Sunday, 8 November 2015

Review: Pizza Republic CDO


I never thought I'd get around writing this review, but miracles happen so here I am, making it happen. I went on the opening day and a couple of times after that. To say that there's a lot of buzz surrounding the Pizza Republic opening is an understatement. But here it is, my unadulterated review of the place, the food and the experience.


Pizza Republic by Giuseppe Genco is a pick and mix pizza parlor where you get play pizza chef and choose what gets to sit on top of your pizza. It seems to have sprouted from my next favorite Philippine city (after CDO of course), Cebu City. My sis who went to school in Cebu has been telling me wonderful stories about the place and and I think it's a stroke of genius that they've decided to put their baby in Cagayan de Oro. I've been doing research and I think this is their first branch outside Cebu.



I went on opening day and it was pretty packed. They have this modern industrial thing going on. Based on what I've seen on the internet, it's similar to what they did in their Cebu branch. My thoughts on the building when I first saw it was, 'Ew! What on earth is that big slab of concrete sitting outside Ketkai?' After seeing the finished product, I still think it's ugly but fortunately, it's the inside that matters (or that's what my mom tells me). The interiors are pretty cool, more metal and steel and it would've been steampunk paradise. There's also this wall where you could sign your name or vandal, obviously people choose to do both.


I want to apply for her job but I'll probably get fired for trying to steal bacon. BTW, this is a Pizzeta
Their pizza only comes in two sizes. One 7-inch (4 slices) diameter and a 10-inch (8 slices). The former is called a Pizzeta and costs Php145, with a drink of your choice. It's not so bad since my appetite has shrunk immensely since my glorious burger bingeing days. It was kind of awkward getting the smaller pizza at first since even the kids on the next table got the bigger ones. I found out this was a wise decision on my second visit when I tried to devour a 10 inch (Php 245, no drink) by myself. I honored my commitment to the pizza but ended up feeling sick afterwards (yes, my inner gorger is embarrassed).





There are more or less 60 toppings to choose from. From essential to just plain weird options. Plain weird would most definitely include corn. Who on earth would put corn on their pizza? (Plot twist, I did on my first attempt)


My regular pizza: I'm a big cheese fan so I went with a Quatro Formaggi pizza and worked from there-- Mozarella, Parmesan, Cheddar, and Cream cheese. When I'm feeling brave, I add Gorgonzola to the mix too. For meat choices, I'm hardly the traditional salami girl here but prefer frankfurter, bacon or ham spread out. Finally, what gives my pizza some flavor--herbs and spices. My choices are pretty standard (except for that time I tried corn), both green and black olives, onions (regular ones and caramelized ones), mushroom and tomatoes. Then I get them to add pinches of thyme, basil and oregano with a fraction of a pinch of rosemary. Add a squeeze of cheese and pesto sauce and voilà! I'm a make-believe chef!

Me in green with my buds, enjoying the regular sized pizza (10 inch)
Tips and fun facts:
  • For the best seats, go earlier than peak hours.
  • Don't try the white sauce
  • Put as many as they will allow you to (ideally, toppings should have no limit but if you put too much, it would be undercooked or fall off the dough)
  • Request for an egg if you're up for it (you can put a hardboiled egg on top of any pizza or get a raw egg embedded in your pizza if its not a Pizzeta)
  • The yolk in the egg makes your pizza creamier
  • There are times when the bread is burnt but do not despair, they're not super bad
  • They bake your pizza in a brick oven with a hot furnace inside
  • I think one pizza probably cooks 5-10 minutes, depending on the size and number of patrons. Not too long a wait.
  • Do not be intimidated by the neighboring tables getting one regular pizza / head. Chances are, the pizzeta can already sate your grumbling belly.
  • Come with friends and family to induce happy hormones: endorphins all around!
Verdict

Here it is, the unadulterated review I was talking to you about. This is a wet dream if you're anything like Sally from When Harry Met Sally (translation: you're picky) or you're adventurous with your food. Meanwhile, I grudgingly concede that I'm not a pizza chef and there have only been a few serendipitous times when my pizza turned out to be amazing. However, what keeps me coming back despite the long queue is the adventure of building my pizza. Sure, I'm not kneading the dough myself but there's something empowering about choosing what gets to sit on your object d'art. If you criticize the food, you're actually criticizing your own taste. Coming here, it's more about savoring the experience rather than the food. But thank that God most of the time, your pizza turns out palatable so you can't say you're wasting money dumping God knows what on your pizza. The raw materials are amazing and I cant belive I'm not paying more for pizza of this quality. Plus, it's difficult to look for authentic Italian pizzas in Cagayan de Oro so this one is definitely for the books.


Okay, I hope you liked this review, albeit a bit late. I would really love to hear about what you think about Pizza Republic or pizza in general! Drop me a comment below or tweet me at @ohpenda. I really love hearing from readers and it motivates me to continue blogging despite being wrecked by school and extracurriculars.

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