Friday, April 18, 2014

Review: Malvern Pizza & Beer, Malvern PA

For an office event, a colleague brought in several pizzas from Malvern Pizza & Beer. The pies were well-received, and I had the chance to take several slices home to re-heat and evaluate.

I had one slice of pepperoni, two mushroom, and several plain. I added some Chianti-infused slices of hard salami to the plain slices. I heated them on a perforated pan for about 10 minutes, then gave them a few minutes under the broiler for top browning.  I did not eat any of the pizza when it was first delivered, but I'm pretty sure my re-heat improved it from its original state.

This pizza has an appearance that is different than the typical storefront pizza joint. The crust had a big thick cornicione on it, and for a moment I thought it might be Greek style. However, one bite disspelled that notion. The crust was thick, yet crisp, light, and very airy. I first felt the crust was akin to a thinner, round, Sicilian crust, but in fact this crust has more in common with the "bakery style" crust found on Philly region tomato pies.

You can click HERE for a full primer on varieties of tomato pie, but the Philly version (aka "Conshy" tomato pie) is a rectangular "pizza" made typically at a bakery, cooked in a pan, with a thick yet light and airy crust that may or may not be crisp. It's generally meant to be eaten at room temperature, and it is topped with a lot of sauce and little to no cheese.

I haven't verified it, but this pizza seems to have been cooked in a round pan, with some oil underneath to give it crispness. I enjoyed the texture of this crust, and it was sufficiently sturdy to hold the modest amounts of sauce and the overload of cheese riding on top.
Cross section of the cornicione

The flavors were modest. The sauce, buried under the cheese, was barely a role player. The cheese seemed to be mostly conventional mozzarella and stayed bland even with my broiler browning. The crust added little flavor. We added red pepper flakes and salt to give this pie some pop.

Overall, Malvern Pizza is a well-constructed pie. The toppings adhered well to the crust, there were no soggy spots, and I appreciate the unique approach to the crust. But I'm lukewarm in general about a Philly tomato pie, so I can't get too excited about the bakery style crust; it is too much like toasted white bread. I'd probably enjoy this much more as a breakfast pizza with bacon, egg, and cheese instead of red sauce.

If you enjoy Philly tomato pie, you may well enjoy this pie. Malvern Pizza & Beer gets high marks from other online reviewers, and they value the service, the beer, and the take-out and delivery options. It's a good place to have in the neighborhood.

Malvern Pizza on Urbanspoon

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