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Crunchy pizzas with an Indian touch


Customers enjoying a Zazzy Pizza.

THE CITY now has a U.S. Pizza outlet just everywhere. Chances are that there might be one right next door. It has 18 franchisees in the City which includes one each in Rajajinagar, Whitefield, Church Street, Indiranagar, and Jayanagar.

It is also a fact that many multinationals are players in the pizza market, vying for a large chunk of it. Each one tries innovations and marketing gimmicks to lure customers with special low prices, free add-ons, fliers in one's morning newspaper with enticing pictures, and telemarketers offering special deals.

Falling in line, U.S. Pizza has developed 28 new menus called Zazzy Pizzas. The other one is called Cal-Zone, which has pizzas that are folded over.

Vahid Berenjian, Managing Director of U.S. Pizza, who was based in Sweden before coming to India, says that despite the name, his is a completely Indian company. With the new menu, even the delivery boys are "zazzed" up with new uniforms and their bikes sport funky fluttering flags.

Mr. Vahid likes to experiment with the ingredients. Yum Dum Pizza is one of his innovations. It is named so "because it has dum (vigour)". It has dark green spinach, spiced up paneer chunks, golden onions, chilly, and garlic. It is priced at Rs. 70 (regular), Rs. 100 (medium), and Rs. 170 (large).

There is pataka paneer which is marinated golden brown, with juliennes of onion, black olives, and Hungarian peppers (these are grown in India after importing the seeds from Hungary). To work out the new menu, Mr. Vahid ate pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He gave up the dentistry course he had taken up, because he "loved feeding people more than filling cavities." The new pizzas are made of a special flour which makes them light and tasty.

At each outlet, the pizza's are hand tossed to Mr. Vahid's formula. The non-vegetarian ones include the pepperoni (Rs. 100, Rs. 145, and Rs. 260). It has succulent circles of lamb pepperoni drowning in a sea of mouthwatering cheese. There is the tangy-peppery tanduri murgh (Rs. 90, Rs. 125, and Rs. 230). It sports green peppers and onion, on a bed of cheese. This was worked out keeping Indian customers in mind. Though Mr. Vahid is fond of masala Hindi movies, "the masala does not extend to my spicy Indian menu.'' Black pepper remains his personal favourite. The Mexican Wave (Rs. 100, Rs. 145, and Rs. 260) has lamb mince, golden onion with olives, and fiery tabasco.

One could try the Olympian Fiesta to sample the real Italian hand-tossed pizza (the medium one is priced at Rs. 145). It is topped with mushroom, sweet corn, juliennes of onion baked to light gold, and has the blended taste of Hungarian peppers.

Each slice is delightful, which is enhanced by a salad that is a free add-on. It comes with a special salad called bearnaise sauce, which is Mr. Vahid's innovation.

It is now introduced on the menu. A yogurt based sauce makes the salad platter (Rs. 50) of plebeian veggies such as cucumber, carrot, radish, tomato turn special.

The basic pizza margherita (Rs. 70, Rs. 100, and Rs. 170) with its tomato sauce and cheese is also on offer. Hawaiian escapade (Rs. 100, Rs. 145, and Rs. 200) has sweet juicy pineapple combined with luscious sausages, mushrooms, and a sprinkling of chilly.

There are many others such as Zen (it has spicy chicken, onions, and pepper), Sicilian (with chicken sausage, mushroom, and Hungarian peppers), and Four Seasons (which has paneer, olives and the briny tang of jalapenos topped by golden brown baked onions).

One could also try farmer's brunch (Rs. 50), a submarine sandwich (with paneer and veggies, served with potato wafers). The garlic bread, served here (four slices for Rs. 30), is a delight with cheese sprinkled on.

It also offers hot dogs, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and coca cola. There is a special rate for children during lunch.

The executive lunch (Rs. 85) consists of margherita regular pizza, with any two toppings, salad, a brownie, and a can of coke.

US Pizza does not charge extra for home delivery, and parking is not a problem at most outlets. You can call 5522477/88 for details.

A.B.

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