Sat, Aug 17, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Restaurant review: Pizza Has a Face

This new pizzeria serves up respectable New York-style pie with flair

By Davina Tham  /  Staff reporter

Red, white and green-faced 12-inch pizzas feed a crowd. The tomato-based Django features fennel sausage, pickled jalapeno peppers and rosemary.

Photo: Davina Tham, Taipei Times

Freshly opened just two weeks ago, this new kid on the block has already generated significant buzz for delicious pizzas in a chic-casual setting. On the day of my visit, the speakers were piping out American country tunes by way of a Japanese radio station — an eclectic combination, offering a clue to this pizzeria’s aspiration toward Asian-mediated Americana.

Pizza Has a Face’s 12-inch thin-crust pies may be more New York than Naples, but the menu is nonetheless organized around the tricolor Italian flag.

Red-faced pizzas have a tomato base and include the classic marinara (NT$200) and margherita, known here as the Brooklyn (NT$280). The punchy tomato sauce stands up well to assertive toppings, such as the Django’s (NT$450) fennel sausage, pickled jalapeno peppers and rosemary. The combination is spicy, funky and almost reminiscent of a Thai curry.

White-faced pizzas eschew the tomato for mozzarella and the occasional provolone, resulting in combinations such as the Triceratops (NT$480) with Brussels sprouts, mushroom and salami; and the Breakfast Club (NT$360) with egg and bacon.

Green-faced pizzas are slathered with a garlicky and herby pesto, which does a better job of complementing delicately flavored topppings like the squid and shrimp on the Moby Dick (NT$480).

Among the green pizzas is one of the most well-balanced and satisfying vegetarian versions I’ve had — the Black Friar (NT$420), topped with creamy mozzarella, sweet caramelized onion, zucchini and dabs of fresh ricotta, all punctuated with bursts of tart grilled grapes.

These pies are cooked in an electric pizza oven. Puritans may insist that any pizzeria worth its salt uses a wood-fired one, but I’m open to possibilities as long as the crust turns out charred and blistered, as it does here. Points are also given for the amount of thought given to the interaction of dough, toppings and cut of the pizza.

Pizza Has a Face

Address: 28, Yanping N Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市延平北路二段28號)

Telephone: (02) 2555-7759

Open: Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:30am to 10pm

Average meal: NT$400

Details: Menu in Chinese and English

On the net:

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of dough texture to a pizza. Here there are distinct differences depending on the toppings. Drier toppings go on a thicker dough that has a familiar raised edge. But saucier and heavier toppings are contrasted with a crust that’s flat all through to the edges, with more crunch than chew.

That also means things can get a little soggy in the middle. A connoisseur could write a thesis about the ideal angle of droop at the tip of a New York-style pizza, but here the restaurant simply acknowledges that heavily-loaded pizzas like the Django are better sliced into squares than triangles, and eaten with knives and forks.

Parmesan potato wedges (NT$150) are the only sides on offer — a signal to concentrate on the pizzas — and for diners on-the-go or petite eaters, the marinara and margherita are also available by the slice (NT$150).

A selection of beers is dominated by the homegrown Alechemist label, giving diners a chance to try unusually flavored brews such as the Tana Jade (NT$220) with prickly ash; Valencia Ale (NT$220) with local Valencia oranges and coriander seed; and a pineapple India pale ale (NT$220).

There’s a strong sense of aesthetics and branding, evident from an eye-catching neon sign facing the road to the logo T-shirts worn by the all-millennial service staff, which diners can buy for a cool NT$650.

Good food — the reason for a restaurant’s existence — can often get lost amid the bells and whistles. I’m happy to report that in this case, pizza doesn’t just have a face, it also has the culinary chops to match.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top