Candies ups its game to the next level with its new pizzas

Prosciutto & arugula pizza at Candies
We didn't need to use any of the condiments

I just love it when I come across instances of people pushing the boundaries, trying out something new and doing it well. I find it very inspiring.

I saw an example of this when we went to Candies@McRonnel (Bandra's Pali Naka) last evening.

I am there at Candies most mornings. I have my breakfast there and then write till lunch time and then head home. K is fond of breakfast at Candies too. It is our happy place. The table by the entry is what we call 'our table'.

We love to start the day with their chicken sandwiches and cappuccinos. I am equally fond of the fried eggs and toast. 

Fried eggs cappuccino with complimentary petite fours
at Candies. Rs 212

Chicken sandwich and cappuccino at Candies. Rs 170
We have other favourites over there. This post is not about that.

The thing about Candies is that the owner, Allan Periera, keeps doing new things. He keeps innovating. The way they have built and expanded the cafe at Pali Naka, as well as the Reclamation one, are good examples of this. The family (his son in law has played a major role in this) put their heads to come out with a new ordering system at the McRonnels outlet which has helped placing one's order become a bit less chaotic. Allan keeps introducing new things into the menu. Last week itself I saw them add khow suey, chilli corn dog, Mongolian chicken and veg. 

I haven't tried any of these yet.

I was intrigued a few weeks back when I saw boards at the Pali Naka outlet which proclaimed 'Stone Baked Pizzas coming soon. 

I asked around and I was told they are introducing pizzas in a bit. They launched the pizza menu a few days later. They most kindly invited me to try them.  

K and I went last evening for an evening snack of pizzas instead of the usual mutton puff that I pick when we go there in the evening.

Goan style mutton puff and pan roll at Candies.
My usual evening favourites here

We placed our pizza order at the counter with the ever smiling Cyril who has been here for ages.  We asked for the smallest portions, 9 inches, as there were just two of us. We chose one vegetarian, one non-vegetarian and a tasting portion of a whole wheat one. The latter was from the make your own pizza set.

The pizzas  were brought to our table soon (It's self service otherwise). 

We were absolutely blown away by the quality of the crust and that of the toppings and felt that the pizzas matched up with the best of what we have had in Europe.

We started with the whole-wheat pizza. The crust was quite tasty and if you are looking at cutting down on white flour then this is an option which won't make you sob. I am sure there would be a proportion of white flour in the crust though as you don't get this texture otherwise.  We had the whole wheat pizza with goat cheese and tuna, which I chose from the make your own pizza deal, and both toppings were of very good quality.

Wholewheat pizza with goat cheese and tuna at Candies

Prices for make your own pizza

For our mains, we had a four cheese pizza in vegetarian and prosciutto and arugula with olive oil in non-vegetarian.

The 9 inch pizzas were served in stainless steel plates, as K reminded me, they were served in Giacomelli, an old school pizza joint that we had gone to in Rome. And as our mother's served us pizzas made at home on the tava. 

The plates gave an authentic Roman feel and a touch of India at the same time.

Stainless steel plates in Giocomelli Rome

The crust in both the pizzas at Candies was superb. I like crusts which are crisp on the edge and soft inside so that you can take a slice and make a pocket while eating. 

I hate chewy dense crusts. I hate thin, crispy, biscuit-like, crusts. 

But then, when has Candies given me something I hate? 

The crusts of the Candies pizzas are of international standard, which in Mumbai I have seen normally in 5 star restaurants such as Prego in Westin and Mezzo Mezzo at JW Marriott Juhu, both run by Italian chefs. I must admit that we rarely order pizzas when we go out to standalone restaurants in Mumbai these days so I can't compare the Candies pizzas with the other standalone pizza outlets in the city. 

The four cheese pizza at Candies was our favourite. It has mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and gorgonzola. The four came together beautifully and the demure pizza crust ensured that the cheese was the hero of the dish. The lead flavour was that of Gorgonzola, a strong cheese that I am very fond of. It reminded me immediately of the pizza bianca (white pizza) that we had at Bobo Bistro at Cannes which had a prominent gorgonzola flavour too.

4 cheese pizza at Candies. 9 inch for Rs 400

Veg pizza prices and menu

K, who is not as fond of gorgonzola as I am, surprised me by saying that the 4 cheese pizza was her favourite as well and that she enjoyed it even more than the Bobo one. Cannes is pretty close to Italy and locals say that the food there has a prominent Italian influence. I think what worked in favour of the Candies four cheese was that the crust was less chewy than the Bobo one at the edges.

Pizza Bianca at Boobo Bistro, cannes

The crust of the prosciutto and arugula pizza was as supple as that of the four cheese one. The cheese less intense. This one had a bit of a tomato sauce on it but the balance was just right and didn't over-shout the cheese and both combined to give the perfect foil for the ample and very very good quality prosciutto (air-cured Italian ham).  

Prosciutto and arugula pizza at Candies.
9 inch for Rs 500

Candies non veg pizza prices and menu
We thought we will have a slice each from each pizza and pack the rest for my lunch. When we left we had wiped the plates clean. 

The superior quality of the imported ingredients means that the pricing is not the usual Candies pricing. 

The 9 inch prosciutto one is priced at Rs 500 and the four cheese one at Rs 400. They have bigger sizes of pizzas too. I am not sure how they compare with prices at table service restaurants in Mumbai such as Pizza Express but the quality of the pizzas that we had at Candies was brilliant without doubt. They do have cheaper ones starting at Rs 250 or so. at Candies. Would be interesting to see how they manage this portfolio as Candies is associated with easy on the pocket pricing while this is a gourmet range of products.

I think weekdays post 6 pm would be a good time to go to have these these pizzas and they serve them till 9 pm at Candies. Or go at noon when they start serving pizzas.  Candies regulars will know that they get quite crowded at lunch but this is pizza worth going a mile for. This is currently there only in the McRonnels outlets. You can get it home delivered too. 

I have a soft corner for Candies and it is like my second home and I am stating that up front. Having said that, I can confidently say that the pizzas that we had there, at the risk of repeating myself,  match up to the best we have had across the world and they made me feel so proud.

I am always smiling when in Candies
Just hope, like K said, they don't give up on the classics at Candies as they march on to new frontiers.

This is a little iPhone video that we did at the end about our experience with the pizzas: 

Note: We were invited by Candies for a private tasting of the pizzas and this is not an anonymous review