This is the Ozone, the Polo mint of the pizza world. Yes, pizza. At the California Pizza Works at 25B Tran Cao Van street in District 1 you can order from a wide selection of pizzas, even make your own from the central self-service section, or plump for a theme-topped pizza or, in the Ozone’s case, theme-filled. The Ozone is more bread cake than pizza. Themed fills are named after cities on the menu. This Ozone pizza is filled with Rome; roasted garlic, roasted eggplant, roasted onions, roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh oregano, olive oil, mozzarella and fontina cheese on ricotta cheese sauce. It’s topped with poppy seeds and carraway seeds – way too many of the latter on this visit.
This is the medium size. It’s a novel take on a pizza, but I found it mucho heavio. I guess the weight problem is because the pizza-with-the-hole has a higher dough quotient. And on a blisteringly hot Saigon day that’s like taking a couple of valium for lunch. More satisfying, less doze inducing, is the design/build/eat section of California Pizza Works.
The ingredients list is immense. The overhead signage advises you against ‘piling high’. The pizza above is topped with chorizo, roasted tomato, roasted onion with mozzarella and a ‘classic’ tomato sauce base. It’s enjoyable, but the bread base is lacklustre. Overall, it’s fresher tasting than the other Saigon pizzerias we’ve sampled, but it’s not noticeably any better. But this pizza is very quick to arrive – from finish building to finish cooking took about ten minutes by my reckoning. Wow. The deisgn-your-own theme is fun and I’ll be back for that alone. Plus it’s a very kiddie friendly dining option – the only kiddie friendly joint I can think of in Saigon – there’s drawing paper, crayons and a wee playground outfront. Here’s a review from the local press. And more snaps.