Al Solito Posto | The glory of pizza

The ingredients in a perfect pizza are not very different from the ones in an ordinary pizza. RACHEL ZAMMIT CUTAJAR heads down to Al Solito Posto to find out what makes a pizza truly extraordinary

Pizza has always been a favourite of the Maltese (and many others) and in Malta we have always had a good selection of pizzerias serving varying qualities of food. Since accession into the European Union we have seen a number of Italians heading south and setting up shop in Malta, bringing with them not only their expertise but also their superior ingredients.

While some people are in it simply for the money, seeing it as an easy business opportunity, others are in it for the glory – the glory of the perfect pizza. When anyone puts all of their passion into their job it shines through, and the world of pizza production is no different. At Al Solito Posto, you know that they are in it for the glory from the very first bite.

Their traditional pizzas are no more than pizza dough (made with flour, water and yeast) tomato sauce and mozzarella. With such a simple recipe, you’d think that every pizza is going to be the same, so how do Al Solito Posto make their pizza stand out so far from the crowd? 

At the end of a busy lunch session I sat down with the owners and the chef, sharing lunch and some secrets about what makes a perfect Neapolitan pizza. “The devil is in the detail,” they say. “You know you’ve done a good job with the dough when you can see the air bubbles in the crust,” X tells me, pointing out the gaps in the dough. “To do this everything has to be perfect. The dough undergoes 48 hours of fermentation in the fridge before it is cooked but we have to take it out of the fridge eight to 10 hours for the final rise and to ensure the temperature of the dough is right before we put it into the hot oven.” 

Biting into the first slice of pizza, I understand what he is talking about. The dough is soft and bread-like but light at the same time. The toppings of the first pizza were just a simple tomato sauce and quality mozzarella di bufala – traditional toppings that allow all of the flavours of the fermented dough to come through. 

The next pizzas to come were a little less traditional. Have you ever had a pizza with a black base? You may expect this to be burnt but nothing is further from the truth. Coloured with activated charcoal, this adds a healthier dimension to your regular pizza – and makes it look a little badass in the process! Activated charcoal has been known to prevent bloating and gas whilst also binding with toxins and removing them from the body, making this the world’s greatest hangover cure! 

The next pizza came on a green base. Coloured with spirulina, this one had some of the algae flavour come through, though this works perfectly with the grilled vegetables that topped this fresh looking pizza. The burrata on the top is totally optional, and you really don’t miss it if you forego it, making it a great option for vegans looking for that little bit of pizza indulgence. 

Next up was a more indulgent variety. Made on a base using seven different grains (for a healthier touch) this pizza was topped with scamorza, homemade sausage, spicy salami and pistachio cream, showing me what an extensive range of pizzas they are able to create. Of course any pizza can be made with any of the doughs that they serve.

No self-respecting Sicilian would have a restaurant and not serve pasta, so this is also on the menu at Al Solito Posto. We had a taste of housemade ‘busiata’ (a specialty from Trapani in Sicily where the owner is from) served with pistachio cream, gambero rosso di Mazzara del Vallo (the most intense Sicilian prawns) calamari and vongole. Of course there is also meat served as mains and for dessert pizza dough, cooked in a variety of ways, served with Nutella and white chocolate and, of course, a cannolo.

Open for three and a half years, Al Solito Posto, which can be translated to “at the usual place” has really become the usual place for pizza lovers to meet up and enjoy a slice of traditional Italian fare. 

Al Solito Posto

Milner Street, Sliema

Tel: 2713 0669

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