Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 October 2019

Restaurant review: Blaze Pizza in the Galleria turns up the heat with its customised pies

You can choose any number of toppings – Subway-style – for the same price

Diners can choose from signature pizzas or build their own. The Red Vine has mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, classic red sauce and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Photo: Blaze Pizza
Diners can choose from signature pizzas or build their own. The Red Vine has mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, classic red sauce and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Photo: Blaze Pizza

If you’re a pizza lover – like I am – head to Blaze at The Galleria Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi. The artisanal pizzeria from California is based on the notion of “fast-fire’d in 180 seconds”, which means that the pizza, once ready, is baked in a flaming open-oven for three minutes. Blaze, which opened last month, brings a unique do-it-yourself concept to the capital, with 11-inch personalised thin-crust pizzas, signature pizzas and a small selection of fresh salads, desserts and drinks.

Founded by Elise and Rick Wetzel (co-founders of Wetzel’s Pretzels) and backed by founding investors including American basketball player LeBron James, the Abu Dhabi branch is the first to open in the UAE, following the opening of regional restaurants in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Where to sit and what to expect

Located on the third level of The Galleria’s new extension, the restaurant features an open-kitchen format, all the better to allow guests to build their own pizza. The display is similar to that of Subway where all the toppings are in full view. The restaurant is strategically placed, across from the escalator that leads to Vox Cinemas. It has food-court-style seating, with both chairs and couches, and is a casual yet comfortable spot, ideal to catch a quick bite.

Who's eating there

From children to adults, the place is really for everybody. The few times I have visited, it seems to attract young crowds. At the weekend, the place gets super-busy and you have to queue up to order.

The menu

At Blaze, diners can either build their own pizza or simply choose one of the restaurant’s signatures, from among several chicken, meat and veggie options. However, what’s great about building your own is that you can add as many fresh toppings as you want for the same price. You start off with choosing your dough (you can pick gluten-free or high-rise at an additional cost), and then pick your sauce, cheese, meat and veggies. The varied selection includes everything from Italian-style meatballs and ovalini mozzarella to banana ­peppers and roasted garlic. You then top it off with one “finish”: arugula, balsamic glaze, barbecue sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, pesto or ranch dressing.

Blaze Pizza has an assembly line format which allows diners to choose their toppings. Blaze Pizza 
Blaze Pizza has an assembly line format which allows diners to choose their toppings

What I really like about the menu, and that’s not typically seen at other pizza places, is that all items list the calorie count. So if you’re the type of conscious eater who likes to know how many calories are in every bite, this is the place for you. The menu also includes a disclaimer that reminds customers that 2,000 calories is the general nutrition intake for young people over the age of 13 and adults, and 1,500 calories for children between the ages of 4 and 12. Here, the 11-inch Meat Eater is 1,220 calories (the highest on the menu) while the Veg Out is 750 calories (the lowest on the menu).

My favourite menu option is the salad-pizza combo, which allows you to buy half a pizza and half a salad. It’s perfect for diners who like to practise portion control or who are not planning to eat a whole pizza by themselves. There are only two ready-made salads to choose from – antipasto and classic Caesar, but you can also build your own. Another combination that diners could choose from is half a pizza with four pieces of dough knots, which are small dough pieces stuffed with mozzarella cheese and served with red sauce for dipping.

There is a small selection when it comes to dessert and drinks, but that’s not unusual for fast-food restaurants. Diners can choose from s’more pies, brownies and chocolate chip cookies, while beverages include sodas, lemonades and Blaze’s signature Agua Fresca drink.

Among the desserts on the menu are s'more pies. Blaze Pizza
S'more pies at Blaze Pizza

Standout dish

My family and I tried the margherita and the salad-pizza combo with Blaze’s ­signature vegetarian pizza and a Caesar salad. The freshness of the courgette, mushrooms and onions aside, we loved that the dough was baked to a true-blue pizza lover’s perfection standards – the right, oven-blasted combination of soft and crunchy.

Price point and contact information

All signature and build-your-own pizzas are priced at Dh42, however, gluten-free and high-rise doughs are an additional Dh13. There is no additional cost for toppings, so include as many as you want. Those who like their pizza simple with one or two toppings could go for 1-Top at Dh34 or 2-Top at Dh36. All drinks are Dh15 and desserts are Dh12.

Blaze Pizza is open daily, from 10am to 10pm from Saturdays to Wednesdays, and 10am to midnight on Thursdays and Fridays.

This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant

Updated: October 9, 2019 07:15 PM

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