‘I need pizza now, it’s calling me!’ When the plaintive cry comes from a good mate, what’s a girl to do but head out in search of Italian dough-based sustenance.
And, when it’s lunch time and you’re in Seef with limited break time, the array of restaurants at the rear of Al Aali Mall’s as good a place to start as any.
We went for Nino’s for the outside seating area, though the inside’s also very light and airy with an industrial feel and perfect for the hotter weather.
My lunch companion chose the classic Americano with provolone cheese and pepperoni. Her silence told its own tale. Delicious.
I decided to be a little more adventurous going for the quattro stagioni, a combination so strange that it really shouldn’t work but it does, well mostly anyway.
I must admit, I was sold on the picture, a pizza topped with chips, what’s not to like?
Well, in fairness, they weren’t really chips, more fried potato crisp-type things but hey, why be picky? They were just one of four toppings alongside minced beef and, this is where it gets a bit weird, a whole rack of roasted veggies.
Now the traditional quattro stagioni is simply a regular pizza split four ways and usually topped with olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and ham.
Not so the Nino’s version, instead you get a quarter chips, quarter minced beef, quarter with crunchy green beans and peppers and the last quarter with thick slices of aubergine, more pepper, onion and baby corn.
The pizza base itself was sublime, not for Nino’s the tired overblown dough of some of the more commercial chains. Here you will find a crust so thin that it literally crunches yet at the same time rich enough to give no hint of the cardboard-like texture so common in thin-crust dough.
Piquant tomato sauce, a hint of a flavour rather than overpowering, and a generous topping of mozzarella serve as the perfect base for the varied ingredients.
I loved the novelty of the toppings but, for me, the thickly stacked vegetables on that last slice were an innovation too far, just not right…though not so wrong as to put me off the rest of it.
My companion decided to forego desert but I couldn’t help myself when I spotted banofi rolls on the menu.
I really shouldn’t have been able to fit any more in but, presented with three rolls stuffed with caramelised banana in rich toffee sauce, I was powerless to resist – let’s be truthful here, I didn’t really try very hard and I’m glad I didn’t, I think I may have just found a new very favourite thing.
The bill (for two) Quattro stagioni BD3.950 Americano BD3.750 Banofi roll BD2.750 2 Cokes BD1.900 1 water BD0.950 1 tea BD0.850 Total (plus service) BD15.550
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com