Food review: Pizzeria Mozza
Pizzeria Mozza is owned by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, whose food we tried at The Great Food Festival recently. Naturally, we were excited to try out their food.
We were pleasantly surprised by how good the complimentary bread from Pizzeria Mozza was. Rather than providing breadsticks or slices of bread, we were served thin crust "bread" that was topped with parmesan cheese and thyme.
It was flavourful, savoury and, most importantly, crispy. A really lovely way to whet our appetite.
Mussels al forno with salsa Calabrese
The mussels surprised us with just how tender they were - we have never eaten mussels with a texture like this. Mussels cooked anywhere else will forever be spoilt for me and feel rubbery.
And because the mussels were fresh, there was no trace of fishiness at all. Paired with the amazing white wine broth/sauce, the mussels were divine.
Then, of course, you sink your teeth into the bread and salsa Calabrese (which is a sort of garlic mayonnaise blended with Italian chillies) and you fall in love with the crisp textures and great flavours. The complexity of the white wine sauce goes well with this - just dip the bread into it and enjoy!
Fried pig’s ears with salsa Calabrese
Fried pig's ears might turn some off, but perhaps tasting this dish will change your mind about it. The pig's ears, which is basically cartilage and collagen, is perfectly battered, seasonsed and deep-fried.
The dish is served steaming hot, and for good reason. Take a bite and you're guaranteed to be in amazement. There's a crunch in the cartilage but even more stunning is the explosion of collagen as your teeth sink in.
That's right - the heat of the dish causes the gelatin/collagen surrounding the cartilage to be almost liquid. It's almost like a "healthier" version of eating deep fried lard (if you're into that sort of thing).
With the seasoning, salsa Calabrese and such amazing textures, this dish is sure to impress. Spam fries and truffle fries, move over, this is the best of high-class "junk food".
Buricotta with peperonata, Taggiasche olive & oregano
Well you absolutely have to eat pizza as the main course at a Pizzeria. We started our main dishes with a cheese topping I've never encountered - "Buricotta".
Buricotta is similar to buratta (which is Italian mozzarella stuffed with cream) in that it's fresh Italian mozzarella stuffed with more cheese, in this case ricotta. What you end up with is a chewy and stringy cheese that's also crumbly and slightly creamy. It's confusing for the senses initially - why is my crumbly cheese also stretching out like mozzarella? Still a really cool topping all the same.
Together with the peperonata (sweet bell peppers cooked in olive oil) and olives, the dish is a good mix of savoury and sweet. The oregano makes a distinct appearance here too, and there's a tinge of bitter aftertaste after eating the buricotta.
We were concerned at first by the bitter aftertaste of the pizza. But it actually rounds up the dish nicely and prevents it from getting too rich (from the creamy ricotta).
Spanner crab with panna, garlic, chili padi, dried Sicilian & fresh oregano
This was certainly my favourite pizza of the day. The spanner crab, together with the medley of herbs and chilli, really brings out the best of the pizza and it's crispy thin crust.
Because the pizza is baked in large wood-fire ovens, the crust is crispy and light. None of that doughey, gooey stuff here, thank you very much. Then you have the umami-laden spanner crab that just brings the awareness of just how good the crust is to your senses.
I really believe chilli brings out flavours, and the use of chilli padi here is brilliant. You end up with a warm flavour in your mouth as you sample the garlic, panna (cream sauce), and amazing oregano together with the crab and cheese.
There's not much more to say about this pizza other than eat it.
Fennel sausage with panna, red onion & scallions
It's telling when the least favourite dish of a meal is still pretty good and, at the very least, intriguing to the tongue.
The highlight of this pizza surely is the use of fennel as both a flavouring and amazing accompaniment to the sausage. If you've never eaten fennel before, it's basically a herb with a strong licorice flavour. It's a distinctive and refreshing taste.
The Italian sausage consists of the meat from a sausage (with its casing removed) and then fried, so you can expect it to be savoury and flavourful. The minty licorice in the fennel balances out the gamey flavour of the sausage, so you get a meaty dish that's not overwhelming.
You also get the sweetness of the red onions and scallions and the creaminess of the panna (cream) sauce, together with the tasty cheese they use. It's a good dish with an interesting taste profile for meat-lovers for sure.