Rome’s high-end pizzas get an extra slice of sizzle at Bulgari Resort Dubai

“In pizza we trust,” reads the pink neon sign inside the famous Seu Pizza Illuminati restaurant in Rome, Italy.

This belief in the pie’s global appeal and enduring quality to surprise and seduce also permeates the brand’s international outpost at Bulgari Resort Dubai.

As part of the collaboration with the elegant Jumeirah Bay Island hotel, Seu Pizza Illuminati offers a selection of high-end pizzas from its Roman menu at the resort’s Il Cafe restaurant located on the edge of the marina.

The partnership is a success, with the brand landing the top spot on Dubai’s list of 50TopPizza awards last year. This is an online guide maintained by inspectors in Italy.

The local accolade joins a number of prestigious international awards that Seu Pizza Illuminati has racked up over the years, including a rare 3 Slices from an influential Italian foodie guide. Guide Pizzerie d’Italia Gambero Rosso in 2020, as well as an eighth place in the list of the 50 best pizzas in the world in 2019.

Behind the success is chef and co-founder Pier Daniele Seu.

Nicknamed “the gift of the pizza scene in Rome”, the Italian is cult, from diners to other pizzaiolos (pizzerias to the uninitiated) for his careful and innovative approach to Neapolitan pizzas. Such methods, including a 30-hour temperature-controlled dough proofing period, require Seu to travel regularly to Dubai for quality checks and to refresh the menu with seasonal produce.

“I’m not trying to break with tradition,” says Seu The National. “Although a lot has been said about pizza, there is still room to add something new to the conversation.

“I want to expand people’s perception of pizza and I can do that by constantly coming up with new seasonal pizzas and maybe even creating the ones I think people would enjoy before they know it. .”

New pizzas on the menu

Seafood lovers will probably appreciate the Rosso Di Mazara pizza.  Pawan Singh / The National

Starting Friday, Il Cafe’s menu will feature six new pizzas that will also serve as comfort food at cooler temperatures, in addition to the sumptuous touches befitting the Bulgari Resort Dubai exclusivity.

“Paying attention to the quality of ingredients is part of our philosophy,” says Seu. “While in the UAE it’s a bit different because the seasons don’t change as drastically as they do in Europe, we try to bring out in the pizzas the seasonality we are in.”

Half of the new dishes are vegetarian, and the menu also illustrates some of Seu’s daring ingredient combinations that have both thrilled and shocked pizza lovers in Rome.

The Rosso Di Mazara (Dh270), for example, has stracciatella cheese, red prawn tartare and pistachio squid ink. The presentation is elegant and vibrant with the six slices of the medium sized dish with a shrimp over bright creamy cheese.

Every bite makes an impact with ordinary dough strong enough to carry all the ingredients. It tastes fresh, tangy and can work as a nice starter to share.

“In Rome, we really made an impression with our seafood pizzas because it’s not very traditional. Some people were suspicious of what we were doing, but we showed that we could break that barrier if we focused on quality and flavor,” Seu said.

“With seafood pizzas, you add the toppings immediately after the dough comes out of the oven to make sure it’s as fresh as possible for the diners. Therefore, it takes longer to prepare, but the results are worth it.”

Parmigiana pizza at Seu Pizza Illuminati.  Pawan Singh / The National

The Parmigiana pizza (Dh150) – with its sharp, nutty flavored cheese, plus smoked provola cheese, tomato sauce and basil – is not only a vegetarian delight, but also partly responsible for the arrival of Seu Pizza Illuminati in Dubai.

“A person at Bulgari who takes care of the hotels is a vegetarian and he would come and eat in our restaurant because of our selections,” he explains. “It was from there that a conversation started coming to Dubai.

“We have always had this vision of giving pizza an international dimension capable of going beyond tradition and culture. We didn’t want any restrictions in how we make the pizza, which you have in Italy.”

The Italiana pizza is accompanied by veal ham and fior di latte cheese.  Pawan Singh / The National

The Italiana (Dh170) is full of quality products. The sharpness of the veal ham is offset by the milky textures of the fior di latte – a soft, lightly flavored cheese similar to mozzarella. The dollops of candied tomatoes are rich but not energizing, while the basil adds an earthy aroma.

“As in all languages, making pizza follows a certain set of codes. For example, you have tomatoes, mozzarella and a wood-fired oven. But within that you can be creative and try new things” , explains Seu.

“I want pizza to speak a modern language while respecting its tradition.”

Come back for more

Seuwarma pizza is inspired by Middle Eastern shawarma.  Pawan Singh / The National

This experimentation means the extension of a menu favorite, and the last pizza The National sampled during our visit.

Since arriving as part of Il Cafe’s menu updates earlier in the year, the Seuwarma (Dh150) has been a hit. While the idea of ​​shawarma-flavored chicken pizza isn’t entirely new, Seu elevates it with subtle twists and fresh produce.

Again, the crispy, chewy batter is baked to perfection. The marinated chicken, fior di latte and lemon zest form a powerful combination of flavor and texture, while the lettuce and drizzles of garlic sauce make the pie pop visually and on the taste buds.

“A lot of Gulf diplomats come to get that,” Seu says. “They say it reminds them of home and, for a chef, it’s a nice emotion to give with food.”

Updated: November 10, 2022, 2:46 p.m.

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