Secret sauce recipe, an Italian kneader and exotic toppings: beauty of the yeast!
Hidden behind Nature’s Basket on one of Bandra’s busiest roads, the lack of valet parking at Ray's Cafe and Pizzeria is inconvenient, to say the least. Despite that, the popularity of this new eatery is rising faster than the crusts in their Italian stone ovens.
Beauty of the Yeast
Like one of our bpb subscribers pointed out, Rays has “the best pizza this side of NYC”. And that’s exactly what founders Hemant and Rashmi Mehta are going for. “Not the authentic Italian style. More saucy, New York City.” This culinary couple started Pizzeria at Marine Drive back in 1995, then lived in California for over a decade, and are now back in Mumbai with a secret pizza sauce recipe. One bite into their artisan, no-cheese-vegan slice with olive-oil drizzled sauce, and you’ll believe them when they say that Rashmi makes the tomato base fresh every morning. The dough too, is given special attention by an Italian kneader.
We started with the nine inch Margherita (Rs 180), simple, but so well done that it took its modest ingredients to a new high. The crust sat perfectly between a thin paapad-like base and a fat, doughy one. With their basics down to a pat, you’ll hardly feel the need to slap exotic ingredients on to your pizza. But they’re there if you want to – prosciutto ham, Italian sausage, barbecue chicken and the works.
Although the flip side of the menu – they also serve salads, burgers and sandwiches – recommended a tempting Ray’s “The Works” Turkey Sandwich, it seemed pretty steep for Rs 325. We settled instead for the classic burger with a flavourful stuffing, spicy-mustard mayo sauce and a side of fries (Rs 175). The penny-pinching wasn’t regretted. Dessert-of-the-day apple pie with a crisp, mildly charred crust and vanilla ice cream was a happy ending to the mean meal we’d just chowed down.
On a second rather hurried visit, the New York Dog (Rs 175) with sauteed onions turned out to be a good pick-up, as did the 17 inch pizza-by-the-slice.
Not a Drop to Drink
While we sat in the al fresco section of the café, we wished that there wasn’t a glass wall between us and the many bottles of wine a few feet away. Ray’s doesn’t serve alcohol yet, but offers a direct view of the Nature’s Basket wine section. Cruel!
Overall, Ray’s Café and Pizzeria is worth a visit. And then a few more. Sure, it’s a little pricey, but judging from the weekend turn out, Mumbai’s foodies have the dough.
Getting there: 133, Gazebo House, Hill Road, behind Nature’s Basket, Bandra (W), call 26451414 / 26451616 or visit www.rayscafeandpizzeria.com, 11 am to 11 pm. Home delivery, and a wine & beer menu to start soon.
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