The world remains outraged since the time pineapple was introduced as a topping for pizzas.
Try ordering one with the fruit and you will have the entire restaurant tut-tutting your choice.
That however, has not put a spanner in the wheel of bastardisation of this most famous import from Italy, tossing in the favourite word – innovation.
It was supposed to be a seemingly harmless, one-time experiment to appeal to the desi palate that initiated paneer tikka, tandoori chicken, paneer makhani, vindaloo and other Indian flavours on the menu.
It is endless now, bordering on outlandish. How else will you see a pizza dripping with sweet, syrupy jalebi or small pieces of gulab jamuns?! There is no stopping chefs inventing their own medley of toppings while purists squirm in their seats. But isn’t food all about letting your imagination loose?
“Undoubtedly! Pizza in current times is like a painter’s canvas on which chefs are creating unimaginable combinations and variants.
"Indian diners are eagerly digging into silces of Chettinad Chicken, Amritsari Meat and more.” says Rohit Narang, Founder and Chef at Tossin Pizza.
He seasons his pizzas with the Rajasthani delicacy Laal Maas, which he calls the Indian version of Lamb Bolognese, as well as international dishes like spicy chicken satay and peri peri chicken.
Among other stranger things being passed off as pizza are those that have generous dollops of curries and sauces that are not even remotely Italian.
For instance Plum By Bent Chair serves Green Curry Pizza besides using various dips. Corporate chef Sagar Bajaj protectively markets the melange, “The pizza today is travelling and changing with evolving palates. A good rolled dough can be sauced with any flavour from barbeque, chunky tomato to chipotle, and Indian gravies. From pizzas with Asian toppings with edamame, soy and tobiko to butter chicken, falafel, zatar and hummus.”
Also on the bandwagon of makeover are dips as condiments. At Molecule Air Bar in Gurugram, they serve pizza with a fondue cheese sauce, which is served as a dip along with the pizza. Some healthy versions are also flying out of the oven at Greenr Cafe.
They have Manali Super Hemproot Pizza that has beetroot, hemp seeds, roasted eggplant, Thai red chilli, rocket leaves, feta shroomballs and truffle oil. “Shroomballs is our signature plant protein, which is a combination of over a dozen ingredients to create a vegan version of a meatball.
Our approach is to recreate all layers of the dish with wholesome ingredients while preserving both the taste and integrity of the food,” says Nitin Dixit, one of the founders.
The award for the most bizarre combination, meanwhile, goes to dessert pizzas at Friction, The Drinkery, with Tossin’s sweet-savoury creation following close on its heels.
The former has introduced Jalebi Pizza that the restaurant claims is a “hot seller”. The dish has a layer of jalebi spread on the pizza, and gets ordered both as main course and dessert option.
Tossin, on the other hand, makes pizza with peanut butter base topped with peri peri and drizzle of honey and sesame seeds. Needless to say, to connoisseurs of Italian cuisine, these experiments will always be sacrilege.