ok and almost the same price as the pizzas you would find at the Italian restaurants. But I knew that this hole-in-the-wall had potential. They already have a chef owner who has been making pizzas around the world for the last 21 years and they have already built a wood fired pizza oven. What is there to stop him from making this father of two children who are always hankering for pizza, a very happy man?
So I suggested that Chef Hiran do a few things. First, stop playing around with pizza dough that is rolled out using a rolling pin and start stretching some serious napoletana style pizza by hand. Second, make the price so attractive that I would think twice about making my own. It’s really a very simple formula. The first part turns the pizza from average to good and the second turns it from average to cheap. Good and Cheap! Now we are talking!
Although it lacks the sexy leopard spots of a Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN), the new pizza crust is a huge improvement over the one I last tasted. It is made with Italian 00 flour and left to rise for 6 hours before it’s punched down and left to ferment overnight. It is then stretched by hand and baked in the 280 degree C wood fired oven for 4mins. It won’t qualify for VPN status but it is as good if not better than 90% of the pizzas I have eaten at Italian restaurants here in Singapore. The crust is light and has a good snap. It does lack the moist chewy interior of a pizza baked at a higher temperature but it is the kind that would appeal to the local palate.
Hiran has also reworked the menu with a selection of pizzas. I tried the Vittoria which has bacon, spicy sausages, buffalo mozzarella, rucola and a half cooked egg on top. It’s a good combination and I like the fact that he uses authentic Italian buffalo mozzarella.
The buffalo margherita pizza is also very good, although purists (like myself) would baulk at the addition of sliced tomotoes and chopped basil in olive oil. It’s easily fixed though though.
The best way to eat the pizza is to have it fresh from the oven. That means, you and a friend should go there, order two pizzas for $22 and just eat it off the pizza box while standing along the HDB corridor. They also do delivery but it would be a “buy two get one free” deal instead of a 1 for 1. There is also a delivery charge of $5 for orders below $50.
Authentic wood fired Italian style pizza for $11! (2 for 1 takeaway) It’s really a Good and Cheap way to satisfy that pizza craving! Hopefully, it will up the game and put some price pressure on other pizza places in town!
if he has been a chef making paizza for 21 years, then why does he need advice from you?
He might know how to make a pizza, but he doesn’t understand the market. I did not teach him to make a pizza. I simple told him what the general public would want.
Makes me think the next menu at my supper club in Barcelona should be pizza! Always welcome at http://www.papaserra.com if you are in town Dr Leslie 🙂
The whole VPN thing is such marketing hype. I have had VPN pizza in New York City, San Francisco and “the motherland” Napoli, sure it is good, but at the end of the day it is just a way to the restaurant to charge an extra 5 to 10 dollars for bread, cheese and tomatoes. Especially in New York City, many chefs have stopped trying to win over their customers with badges and accolades and instead just focus on making the best food they can. Places like Best Pizza, Paulie Gees, Roberta’s and Margot’s Pizza, are amazing and could easily compete with some of the best pizza in the country. I don’t know where you, Dr. Tay, stand on Hawkers “touting”, but to me showing off a VPN certification is just a “nicer” version of touting.
VPN helps to bring up the standards of pizza in a city like Singapore where there was no strong pizza culture.
I just think focusing on what tastes delicious is what is important rather than judging based on authenticity.
“it is just a way to the restaurant to charge an extra 5 to 10 dollars for bread, cheese and tomatoes”
you make it sound so simple. bread cheese and tomatoes only? is that a grilled cheese sandwich?
you can have the most delicious pizza in the world but if no one knows about it, it will never be eaten. what a shame it would be.
That is true, you COULD have the most delicious pizza and no one could know about it, but that is a non sequitur. Unless, you mean that VPN status is touting for advertisement’s sake. Which just goes back to my original point of just getting the status for the sake of selling pizza at a higher price point.
Pizza really is just good bread, good tomatoes, and good cheese. You can’t make a truly great pizza if one of those elements is not great. True, there must be talent in the pizzaiolo (pizza maker), but I think any pizzaiolo would tell you it all starts with the best ingredients.
Focus on making the best quality food and the people will come. Sites like this one prove just that.
It seems like chef Hiran is no longer there (according to the delivery guy, as I remembered ordering with the chef on a previous occasion). The current chef makes the pizza pretty well still, but the toppings on the pizza have decreased significantly.