There are a number of food terms that have been rendered meaningless by their overuse. Gourmet. Artisanal. And, more than anything else as of late, “fusion”. But every so often you come across a place that truly embodies the term, and reminds you of why it was used in the first place. Bombay Local Pizza is fusion.
This was not the first time we had tried an “Indian-pizza” combination. At the now-shuttered Feather (Egg Harbor Township), we were served “Naan Pizza”: Indian ingredients were assembled on a flat piece of naan bread (Tikka Masala sauce and paneer cubes). All of the elements were Indian, just presented in the form of an Italian pizza. What’s going on at Bombay Local is a a blending of traditional pizza-making with not only Indian ingredients, but a blending of the cooking styles of the two cultures. A bite of the crispy-yet-tender crust, tomato sauce and mozzarella blends with tikka masala paneer, cauliflower pickles, or even samosa filling.
The reality of Bombay Local Pizza came from the dreams of Parag Poonawala and his brother. Working in the financial industry for a number of years, they decided that they wanted out of that routine and start their own business. And a trip to India and seeing pizza shops there gave them an idea. But these guys didn’t just throw some combinations together and hope for the best; they worked tirelessly on 40 different combinations before they settled upon 6 with which to open the restaurant. The menu has since expanded to 19 different pizza options. In addition, Parag and his brother surveyed over 200 people as to what flavor combinations folks would like on their pizza. Lots of thought went into the process long before they opened their doors.
The toppings are not the only place where interesting things are happening. Not settling on just a simple pizza crust with readily available flour, the pizzas at Bombay Local use a mixture of domestic and Indian flour. What you get from this blending is a crust that falls somehwere between pizza crust and Indian flat bread. A certain crispness with enough doughy give.
Your best bets? Don’t leave without trying the Cauliflower Avakaya (the spicy cauliflower pickle chutney), or the Braingan Bartha (spiced and herbed baked eggplant). Oddly enough, it wasn’t until we sat down to write this that we realized that the entire menu is vegetarian. Shhh: we won’t tell if you won’t. And lest you think you’d have to stuff yourself silly to sample the mad variety, simply ask them and they can do a whole pie halved or even in quarters in a particular style, so you can try a bunch at once. However, we weren’t crazy about the simple Italian style pizza; it seems it is best made to coordinate with Indian flair, where it becomes something even bigger and better than the sum of its parts. And isn’t that what fusion is all about?
It’s been a while since there was an idea we were this excited about. We urge you to open your mind up enough to let it be blown, and check this place out.
Bombay Local Pizza – 1120 White Horse Road, Voorhees. (856) 375-2246.