Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Review: Pizzarium is Pizza al Taglio
by Kerrie Doerr
You can't visit Pizzarium without witnessing one couple taking pictures of their meal. At first glance, one might expect the isolated food photography incident to be the foodie of the pair's blogging adventure. However, a cursory internet search of the place reveals a dearth of articles about the Haebangchon hang-out, leading the investigator to a different line of reasoning. The few articles that do mention the joint are focused on two sole factors: pizza shape and lack of crust. Perhaps these two variables come across as novelty, as pizza in Korea usually comes as a circle laden with twists such as sweet potato wedges, pork donkatsu crust, and fried shrimp embedded in a cheese-filled crust. Pizzarium does have novelty in this aspect, as it shares none of these qualities. More accurately though, if normalcy is a quality that can be ascribed to a food adhering to tradition, Pizzarium is your most regular pizza around.
Pizza al taglio, the traditional crustless variety available on the streets of Italy, cut with scissors for consumption, is the style served up at Pizzarium. What Pizzarium doesn't do normally is quality. After countless dining experiences, I can confidently assert Pizzarium is quality - and consistent - a major boost for any foreign food restaurant in Seoul. The place is small and claustrophobic at times but this does not detract from the ambiance, as Pizzarium serves street pizza -- which, by definition, does not imply heavy wood booths, a smokey atmosphere, and wood burning ovens. This pizza is mobile and fast, guaranteeing freshness. Despite the high customer volume, the staff always remembers the peculiarities of my order -- extra ranch for dipping, at least three containers of jalapenos, as well as the customary sweet pickles of the Korean pizza dining experience. Pizzarium's customer service is much better than the average restaurant although they have been known to prod me out of the door when the final slice sells. Do not let this deter you -- go early, shoot the purple-haired ajumma in the kitchen a smile, enjoy the haphazard accident of decorations inside (black and white staff photographs paired with French print ads), and order your food and drink.
The variety of pizza available is pleasing for both meat eaters and their vegetarian counterparts. Pizza Margherita, the classic go-to, is there, as well as tomato ranch pizza, an eggplant pizza that comes with a thick balsamic glaze, spicy tuna and tomato, and a black olive mushroom delight. The cooks at Pizzarium understand the fine art of the slight cheese burn, that precise moment after the cheese bubbles in the heat but before the goodness is lost to a tough, charred mess of black. This adds exponentially to the flavor and the feeling that at Pizzarium, Korea is finally doing something right with pizza. Don't forget your draft beer to round out the cheese, or, if you're more the soda sipping sort, one Fanta with two straws to share on your date like you're in grade school. Put the camera down though, because the pizza that rests on the wooden plate in front of you is culinary experience enough that you don't need photographs to remember the taste of what pizza is supposed to be.
Go out Noksapyeong Station Exit 2 and walk straight. Cross to the other side of the road.
주소 : 서울시 용산구 이태원동 529
전화번호 : 02-312-7580
Kerrie is a Texas University Graduate that enjoys moving her body, looking around the world, laughing and cheese. You can see more about her here.