When the owners of Street Pizza, Sayamol Leelasini and her husband Varuth, started making pizza for their daughter 7 years ago, they did not imagine the they would create the following.
As you walk down the alleyway and upstairs to this first-floor restaurant, the rustic wooden building, the feeling of a comfortable, honest, well thought out space transcends you. From the earthy Al fresco style layout to the sound of the Buena Vista social club filtering through the dining room, this well established Pizzeria feels just so.
We sat outside overlooking Thapae Road, enjoying a spot of people watching as the scent of baking pizza occasionally wafted through. The sun was just starting to hang and my appetite started to encroach.
First up was a mixed berry smoothie. Not that unusual to find in Chiang Mai, but it was very well crafted. On the crisper side of sweetness, interwoven with a seam of unsweetened yogurt to keep your mouth interested, and not too many small berry seeds to interrupt things. The gooseberry garnish was perfectly ripe too.
But now to bring on the pizza! I think it is important to mention a few important bits first off. The bases here are of the thin variety. Slightly puffy and darkened around the edges and crisp with a slight sourness. The sauce concentrated and rich, neither sweet nor sour. The Mozzarella from Italy and a few pinches of dried oregano are the foundation of a majority of pizza here. The basil used is kapraow, the Thai version, which I approve of as it does taste of basil but also of Thailand.
Our first offering was Soya’s favorite, potato and rosemary. Tender waxy potato, and fresh musky rosemary form the principle of this simple pizza. This was a delicate affair. The texture of the potato through my mouth was a little strange, as this is not what my brain normally associates with pizza. However, the ensemble resulted in what could only describe as beautiful marriage of potato and rosemary.
Next was the “Chiang Mai” pizza. A great concept – Chiang Mai Sausage, Nam Prik Ong (Chili, tomato and ground pork) and Enoki Mushrooms imbue a taste of Chiang Mai in pizza form. I enjoyed not just the taste and texture but the idea of fusing together Italy and Thailand. Following this was the cheeseburger. No, not an actual cheeseburger, but the concept of a cheeseburger in pizza form. American cheese, pickle, ground beef and sliced onion. Another example of bringing together two classics, and the quirky inspiration behind this combination leads to more than a hint of suspense when reaching for a slice.
I was tempted to sandwich two slices together to make my own pseudo burger. Another successful collaboration of two cultures.
There are 25 different pizzas currently on the Street Pizza menu, including a dessert pizza combining Banana, Pear, and Almond, which I did not try on this occasion. Also several classic pasta combinations and Italian-style salads, such as the Caprice of tomato/ Basil and Mozzarella, a cold cuts platter with some familiar ingredients such as Prosciutto, Salami, good cheese and pickles.
We sampled two very good side dishes too, Zucchini fries which are essentially crumbed and deep fried batons of Zucchini served with a dipping sauce of mayonnaise and ketchup. These were seriously good, crisp exterior, moist inside, the sauce a perfect accompaniment for these deep fried beauties. And Siracha wings liberally doused in the internationally famous Siracha chili sauce from Chonburi province east of Bangkok. Very simple and very good.
During my time here I had the pleasure of chatting to Soya, whom along with her husband Varuth created Street Pizza some seven years ago. She shared her philosophy of listening to her clients and developing new products and services with the sole purpose of satisfying them and meeting their needs.
It soon became obvious as patrons arrived for dinner and as Soya was constantly being called away to welcome and great these familiar and unfamiliar faces and to ensure that each guest was receiving appropriate service, that this is Street Pizza’s recipe.
This recipe includes plenty of integrity, handfuls of good quality ingredients, well-trained and compassionate staff, a simple menu tailored to the wants of its market, and a romantic Mediterranean flavored building that somehow reflects the genes of Italy and Thailand. It was about 7:30pm when I left Street Pizza. It was nearly full. It was already full of atmosphere though, the kind that welcomes, and satisfies.
Written By Luke, E-Table Asia In Chiang Mai