Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza

Don’t be fooled by the name. The real star here is the burrata caprese—rich, refreshing, and primal—the essence of Capri on a plate.

The burrata is homemade, its outer curd of fresh mozzarella bursting with cream and kesong puti. It had a little more body than most of the burrata’s I’ve tried but it was perfectly seasoned, and beautifully served on a bed of aromatic pesto and ringed by slices of cherry tomatoes. It alone was worth the trip to Katipunan. But why stop there, right?

Thankfully, the pizza did not disappoint. We ordered three kinds—the buffalo chicken, Bianca verde, and SMEGG.

My favorite was the Bianca verde, with olive oil, kesong puti, ricotta, Parmesan, basil and arugula. I liked the way the creaminess of the cheese mingled with the spiciness of the arugula.

What makes pizza, however, is the crust. And I am happy to note that the dough at Gino’s delivers. The crust was crisp, chewy and charred, with a smokiness that can only achieved with a brick oven. I loved the blistered edges, although I would have wanted a little more air, like the puffed up crust as Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza in Singapore.

The pizza fillings were spare with the number of ingredients but generous with the amount. Fresh out of the oven, they were soggy in the middle like other Neapolitan-style pies so the best way to enjoy them is to roll the wedge from the pointy end and cut or bite across.

The kids enjoyed the buffalo chicken (tomato sauce, mozzarella, buffalo chicken, blue cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano). It was deliciously piquant and went quite well with the spicy honey, one of the condiments at the table (my nephew, Joaki, however thought that honey on pizza was so wrong).

Gino's Spicy Honey

We also ordered two pastas—the carbonara and bacon sausage. They were good; you can tell that the noodles were fresh. But I didn’t think they were outstanding. A friend suggested we order the salted egg pasta next time. And there will be a next visit because I have my eye on the bacon Gouda and BOMB pizza.

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