|Mix and match: Two toppings on one pizza - mushrooms, egg and spinach pizza. VNS Photo Mỹ Hà
by Nguyễn Mỹ Hà
Pizzas from 4Ps have become a highlight in our culinary lives these days. But not just pizzas, their noodles, appetizers and desserts are great to look at and taste delicious. A trip to the restaurant is worth waiting for and can be a reward for accomplishments at school for children.
I make pizzas at home and bake them in our electric oven. My children and their friends love them every birthday party. My daughter used to be very thin and was very difficult to feed.
She ate my pizzas, of course, but after tasting Pizza 4Ps’ five-cheese version, she wouldn’t go back to mine.
“Mommy, can I have pizza this weekend, I had good marks at school and I’ve learned by heart all my piano exercises?” she would ask. For her, pizza means Pizza 4Ps’ five-cheese.
On Sunday, we all went to the joint on Phan Kế Bính St, a spacious two-storey establishment. The design is simple yet creative, comfortable yet fancy enough. It’s much more than just a pizzeria.
|At work: The kitchen seen from the second floor.
We were a big group, so booking is a must. Our number of people swelled so I had to rebook, and listen to this – we were told how long we could have the table for. I wonder if any other pizzeria out there has such a tight booking schedule.
We ordered pizzas, five-cheese of course (VNĐ280,000) that has parmesan, camembert, mozzarella, blue cheese and taleggio. The pizza came out with a little jar of honey. I’ve eaten in many Italian-run restaurants and have never seen them do this. The children loved the thin crust and melted cheese so much – the food was gone in two, maybe three, musical notes.
Like many food trends, a restaurant does not necessarily have to be a cultural ambassador of that country. Hà Nội had several established pizza places run by Italians before Pizza 4Ps came to town. Owned by a Japanese couple, the company has a cheese workshop in Đà Lạt that provides all their restaurants with cheese.
The crust is super thin, the raised rim perfectly shaped. The cheese would drip when you pick up your piece, yet it has a delicate elegance. Is this the Japanese touch to the dish, the restaurant, and above all, the concept? I don’t have the answer. But we keep wanting to have it and wanting to come back. My only criticism for the crust is that it needs to be a little more crispy since it’s fired in a traditional brick oven.
After the first location opened in one of the most expensive parts of town on Lý Quốc Sư St, 4Ps has established their signature look with a brick oven in the centre of the restaurant. The image of the oven, simple wooden tables and chairs gives us the feeling and that every cent we spend here is worth it.
Next came spaghetti bolognese (VNĐ140,000) with seasonal house made smoked burata. Spaghetti bolognese is another classic Italian dish that has become popular in Việt Nam’s cities. Children tend to like it more than our traditional rice. The portion was quite big, so we shared, which is also the point of going out to dine in a group. Sharing food, among sharing other things, could be our first way to teach children to be open, caring and not selfish.
In February, the first restaurant that opened in Hà Nội back in September 2015 closed its doors. But three others are still functioning after four years. When the first restaurant opened on Lý Quốc Sư, it took two weeks to get a table, while it took a week in HCM City. Over time, 4Ps establishments lost the thrill attached to its arrival in Hà Nội, but the good word about the food, service and location kept growing. The delivery service is prompt to the minute. I have booked pizza to be picked up at 4.50pm and when I arrived at the Lý Quốc Sư joint before, or Phan Kế Bính now, my food was ready and the wait time was maybe two minutes.
We ordered a mixed mushroom and egg and spinach on one pizza. The mushroom side was great, and egg and spinach resembled the quiche Lorraine, but I preferred quiche.
Recently, people started talking about fried tofu and shrimp paste, inspired by one of Hà Nội’s signature dish of bún đậu & mắm tôm, and 4Ps latest creation, but it takes more guts for me to try it.
For desserts, we ordered Macha brulee, (VNĐ70,000) and house-made Mascarpone Creamy Tiramisu (VNĐ85,000). If you want to take your food home, a deposit of VNĐ100,000 is requested for each plate. I picked the desserts but had to leave early. The kids said they were great.
Sharing our experience with great cheese from 4Ps with my friend who has been living in Holland for 20 years, she said: “Send your kid over here, I’ll feed her with cheese to her heart’s content,” to which my child later respond, “No, thanks. I want to be home with you, mommy, and they don’t have Pizza 4Ps there.”
May be she’s not fully aware of what she’s talking about, but innocence is bliss, isn’t it? VNS