“Healthy” is not often, in my world, associated with the word “delicious”. My circle of friends strongly believe in the “fat is flavour” mantra (I knew there was a reason why we were friends), and we eschew trends that are healthy for healthy’s sake. So when I was invited to try Crust Pizza’s new Simply Better Range (with Spelt and Wholemeal flour, no less!), I didn’t know what to expect.
So here are 7 thoughts that I had while stuffing pizza into my face:
1. This crust is better than I thought!
I know it seems like an obvious thing, but even when a whole line of restaurants is called “crust”, I am usually faced with dry, stiff bases that only serve to hold up the ingredients. Here, the crust was tender and bready, and had a surprisingly good chew while still holding up the various toppings! Also, a wholemeal and spelt flour that wasn’t dry. Well done.
2. Who knew that broccolini belonged on a pizza
My favourite of the three new pizzas, the Biltong Lamb, had broccolini on it. Broccolini! Who knew that this maligned vegetable (which is usually relegated to sad steamer baskets) actually has found a happy place on the top of a pizza. It was tender, without being overly bitter or in-your-face, and provided great support for the spiced lamb and tangy yoghurt and lime.
Did you know that kilo for kilo, chilli is more packed with vitamin C than oranges? Yeah. Not that I need a reason to have any more chilli in my diet. So it was a happy night for me when the three new pizzas that I tried – Biltong Lamb, Harissa Chicken, Wagyu Shoga – were served with chilli. By themselves, the pizzas were mildly spiced and layered with flavour from the sauce and the various toppings like pine nuts, mushrooms, capsicum, rocket etc. But for me, the only way to have them is with a side of fresh cut chilli, to really kick your night into gear!
4. I wish the chunks of meat were bigger
So at the launch, we were lucky enough to try the house-cooked meats on its own, and then with the pizza. And you know what? I agree with fellow blogger Jason: the chunks of meat made such an impact, that I wish that it was similarly chunky on the pizza. It was shredded finer, I guess for ease of eating, but still, you notice it especially when you know how good it can be.
5. Pizza by the beach needs to be a thing.
We were lucky enough to be treated to Crust’s new range by the beach, and you know what? It totally needs to be a thing, guys! There’s just something about eating by the crashing waves – from a distance, of course, because you don’t want sand in your food – that just really elevates the experience.
6. They make the pizza bases in store? No way!
So you’d may have made the same assumption that I did: that Crust Pizza stores get in their pizza bases frozen, and then tops it off and bakes it in-store. Well, a rather interesting conversation with the manger of one of their stores revealed to me that they get deliveries of bags of flour, and make the dough right in the store! Something totally unexpected, but appreciated all the same.
7. So is this Australian pizza?
Okay, so I’ve heard plenty about how “Pizza is meant to be simple”, and that “pizza from Italy doesn’t have 20,000 toppings on it”. And yeah, there’s definitely a beauty to a really simply-made pizza with a cracking chewy base and a barely warmed fresh tomato base. Sure. But what if this is just another style of pizza? What if this is Australian Pizza? I mean, we’ve already claimed burgers by putting beetroot in them, maybe this is just another kind of pizza that’s unique to Australia?
I don’t think Crust Pizza is trying to portray themselves as “authentic Italian Pizza”, and you know what? I think it’s cool that they’re doing their own thing. They’ve got a smart casual style going for them, serving up the kind of pizzas that you’d eat by the beach, in your flip flops, enjoying the cool autumn breeze. And now with the new Simply Better Range, you’d fit right into the Bondi crowd, too!