Restaurant Review – Crusty Gourmet Pizza & More

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If you’ve been living in Gurgaon and enjoy eating pizza – I know people who don’t – then there’s a good chance that you’ve either tried Crusty Gourmet Pizza or have at least heard about them. Any pizza related query on numerous city based Facebook groups will have someone or the other mention the brand that is slowly gaining ground primarily by word of mouth.

All this positive pizza chatter has out Crusty Gourmet Pizza on a pedestal with some going as far as stating that they serve “the best pizza in town”. While I might not agree with that statement, yet, I do believe that they are amongst the best there available at present, especially those that deliver.

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Before I get into all the positives, I do have a an observation that I’d like to share; oddities that I can’t get my head around. Take for example the fact that the Crusty Gourmet Pizza box has “Made by Australian Chef” written smack in the centre of it. Is an “Australian Chef” better than an Italian chef, or an American one, or say an Indian chef? Is Australia known for its pizzas? Or is it that a pizza made by a “foreign” chef is automatically better? What’s more, on the side it says “crafted by expert Australian Chef”. So what is it; “crafted” or “made” by an Australian chef? Someone ought to really help me understand this, please.

Enough badgering for now, because we need to move in the right direction and talk about what’s important, i.e. food. An extensive menu with lots of options, one of my pet peeves is when people use the word “gourmet” rather freely, but Crusty Gourmet Pizza has enough unique ingredients that for a change they can get away with labeling themselves as gourmet. However – and I’m coming back to the badgering part again for a second – what exactly is “healthy capsicum” I’m not sure. Throughout their menu “healthy capsicum” makes an appearance along with “roasted capsicum” and while I get the latter, the former has made me look at capsicum being sold at the local sabziwala with suspicion. I feel like interrogating each piece, asking if it’s healthy or not, and if the answer is yes, then ask for proof. Another one of the Crusty oddities that has sent my head in a swirl, unless the name has some back-story that links it to the Simpson’s and Krusty the clown, because in that case a lot would make sense.

Okay, so we’re here to talk pizza and that’s one thing Crusty get right, in all departments. The thin base is nice and crisp, thankfully just short of being crunchy – it’s not supposed to be a papadam after all.  The ingredients and flavours work well and the choice of bases and sauces are just enough to confuse someone like me but also give enough space to play around with flavours that I personally enjoy.

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The Exotic Naples Veg Calzone that I tried was loaded with beautiful colourful veggies like broccoli, spinach, mushroom, eggplant, onions, roasted capsicum and of course cheese. It had a lovely golden colour to the dough which once again perfectly walked the thin line between soft and crunchy. A favourite for sure that is worth having again in the future.

As for the pizzas, the Paneer Tikka Pizza was pretty much the Indianised Paneer pizza that is being served by most pizza chains. Sadly the one thing that could have made this better was if the paneer is actually marinated well and made into a tikka before being sprinkled over the pizza. Instead it tastes more of just plain paneer being added along with the other toppings. Still, flavour wise the pizza is good.

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My favourite though was the Traditional Veg Pizza which again gets full marks for execution. It’s also pertinent to note that the food was home delivered so I’m hoping and guessing that eating hot freshly made pizzas at their sit-down restaurant will only add to the taste. I’m not a big fan of sauces being added to Pizzas on top – like the Pesto Mayo was on this case – preferring to have it on the side. But, but, it works in this case. It reached home without getting stuck to the top of the pizza box and succeeded in elevating the flavours by quite a bit. What’s more, I love how Crusty sends their homemade sauces instead of the regular ketchup along with the food. Small additions like these make a huge overall positive impression.

Pizza has become big business. No longer is it about the two international chains holding a majority share. Pizza Express has re-entered the market and so has Jamie Oliver. Many stand alone pizza restaurants – which are slowly converting into local chains – are also on the rise. Most restaurants serve at least some pizzas on their menu. Keeping all that in mind, the fact that I’m more than happy to recommend and reorder from Crusty Gourmet Pizza should be enough, but just to specify, I was impressed with their ingredients and choices and I liked the way the food was executed – with care and attention to flavours. And the fact that they manage all that without charging exuberant prices also deserves a mention. The pizzas are all well within the normal rates of the industry. They are giving thought to what they make and serve and as long as they continue to do that, they’ve got a regular customer in me.

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