Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Uptown Craft: Rekindling A Taste For Food And Adventure

Standing Theory. Gee and Geek. Flingstones. The Coffee Sessions. Fork D World. Not having them around would take getting used to.

To say I was depressed when these venues folded is an understatement. It's enough to make me quit writing about food, even to scratch a mental itch.

With this cloud hanging above my head, I made my way through the evening rush-hour traffic to a pizza place at Damansara Uptown I learnt about online. Few things these days compel me to endure Klang valley traffic. But the days at work have been long of late and what better comfort food than a nice Italian roti cheese?

When it first opened, Pizza Craft had some brave offerings: dessert pizzas with ice cream, and toppings that included potatoes and kimchi - apparently in tune with the out-of-the-box ethos of master pizza chef Theo Kalogeracos, from Western Australia.

I guess the aspirational stage of the business had ebbed somewhat, judging from its now more conservative menu. Holdovers from those days include a salmon pizza and something with beef and blueberry jam. Nevertheless, I was piqued. But how to try more than one flavour?

The Grandma's Pizza, just like how your imaginary Italian granny makes it

The pakcik who was the manager on duty when I dropped by said I could take advantage of the "two-box" offer to order two small pizzas. Vito Corleone couldn't have done a better deal.

When my pizzas were ready, though, the staff started packing them into boxes. In my haste and hunger, I'd forgotten to tell them I was dining in. Pizza Craft has its own delivery service for the Uptown area, but they tied up with Foodpanda and HonestBee for longer distances.

I can't remember which pizza hit the table first. I haven't had a decent one in months and the sight of a thin-crust platter of dough, its layer of tomato sauce blanketed by gooey cheese and one's choice of toppings, emanating that fresh-out-of-the-oven melange of aromas...

For meat lovers and trolls under bridges, this Billy Goat will be a treat

The mere proximity of the warm slice near my lips nearly caused a spit tsunami. Swallowing, I dug in.

The hearty Billy Goat, with its chunks of still-moist slow-roasted Australian lamb, rubbed in rosemary and in-house seasoning, is a must for lamb aficionados. It even came with a wedge of lime and small cup of mint sauce.

The thing called Grandma's Pizza is less complicated, yet satisfyingly delicious. Roasted garlic, basil (they could add more of that, though - should I bring my own?), red sauce and cheese. As a rule of thumb, I always pick a basic pie at a new pizza joint. You'd have to be a crappy pizza chef to screw up something so simple.

What's better when you're hungry than a wedge of Italian roti cheese?

Surrounded by the scent of baking pizzas, I felt there's still hope for the world - and the local food scene. Then all that crashed when I saw that only one slice remained. All good things must come to an end.

Unless they start again, that is.

Just several days later, I returned to Pizza Craft with Sam and Wendy, where we tried more flavours. Little Rita was an even more basic version of Grandma's and just as good; the Smokey BBQ Chicken, was so nice I ignored that it also had pineapple; and the Meatball Capital (crumbled Italian meatball, cherry tomatoes and red onions with BBQ sauce), because I messed up the order. Wendy was interested in the Billy Goat after reading my glowing description of it on Instagram.

Clockwise from top: Little Rita, Smoky BBQ Chicken, and Meatball Capital

I also liked the Peri Chicken: grilled chicken, roasted red peppers with peri hot sauce, oregano and parsley - a tad spicy, but quite good. Pizza Craft claims that they churn the dough fresh each day, and it shows in the taste and mouthfeel. I wasn't too interested in their pastas - why have pasta at a pizza joint?

All things considered, I'm grateful I found a reason to brave the evening rush-hour traffic again.

Pizza Craft
28, Jalan SS21/39
Damansara Uptown
Petaling Jaya



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