Oro now serves up their Neapolitan pizzas at Alexandra & Ward, at ODEL. It's not a fully-fledged restaurant, just a part of the menu, but the quality is still high!
The only bright spot in the generally cheerless second floor of Liberty Arcade, Oro 1889 continues to hold firm on its promise of authentic Neapolitan pizzas, served in a tasteful and intimate setting. We have never been disappointed by the restaurant, as our previous reviews will testify. Our latest visit on a rainy weekday evening proved to be no different.
While the rest of Liberty Arcade—and the second floor in particular—has the rundown air of a mall past its prime, Oro's golden lighting and the flames of the wood-fired oven, visible as you approach the glass-fronted restaurant, are a comforting sight. With roughly eight tables fashioned out of weathered wood, one communal table in the centre and bar-like seating on one corner, it isn't a particularly sprawling space. Yet, filled with quirky touches like a row of filament bulbs attached to old mason jars, exposed brick walls and a map of Italy painted on one wall, it is the sort of restaurant where you settle in quite easily. The warm and professional service of the husband-wife duo that runs the place only adds to its charm.
Oro's menu is a fairly compact one, featuring roughly six starters and desserts, and roughly double that number of pizzas. It's a small yet well thought out selection, which is executed consistently well.
We started our meal with the aubergines parmigiana (Rs. 650), a classic baked dish that features aubergines, a fresh tomato sauce and the Parmesan cheese (among other cheeses) that lends the dish its name. Unlike other versions we've tried that can get stodgy and heavy, Oro's version had been made with a light hand. The excellent tomato sauce elevated the flavour of the aubergines, and the high quality of the extra virgin olive oil shone through. Scooped up with a piece of the crusty bread, drizzled with the same, grassy olive oil and oregano, the parmigiana was the perfect way to whet our appetite for the main event.
Oro's staple offering is Neapolitan pizza (from Naples in Italy), a style of pizza that is so specialised and traditional that it won official protection from the European Union in 2009. From the strength of the dough and the thickness of the pizza to the size and the toppings, everything about the Neapolitan pizza is different. (Read more about it here.) In our humble assessment, Oro's pizzas come pretty close to the real thing.
Lured by the promise of mushrooms and truffle oil, we ordered the vegetarian San Carlo (R. 1,900), a refreshing change to the predictable landscape of pizzas with a tomato sauce base. Lacking the wetness of the tomato sauce, this pizza don't flop down in the middle like normal Neapolitan pizzas, and held its form well. Cooked just enough to still retain their meaty bite, the mushrooms paired perfectly with the earthy truffle oil. While big fans of the full-bodied muskiness of truffle oil, we enjoyed getting a gentle whiff of it on this pizza, along with the bright fragrance of basil leaves. Subtly crafted yet far from ordinary, this was the sleeper hit of the evening.
The Santa Maria (Rs. 2,000), which featured 'nduja (a spreadable salami that you can slather over bread or pizza), in addition to fresh Italian pork sausage and artichokes, better fit the conventional description of a Neapolitan pizza.
Thick and raised at the edges and thin and wet at the centre, this pizza ably showcased the meatiness of the fresh Italian sausage, which didn't have the fermented tang of most sausages. Yet, after a couple slices, we found that the flavour of the tomato sauce dominated everything else. While we liked the sausage on its own, like the artichokes, it had to concede to second place on this pizza. The construction of the pizza was faultless, but we would have preferred a more assertive flavour.
From the desserts, we chose the Zuccotto (Rs. 600), a long and narrow sliver of ice cream cake featuring Nutella ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream. We couldn't help but notice the boozy aroma of the vanilla bean ice cream, which we were informed was thanks to a non-alcoholic Italian rum aroma that had been added. Just cakey enough to bind the ice creams together, this dessert primarily showcased the excellent quality of the ice cream.
We have expressed our love for Oro's coffee before — and continue to do so. At Rs. 250 for a small thimbleful of coffee, the espresso may seem steeply priced, but it is also one of the best we've tried in the city. Strong, full-bodied and richly aromatic, we highly recommend this one to espresso fiends.
At roughly Rs. 5,000 for a meal for two, it's fair to say that Oro can make a pretty significant dent in your wallet. But the attention to detail, eye for authenticity and confident service combine to ensure that it's a dent you are not likely to regret.
The only bright spot in the generally cheerless second floor of Liberty Arcade, Oro 1889 continues to hold firm on its promise of authentic Neapolitan pizzas, served in a tasteful and intimate setting.
Oro 1889 does everything right in regards to classic Neopolitan pizza, plus they have excellent service and a really thoughtful location. The place has a lot of personality. It ain't cheap, but we recommend it highly.
With straightforward, authentic Neapolitan pizzas made in a wood fired oven and simple yet chic décor, the family-run Oro 1889 is a treat.
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