Pizzeria Mozza @ Marina Bay Sands by Mario Batali

Pizzeria Mozza by Mario Batali – Photo courtesy of Pizzeria Mozza
Famed American celebrity chef, restaurateur and TV personality, Mario Batali, made headlines recently with Del Posto – one of Batali’s 16 F&B concepts. At US$1,126 (or S$1,385 approximately) per head for a 12-course dinner with mandatory wine pairing, Del Posto crowned the list of New York City’ most expensive prix-fixe menus.

Thankfully, Batali’s culinary exports to Singapore – Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza – are considerably more affordable. Pizzeria Mozza (“Mozza”), in particular, stands out with a pocket-friendly menu beaming with 19 pizzas ($18-$38) and small plate offerings including a dozen of antipasti ($13-$18), salads ($8 to $19), charcuterie ($15-$32), open-faced bruschette ($6 -$15) and panini sandwiches ($16-$22). There’s also a limited menu of piatti del giorno, or today’s specials, proffering an Italian main dish – such as fish, lamb or a pasta- each day.
Lovely as this may sound, the pesce en cartoccio ($32), or fish wrapped in parchment paper, that we wanted was shockingly sold out by the time we were seated at 7.30pm. Not that we didn’t want to start dinner earlier; try calling Mozza for reservation and you’ll understand our frustration. It took us 4 to 5 tries over 2 weeks to get through to Mozza – even then, we had to conform to their insanely rigid dinner schedule (they don’t take reservations at our dinner time of 6.30pm, the next available slot for dinner was 7.30pm).

Once you’ve scored a table (note: sit at the pizza bar fronting the wood fire oven if you want to see the pizza chefs in action), you’ll sense the heartbeat of Mozza. It is convivial and very loud, thanks to the booming music playing in the background. Yes, it’s a hip venue to hang out with friends over pizzas.
But haute pizza it isn’t.
Fennel sausage pizza – Photo courtesy of Pizzeria Mozza
I can’t say that the rye flour or the malt in the pizza dough, or the fact that the dough sat for 36 hours before it was baked, made a positive difference to the dough texture or taste. I am no pizza scientist. But yes, the not-too-thin 10” pizza crust is somewhat chewy, a little charred at the broad-rim and certainly denser than some of the Neapolitan and Roman pies I’ve had.
The starters were not flawless too. The generous strips of umami-packed Parma ham that lined the gargantuan plate ($32) was served with a so-small-it’s-not-funny blob of not-so-creamy buffalo mozzarella cheese – there’s barely enough to go with each fold of ham. As it turned out, the mound of Nancy’s chopped salad ($19) was a better bet with a fresh toss of piquant radicchio (Italian chicory), salami slices, aged provolone cheese, chickpeas and tongue-searing pepperoncini (Italian peppers) in a zesty dressing – it was refreshing and a great palate opener.

Come dessert time, the warm butterscotch budino ($17), with interlacing layers of Maldon sea salt-laced pudding against the earthy tones of rosemary pine nut biscotti crowned with caramel, had us rubbing our hands with glee. The balance of salty tang on sweet and cream was an unusual if perfect match. But if you prefer something chilled and dizzyingly sweet, the vanilla gelato crowned with baked spiced almonds ($18) in a blood-red strawberry sauce is divine.

Mozza is a concept that will fly at Marina Bay Sands where most other celebrity restaurants are comparatively more costly. But is Mozza worth the trek given the flood of homey pizzerias and rustic Italian eateries dotted throughout the island? Not for the seriously mediocre fare we’ve had.

Pizzeria Mozza | #B1-42/46, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands | 65-6688 8868

Rating: 20/30

This article first published in inSing.com


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