Hailed as possibly the best pizzeria in New York City, Motorino has arrived in Manila and has set up shop in Greenbelt 3, Makati. Having also recently opened its second branch in Hong Kong, it seems like pizzerias are slowly mushrooming in the Eastern side of the world.
With Mozza at the helm of Singapore’s pizzeria scene, and the homegrown Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza responsible for impossible lunchtime queues in Salcedo Village, can Motorino curb the palates of Filipinos who have been so accustomed to thin-crust, thick-crust, and even stuffed-crust American-style pies?
Motorino’s Neapolitan-style pizzas sport airy, sturdy crusts with molten, soupy centers.
Motorino’s crust is none of the three. Imperfect in shape and sporting a doughy texture with the cornicione (the end crust of Neapolitan pizzas where the air is pushed into) speckled with char from the wood-fired oven—a signature move of Motorino’s—Chef Mathieu Palombino uses the Neapolitan technique with his pizzas, creating airy, sturdy crusts with molten, soupy centers.
Possibly a new experience for Filipinos, I ask Palombino how his observations of Filipinos eating Motorino’s pizzas rally up to validating his daring introduction of Neapolitan-style pizzas in the country. “The good one is when you see them bite into the pizza and…” Palombino holds an invisible pizza slice to his mouth and bites into it—closes his eyes, nods, opens his eyes, takes another bite, closes his eyes, and nods again. “They eat, and they do it, and they eat again,” he enthusiastically tells me.
“I found Asia very deprived of serious pizza. In a town like this (Manila), there’s room for a pizzeria in every street,” says Palombino.
“I found Asia very deprived of serious pizza. Like Motorino in Hong Kong is the first pizzeria in the history of China! In Manila, there are only one or two pizzerias I’ve heard about. But I think there’s a lot of room for pizza in the Philippines,” says Palombino. Motorino’s pizzas are a testament of how the coming together of fresh and simple ingredients can yield incredible results when done right. When talking about the growing pizzeria scene in the Philippines, Palombino says, “it’s incredible, I think.” He continues, “In a town like this, there’s room for a pizzeria in every street.”