Food & Travel

WHEN CRUSTY IS GOOD ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S ABOUT PIZZA

For the average and contemporary Ram, 2 things are a favorite; i) Coffee and ii) Pizza. The list gets an addition when the guy find both of those things in one place. And this has happened to us, and this is a holy day for us as we add The Crust Pizza to the list. As soon as you like the page of any food bloggers like nepal.food, foodiesistersnepal, or foodnomics, chances are pretty damn high that you’ll either see them sharing something from Crust, or your explore will be flooded by people sharing about Crust. And it’s not surprise. For one, they have been pretty good with their social media. But it’s not all bark and no bite. They offer big bites that’s enough to please any mouth. The best part, it’s in Baneshwore, and unlike other eateries in this area, it does not look nor feel pretentious at all.

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HORSEBACK PRAWNS

Prawns? Yes please. Bacon? Hell yeah! Both? Please stuff that in our mouths right now!!! It’s not every day we come across this dish which, in our humble opinion, is the epitome of appetizers. In summary, it’s happiness wrapped in happiness.

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PEPPERONI ROLL PIZZA

It’s a universal fact that good goes up to better and then best. That’s the rules of grammar and superlatives. But did you know that the best could get better? We didn’t either and we were thankful to Crust for showing it to us. How? By rolling it. Yep. They rolled their pizza. You need to have a first hand experience on how it is, so you need to go there.

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OLIVE CHICKEN

One of the things you want in a place that promises good Italian food is olives. Lost of it. Crust does not disappoint. Not only with the olives, but with the chicken as well. When we pictured the dish in our heads, it was just a chicken with olive toppings. What came to the table was a work of art. We had a hard time eating it because driving a fork and knife through it seemed disgraceful. But we have a job to do. The end of it was met with a pallet seduction. The chicken is further stuffed with olive stuffing to make sure you enjoy this with your eyes closed.

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CRUST PIZZA AND BREAD?

Kathmandu does not have a lot of good places to eat. And those that are, are all clustered up in Jhamsikhel, Thamel, or Durbarmarg; all the places where the everyday person does not live. I has a sports bar in Jhamsikhel and that’s how I came up with this conclusion, and also had a change of heart. See, if people wanted to get a birthday cake, they had to go all the way up to Annapurna, and for most people, that’s a bit far. What I believe is that Baneshwor is centrally located for most, and a lot live in this area, including myself. So I just wanted to open up a place where someone can get quality without having to commute far.

AGREED. SO WHY LAND ON THE NAME CRUST?

One thing pizzas and bread have in common is the crust, the outer shell, or the bokra. Since we specialize in these two items, I thought it was an appropriate name. And since the crust is generally rigid, we make our pizzas in firewood to give it a crunchy crust rather than the mediocre chewy one.

SO YOU MENTIONED YOU WANTED TO OPEN A PLACE TO EAT WITHIN HAVING TO GO FAR. BUT YOU COULD’VE GONE FOR CHINESE OR NEWARI, OR ANYTHING. WHY PIZZA?

When I was in the US, I used to work in a pizzeria myself. So I had plans to open up a pizza joint. Since I had the experience, and I felt that if the need arises, I can work in the kitchens myself.

THE MORE YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR PLACE THE HUNGRIER WE GET. WHAT’S SPECIAL ON THE MENU?

I think it’s a good time for me to say this: we have things on the menu that you can’t anywhere in Nepal, and I’m pretty sure nowhere else. First of all, we have the Chicken Roll Pizza. It’s been blowing up on instagram and people have been loving it. Similar to that is the Pepperoni Float, which has been a crowd favorite too. With these two, we have tried to change the traditional look of the pizza, and I think we’re in a position to be proud about it. Then there’s one with nachos which has a similar taste to that of samosa chat. Apart from these, we have stick momo which we make on the firewood. We top it with oregano and cheese to put a different twist to it, and the people have given good response to it.

WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN CURIOUS ABOUT THE ROLLED PIZZA. JUST LOOKS SO GOOD. SO ARE ALL OF YOUR INGREDIENTS LOCALLY SOURCED?

Most of it, yes.

WE HAVE TRIED TO CHANGE THE TRADITIONAL LOOK OF THE PIZZA, AND I THINK WE’RE IN A POSITION TO BE PROUD ABOUT IT.

THAT’S VERY NICE. AND WHO DO WE CREDIT FOR THE INTERIORS?

My wife! She’s a doctor by profession, but she’s very passionate about these things.

NICE! WE MUST SAY THAT THE PLACE FEELS VERY HOMELY. MUST BE THE JUTE MATS AND WICKER CHAIRS.

Thank you for saying so. See, these bora panels here are a part of our CSR initiative. And if you notice the pictures that we have hung up, they’re more than just art. It’s a social service we’ve been doing since the start of our establishment. With the purchase of each picture, we donate Rs. 4800 to a foundation called Let Me See. With one purchase, one can help 3 people get a surgery for their cataracts. It just feels nice when art has a purpose.

WHEN WE WALKED IN, WE WERE GREETED WITH SMILES AND POLITE WELCOMES. THAT IS HONESTLY HARD TO FIND. DO YOU TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES?

Sort of. See, what I have noticed is that we Nepalese are introverted by nature. This puts us into a disadvantage when we go up to international levels. So I just want them to be at an advantage and help them to be more interactive and hospitable. I want to groom them to be in a better place than I was when I went out.

WE LOVE THE SOUND OP THAT. SO WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN THE FUTURE?

Talking about the menu, we surely will be evolving. We won’t go out of the Italian but changes will be made. And we hope to open up a chain in Pokhara, not in the lake side area however, it’s just too saturated. And perhaps even in Bhairawa. We’ve decided on the location and now are dealing with the engineering part. It should be done within 2 years, but between that time frame… let’s see.

WORDS:NIRVEEK PPJ SHAH | PHOTO:PRITAM CHHETRI

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