27.7.09

Margo's

some of you may or may not have heard of Palazzo Santa Rosa in Mistra Bay
i heard great things about the place and the chef Claude Camilleri

i had joined his mailing list and after a long silence i received this:

Dear friend,

First of all we have to apologise for the silence.

So many have written to us and we have never replied. It is not through lack of trying. Many times we get into the car to go home and fall asleep before we even put the key in the ignition. See, we haven’t been idle. We have been extremely busy creating something really special. So many people have called and we have been unable to answer the phone – it makes you wonder if we wer OK or not. We were just fine; just very busy. Besides apologising for not being in touch, we have to thank you for your thoughts and concern.

We have great news though . . .

We have given birth to a healthy and wonderful new baby called Margo’s.

Margo’s Authentic Neapolitan Pizza is more than just your average pizzeria. It is the only DOC (Denominazione d’Origine Controllota) pizzeria this side of the world. You know by now that we do not do things by half. So we went the whole hog and created what can be described as a Little Naples in Mistra Bay. Not so much the decor, but the food, the pizza is as authentic as it can be, so much so that we have been granted the DOC certification through the authorities in Naples.

It would be quite accurate to say that we believe we have exceeded the standards required by the the Council to be granted the certification. Let me explain why.

We use a wood fired oven built by Mario Acunto. This is standard practice. A wood fired oven is the most basic of requirements. Acunto is one of the oldest people to build such ovens and his family have been building them for generation. It is a superb oven in that it is rudimentary and very effective.

We use Caputo flour. With the demands put on us to choose a flour with very specific characteristics, we opted to use the finest flour that is specifically milled for pizza. It does make a difference. The result is a light, fluffy, delicate and beautiful taste.

We only use San Marzano tomatoes. We are not allowed to use anything but San marzano tomatoes. Like Roma tomoatoes, San Marzano are slightly smaller and have little seeds. We grow our own of course, but for the lean days we import Solania tomatoes that are simply outstanding in taste and quality.

We use fresh water buffalo mozzarella. Garofalo have their own herd of water buffaloes and we wanted to bypass the scandal related to mozzarella that hit Naples earlier this year. So we found a producer with their own herd and on top of that, the production is organic, although the organic certification will not be officially in place until September.

We use Lurisia Pure Spring water for the impasto. Lurisia is the purest italian spring water. If you think that all water is the same, it means you have not tasted Lurisia. It is very very light.

We burn only oak. Of course we can burn other wood, but oak imparts such a wonderful taste to the final pizza.

We have a Neapolitan pizzaiolo. Meet Pasquale. He has San Marzano tomato juice running through his veins, he says. He comes from a family of pizzaioli and his work shows it. We are very lucky to have someone so passionate about pizza.

So this is just a small invitation to come and see Margo’s for yourself. It is in the back area of Palazzo Santa Rosa. The entrance is through our car park.

Of course Palazzo Santa Rosa is still going strong and we have had some amazing reviews over the last few months, from all over the world. But we are not ones to sit and settle for the status quo, so we will be getting back to presenting the Last Tuesday Clubs as of August. We have been planning the August LTC for months and we are sure it is going to be an amazing and exciting one.

Margo’s is open from Tuesday to Sunday in the evenings.

This is the soft opening. So you are the first to know about our new baby.

The manager Chantalle will be more than glad to welcome you for the pizza experience of your life.

Come and meet Pasquale and the rest of the staff and we really hope that you approve of our work.

Sincerely,

Claude


me and some friends headed down there to the idyllic setting of Mistra Bay
from the letter and the replaying of the wonderful trappings about Margo's pizza
great expectations were not absent

the restaurant is spacious and welcoming
you enter a hall acting as a lobby facing a cleverly designed wall that has been covered in framed paintings
the paintings themselves: meh!
but the wall idea is a good use of space and colour

the next room houses the pizza oven and makers
the hub of Margo's

this leads to the outside garden area which tables Margo's patrons

our table was exactly adjacent to the pizzaiolo and his DOC pizza workshop
this proved to be very hunger inducing
but was beneficial to Kari who acted as the night's photographer(see photos below)
being next to the pizza kitchen with nothing separating us but glass increased our appetites
i don't mean to exaggerate but
watching Pasquale work his magic into the night amplified that fucking void that was now beginning to swell like a big entrenching vacuum at the bottomless abyss of my viscera

and that carried on for about an hour after we ordered
the staff was friendly and helpful
maybe too friendly
or maybe that's just me being too anti-social
we were offered help by 3 different people
who got us drinks and starters
we were deprived of our food for what seemed like the longest hour or so
the food being pizza which is usually quick didn't bode so well

somewhere in between all of this
two of our party got smoked buffalo mozzarella starters
this tasted nothing short of divine
milky but fibrous
smoky
nice.

the menu layout was superb with only about 8 pizzas available or so
let's headcount

there was
the margerita - tomatoes and mozzarella

the marinara - tomatoes and garlic and no mozzarella

pizza cruda - with parma ham

pizza affumicata - with smoked ham

the pizza al pesce fresco - self explanatory

a calzone - with ricotta and cherry tomatoes i think

margo's pizza special - i doubt that was the name with seasonal ingredients

i think i m missing one
anyways

i chose the affumicata
when it came
the appearance of the pizza was different from what i am used to
the toppings where minimal
a bit too minimal on the mozzarella for my pizza
the others' looked just about right on the cheese
the dough had carbonized blisters
the overall taste was different
the crust had no crunch
it was light and fluffy
but thin
much like Indian nan bread

i've never been to Napoli
so i don't have a clue to what they do there
what i know is that i've tasted and loved pizza before
and i know what a good pizza should taste like
i like the crunchy thin and toasty pizzas which are rampant
in the good Maltese pizzerias
pizza is Italian and all that
but for me it could be as Maltese as the pastizz
it is the ever-present meal in the dominant culture of globalized earth
if i find myself in any strange foreign land in the world
i expect to eventually have to encounter two things
spoken English and pizza

upon my and the affumicata's initial encounter my general feeling was that i don't care how true to Italian standards this was
i love standards
but i have my own

then it happened
the great thing about great food is that
it can alter your reality
and topple your standards

although unusual i got to love the airy nature of that crust
the toppings were great and as expected nothing looked like it came out of a can or a freezer
we were a party of seven
most of us loved this novel pizza experience
some still have reservations
but we all want to return

for what is being served the prices are phenomenal
8.50 euro for this pizza compared to what some other bozos charge for sacrilege
is just right

desserts were great
i had the titled-with-overkill Orgasmic Valhrona Chocolate Delight
few chocolate desserts make it to this wonderful wonderful place

then there was the Rum baba
those who ate/drank this got very cheery by the end of it
it tastes beautiful and it makes you tipsy
all in one go
i think this is a good thing

when payment time came we weren't too pleased with the itemised bill listing everything as 'beer'
it was tricky to separate between the 3 course and main course and dessert only people

a couple who was eating there at another table later told me that when they asked for Neapolitan wine they didn't have any
what's that about!?

whatever the setbacks i recommend Margo's heartily

the thing is that there will be times when i want the usual crunchy pizza i love so much
and there will be times when i will pop back down there to Margo's for their DOC stuff









4 comments:

skartocc said...

as usual a great review - not a big fan of pizza's myself so I don't think I will be at Margo's any time soon - but who knows. awaiting the next update - ax ma tippruvawx ikla lampuki kif suppost?

Glen Galea said...

if you don't like usual pizzas
you should try this one

Martin Bonnici said...

Does he do yeast free pizza?

glummdead said...

great review Glen, lovely photographs too