A Visit with Mom
When it comes to pizza I’m a traditionalist.
For me，pizza is Italian first; Neapolitan second. I’m looking for pepperoni, salami, olives, mushrooms, anchovies, capers, artichokes, fresh basil but above all buffalo mozzarella and perfect tomatoes. I’m looking for Pizza Margherita, Quattro Stagioni, Marinara, Quattro Formaggi, Diavola, Napoletana. I’ll even go for Roman pizza cut in squares.
So, when October arrived with a rash of new pizza places popping up all over the place, each decked out in the colours of the Italian flag, for an eighth of a second I thought “Great!”
Then I remembered where I was.
The first I noticed to open was Mom Pizza which is but a pizza-shaped frisbee throw from my home. I took me a while to get round to trying it out. I first tried a takeaway one night when I got home late. But, this week, my trusty restaurant checking out companion (RCC) and I finally made it to eat in.
First thing to say is that the place is tiny. My bedroom is bigger. But they have managed to squeeze a couple of tables in downstairs beside the counter and kitchen and built a mezzanine floor which holds a miraculous 7 tables, each table being for two diners. This ain’t a banquet place.
The ‘kitchen’ is about the size of my toilet but managed to hold a staff of six on our visit. They were tripping over each other to try to serve the four diners in the place (including RCC and I). We were handed a menu, although it is already written above our heads on a blackboard. On my first visit, the same guy handed me what he imagined was an English translation of the pizza menu – it was a poorly translated list of teas.
They do now have an improved, but not perfect English menu. Here is (my revision of) the pizza section. They also do steaks, pasta, snacks and various drinks.
Spot the Pizza Margherita, Quattro Stagioni, Marinara, Quattro Formaggi, Diavola, Napoletana? No. Me neither.
They claim to sell “Italian handmade pizza” but seem to think Hawaii, America, Germany, Thailand and Hokkaido are Italian. What they really sell is pizza with Chinese characteristics. Durian Pizza? RCC is of the Chinese persuasion and she can’t believe it either. I’m sorry to say I did not do you all the favour of testing them. Some things you are going to have to do by yourselves. We shared a Classic Bacon Pizza instead.
The pizzas are assembled to order (unlike the shit in Pizza Hut which is imported pre-assembled and frozen from Guangzhou) then cooked on a small conveyor belt type pizza oven. This means they can only do one at a time, so if the place is busy, you are going to have to wait. And if we order two pizzas, one of us will be finished before the other starts.
The other problem is that those ovens just aren’t hot enough. The pizzas are a bit limp and never have that char around the edge which is so essential. 500ºC is needed.
I watched the assembly station for a while on my first visit. I couldn’t see any pepperoni, salami, olives, mushrooms, anchovies, capers, artichokes, fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella or perfect tomatoes.
There was a pre-prepared tomato sauce (which they may or may not have made themselves – I forgot to ask) , some pre-grated anonymous cheese. And lots of corn kernels! It is written in the Chinese Constitution that all pizzas must contain corn. Disgusting stuff. But there may be a god after all – I saw no pineapple. (I love pineapple but the idiot who first thought it would be a fine addition to a pizza deserves degradation to the deepest degree.)
Our pizza finally arrives…
…and we are given plastic gloves with which to hygienically pick up the triangles they have somewhat over-enthusiastically cut the thing into. No doubt because it was Halloween night, one of the gloves came with six fingers!
“So how was the pizza?”, I hear you ask. It was fine in its way – a bit bland and you could taste the musty notes of dried herbs in the tomato sauce, but it was OK. I really wanted to take it home and pimp it up with some pepperoni, salami, olives, mushrooms, anchovies, capers, artichokes, fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella and perfect tomatoes, but I was enjoying the company and enjoying that someone else would do the washing up.
I will go back. That is a recommendation in my book.
From 11:00 to 16:00, pizzas are approximately half price.
P.S. After pizza we went round the corner to a very newly opened (as in this week) yoghurt bar for dessert. I found the yoghurt over-sweet but the woman in the shop was very friendly. She even went for a walk and asked us to look after her shop while she was gone!
RCC enjoyed her pizza and yoghurt so much that she walked halfway home before remembering that she had gone to the restaurant on her e-bike. Fortunately she lives relatively near the place, too.
Mom Pizza (and the yoghurt bar) is on San Zhong Road (三中路) next to the Communist Party HQ (市委). This is also the name of the bus stop served by numbers 5, 6, 19, 24, 31 etc.
P.P.S. The best pizzas I ever ate outside of Italy were, of all places, here in Liuzhou. Years ago we had the excellent Pizzeria. Their pizzas were top class. No one went. Then we had Café Shining which had a real wood fired oven and served stunning pizzas. No one went. Yet they line up for Pizza Shit?