x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Everything's authentic at Rossovivo's pizzeria in Dubai

Rossovivo makes pizza the Neapolitan way: the flour, the oven and the chef are all imported.

Stefano D'Orazi Flavoni, left, and Raffaele Medaglia of Rosso Vivo pizzeria. Jaime Puebla / The National
Stefano D'Orazi Flavoni, left, and Raffaele Medaglia of Rosso Vivo pizzeria. Jaime Puebla / The National

Few things pique a food lover's interest like the promise of "the most authentic and highest quality pizza in the UAE". Rossovivo is a little pizzeria that opened six weeks ago in the Business Bay area of Dubai, aiming to deliver just that.

Proper pizza

The manager and co-owner Stefano D'Orazi Flavoni takes his pizza seriously. "Pizza is from Napoli," he says. "If Parmigiano Reggiano isn't from Parma, it's not considered Parmigiano; for me, it's the same with pizza and Naples. We make our pizza the Neapolitan way."

The oven

A Forno Tradizionale Napoletano brick oven stands proud in the Rossovivo kitchen. It was built from scratch by a specialist who was flown in for the job. The bricks - handmade from clay - were also imported, from Campania.

The oven has a small aperture that keeps the heat in. Inside, the temperature rages up to 500°C and the heat of the bricks scorches the thin bases, ensuring that they end up properly crisp. Because the oven gets so hot, on average it takes only 90 seconds to cook each pizza.

The chef

"You can't just have a random chef cooking the pizza, even if he is Italian," says Flavoni. "You need a trained pizza chef; the less ingredients involved, the more technique and knowledge required to set the food apart."

Enter Raffaele Medaglia, who hails from Naples and has been working in pizzerias since he was 16 years old. His signature pizza, the Raffaele - mozzarella, cream, pistachios, bresaola and basil - is one of Rossovivo's most popular, along with the Angela, which is named after the chef's wife.

"We don't serve pasta here, because Raffaele isn't a pasta chef; that takes a whole separate set of skills. We focus on one thing and we do it very well, which I think is the mantra for most really good restaurants," says Flavoni.

The dough

The all-important dough is made from Caputo 00 Rosso flour (imported from Italy), water and a small amount of yeast; no other ingredients, additives or preservatives are included. When I ask if it is rolled out using a rolling pin, Flavoni recoils in genuine horror. "A true pizza chef will never roll the dough; you open it out by hand. If you see someone rolling a pizza with a pin, no, no, no - already you can tell it won't be right. It's always your hands; that's where the technique of the chef comes in."

He also insists that, after kneading, the dough must rest at room temperature - definitely not in a fridge - for at least 12 hours. This allows the gluten in the flour to relax, while the dough fills with carbon dioxide given off by the yeast; essential for a light finish.

The toppings

The menu at Rossovivo consists of 11 classic pizzas - marinara, margherita, quattro formaggi and funghi among them - and nine signature Rossovivo pizzas. Fear not, that doesn't mean they go all out with wacky flavours, just some interesting combinations of quality ingredients. I was particularly taken by the sound of the Agrumi (buffalo mozzarella, lemon slices and basil) but ended up trying the margherita and it turned out to be the best-tasting (and looking) pizza that I've eaten in a long time.

Rossovivo is located in Millennium Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, and currently delivers to Business Bay, DIFC, Downtown Dubai, the bottom of Sheikh Zayed Road, Satwa, Jumeirah 1 and 2. To order, call 04 380 5833. For more information, visit www.rossovivo.ae