Christmas in Mumbai isn’t nearly as big a deal as you’d think, the maximum extent of most restaurants’ festivities are repurposing the previous month’s Diwali lights and jacking up the prices of pork. Besides, when you’re in your 20s you’re supposed to have outgrown things like presents, hope, and goodwill towards all men, Christmas is just another reason to take a day off and drink enough rum to the point you genuinely believe you can turn a bottle of Bisleri in to a glass of wine.
But what if there was a place where the smell of cheese and recordings of Bing Crosby’s Christmas special playing on loop could melt away all your cynicism and instead present you with the hopefulness and excitement of being a child on Christmas morning? Well, there is, and it’s at PizzaExpress. Now I don’t normally write about places fancy enough to have indoor plumbing, but it’s the holidays so I thought we’d mix it up a little and give Derrick the Intern his Christmas bonus; a mushroom soup.
There’s too much cool stuff on PizzaExpress’s new menu, so we decided to cherry pick the items we liked the most. And because we’d like very much to make it on Santa’s good list for a change, we’re not going to make snide remarks like pointing out that the area around PizzaExpress Andheri is completely devoid of streetlights. All that matters is the food; and it was good;
1) Barbeque Chicken Wings
You have to be particularly terrible to be able to screw up a plate of chicken wings, I’m talking about you, KFC. And in most circumstances, the only way you can reasonably rate a plate of wings is based on how close to perfect they are, and fortunately, PizzaExpress’ is pretty damn close. It’s a bit spicy, and tastes like you’re drinking directly from a bottle of BBQ sauce; but in a good way. The chicken’s so well cooked it just falls off the bone, so you don’t have to eat it looking like a caveman. It’s my favourite item on the menu.
2) Meatball Pizza
The meatball pizza is one percent meat, cheese and dough, and ninety nine percent chilli concentrate mixed with and Satan’s tears. It’s one of the best pizzas I’ve had, even though it almost killed me, both physically with its spiciness and socially when I ran around the room asking people for their water.
3) Tomato Soup
Tomato soup was invented so dieters could assimilate into mainstream society; and while I vehemently oppose any such integration, I did love the tomato soup. It tastes like the red sauce in the best pasta you’ve ever had.
Of course there’s a tonne of stuff on the new menu I didn’t mention, some of it was incredible, some of it wasn’t, all I can say for sure is that everything goes down beautifully with a glass of sangria. Or eight. It’s hard to come across a place that celebrates Christmas that doesn’t seem like corporatist pandering, and I’d like to think this is one of them.