Tonight I dined at Gialina. I was really looking forward to it after all the hype in the Guardian as the best pizza. While I acknowledge that there are many different styles and interpretations of pizza, I have to say that I was rather unimpressed by the pies at Gialina.
We started with the with Soft Polenta with swiss chard (I believe) which was indeed very soft polenta and more creamy than corn tasting. The polenta had a ricotta cheese consistency and was good, but lacked any depth other than a creamy garlic flavor. I ended up enjoying the chard more than the polenta because it was fresh and still had a bit of crunch.
Crunchiness was something that was all to prevalent in the pizzas. While crispiness is acceptable as one of the textures of a crust, crunchiness through and through is not something I find appealing in a pizza. We had the Atomica and a Roast Pork. Both had crusts that were very thin and extremely crunchy. There was no softness or chewiness -- even in the end crusts (which had too much olive oil)! Basically, it was a cracker crust. To make matters worse the cheese on top was cooked to a very crisp golden brown, exhibiting no toothiness or creaminess. There was very little moisture on either pizza. I ended up consuming two glasses of water while eating it because I had to keep drinking every couple of bites. Not that the pizza tasted badly, just that it was like eating a savory biscotti. J did not eat the crust ends because they were so hard and dry. On a positive note, it was clear that the topping ingredients were good, particularly the roast pork.
The saving grace was dessert, which was a Dessert Pizza made with nutella, marscapone and amaretti. This crust was much thicker and softer than in the main course. The three toppings worked well together and we could taste each note clearly. Despite being full, we finished the whole thing.
Overall, I'm not sure if it's worth it to return to Gialina. The pizzas were too dry and overcooked. I love thin pizza, but the kind you get at Sally's, Modern or Pizzeria Regina, not this cracker pizza. The dessert pizza was very tasty, but nothing too difficult to make -- fresh bread with nutella spread over it (though I admit that the amaretti was a very nice touch).
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