Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 February 2020

Restaurant review: The Pizza Guys’ doughy New York-style treats

There are five signature pizzas; and while you can create your own, each has such distinctive flavours – and a delightful name – that we took less than a minute to decide.
The Pizza Guys’ cosy interiors with bar stools and counters. Courtesy The Pizza Guys
The Pizza Guys’ cosy interiors with bar stools and counters. Courtesy The Pizza Guys
On their restaurant’s recyclable paper menu, the Pakistani-Canadian Amber Haque, a former marketing executive, and her Palestinian husband, Rami Badawi, describe themselves as the authentic “pizza guys”. When they moved to Dubai, the couple thought none of the pizze­­rias there did justice to the Neapolitan staple that a handful of Italian immigrants brought over to Manhattan in the early 1900s and with which they spread pizza love so skilfully that the pie became one of America’s, and the world’s, favourite foods.

The year-old pizza cafe The Pizza Guys, then, is the couple’s attempt to introduce Dubai to a dish that has the “soul of Naples and the swagger of New York” – with a variety of delish toppings, naturally.

Tucked in a corner of Business Bay’s Bay Avenue shopping arcade, the cosy, 16-seater space has bar stools for seats and long counters for tables, from where you can look through glass into the kitchen – open-door fire oven and all. My guest and I were greeted by Haque herself, who was more than willing to chat, often involving guests from the other side of the “table”.

There is no spoilt-for-choice nonsense on the menu at The Pizza Guys. There are five signature pizzas and while you can create your own, each has such distinctive flavours – and a delightful name – that we took less than a minute to decide. Besides the pizzas, the menu also features a salad, a calzone, two pastas, three sandwiches and two desserts.

Since we could opt for half and half, I picked The Wall Street (herb-roasted chicken, oven-roasted rosemary and olive-oil potatoes, stracciatella cheese and fior di latte mozzarella) with The Angry Cabbie (chicken scallopini coated with herbed breadcrumbs, fior di latte mozzarella, fresh basil and grated Parmesan). It was the first time I’d eaten potatoes on pizza and I’m hooked. My guest chose the Queen Margherita with Central Park (garlic-and-olive-oil-sautéed spinach, fresh ricotta, mushrooms and mozzarella).

This is the kind of pizza that cannot, indeed, should not, be eaten with cutlery. The fresh dough and bubbling cheese called to be bitten into – it’ll have your taste buds rolling over in delight at the herby, cheesy and, in my case, meaty flavours. While my companion felt the homemade tomato sauce was on the sweet side and lamented the lack of Tabasco (she’s Indian), the ever-efficient staff brought over some chilli oil and all was right with her world.

While waiting for the pizzas, we tried the Let’s Invade Canada salad (Dh30). Named because the Canadian in Haque likes to “poke fun at everything I can get away with”, the salad was heaps of fresh greens, bell peppers, olives, herb-roasted chicken (extra Dh10) and stringy mozzarella tossed together; one portion serves at least three. The homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing was too salty for my taste, but the lemon-and-oil option was just right.

Although we opted for the regular-size pizza (Dh44 to Dh58), we decided to take home several slices in a rare moment of wisdom, so that we could do justice to the desserts. At Dh8 a pop, the Guys chocolate chunk cookie, made from organic dough, Fairtrade sugar and Lindt dark chocolate, served hot from the oven, was crumbly and chocolatey, while the NY-style cheesecake (Dh20) was a velvety wall of Philadelphia cream cheese on a satisfyin­gly thick Graham-cracker crust.

I’d be hard pressed to refuse Haque’s offer to return for the one pizza I didn’t try - the Wagyu beef creation, The Godfather.

• A meal for two at The Pizza Guys costs Dh100, not including drinks. The pizzeria is the first UAE restaurant to accept bitcoins. Call 800 843 4897 for reservations. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and conducted incognito

pmunyal@thenational.ae

Updated: March 12, 2014 04:00 AM

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