Mumbai’s restaurant scene is ever evolving, and ever changing. On one side we have older restaurants shutting shop, and we mourn the loss of heritage eateries. Let’s blame this on the city’s soaring real estate prices, and the ‘fast food’ culture that has led to the replacement of older, stand alone restaurants. And on the other side there are newer, evolved restaurants emerging, not only highlighting different world cuisine, but also experimenting with Indian fare.
Di Napoli, a stand alone pizzeria in Nariman Point shut shop recently. They were known for their delicious, authentic Naples style pizza and a lot of fans, including me were heart broken to hear about their farewell. But what goes around, comes around. Di Napoli’s closing led to Crave – an all day cafe cum pizzeria in Prabhadevi by the same owners.
Jai Thakur, owner and pizza aficionado invites me to Crave one evening, to chat about his new venture, and of course sample the delicious pizzas. Amidst conversation over soaring real estate prices in the city, and restaurant trends, I check Crave out. Situated in Prabhadevi, in an area where there is a severe dearth of cafes, and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), a place like Crave serving up and delivering pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and desserts has immense potential.
The place is small albeit adorable. Wooden high tables and stools flank the bright yellow and white walls. Inspite of being tiny, it is well lit and feels spacious. Inspite of being a take away and delivery joint, I’d strongly recommend dining in instead, with a view of the open kitchen. My ‘object d’affection’ were the beautiful, black and white, vintage tiled flooring.
My dear friend Shivani Tolia of Yellow Butterfly fame, joins me on this meal, and we can’t help but start the meal off with some fries paired with their signature dips. The Mango Jalapeno is their most popular, but I found it a tad bit too pulpy and wished it had larger chunks of jalapeno to cut out the sweetness. The Chilli Garlic was right up our alley, with the heat from the chilli balancing the salt from the fries. Cannot wait to go next time and try the ‘cheese + chives’ dip from their menu. The presence of dips and fries on a menu, pleases me, and is a refreshing change from plain ol’ ketchup.
Now moving on to what Crave does best – pizzas. After much deliberation and contemplation, I decided to stick to the simpler route and opt for the ‘American Pie’ – a pepperoni, basil topping on a base of pomodoro sauce. The star of the pizza was the perfect thickness of the base – not too thin, not too thick or doughy. And can you really go wrong with a classic pepperoni?
Our veggie Green Revolution came with mushroom, broccoli, and feta on a pesto base. We had to douse it in oregano and chilli flakes, to douse out the overwhelming flavor of garlic. But it’s really a lovely option if you like a pesto base on your pizza. Very few pizzerias do a good pesto pizza, and the one here hits the nail on the head. Both 9″ pizzas are well portioned and can easily be split by two. But we found the base got a tad bit oily, after the pizza sat out for a while. You’ll like the pizzas at Crave, if you like Naples style pizza. A base that is on the thinner side, charred ends, and flavors which are subtle mark the pizzas here.
I couldn’t leave without trying the Knockout Burger that The Tiny Taster strongly recommended. A beautifully grilled and seasoned lamb mince patty sits on a bed of onion, lettuce and tomato, interspersed with some bacon that I ordered additionally. The star is the gorgonzola cheese sauce, which I would have liked a bit more of because then the lamb can feel a bit dry in your mouth. But then again a lot of people may find the presence of too much blue cheese a bit overwhelming. This burger will make your tastebuds very, very happy. Your cholesterol levels may not be very pleased.
Would I return to Crave? Yes, I’d get delivery from their Bandra store. Yes, they launch their second store in Bandra in the next two months, so that’s good news. Crave bridges the gap between mass produced, pizza delivery joints and gourmet pizzerias. With non vegetarian 12″ pizzas priced in the Rs 500-600 bracket, I’d say it’s worth paying a little more for the quality of food on offer. With many more branches expected in the city, Crave proves that sometimes change is a good thing.
Shivalik Building, Appasaheb Marathe Marg,
Adjacent Tata Motors, Prabhadevi, Mumbai.
Call: 022 30151057
Follow: @CraveComfort on Twitter / @CraveComfortFood on Instagram
(The author was invited to dine at Crave. Hence, no comment about service was made).