AWARD-WINNING PIZZA – CHEZ KYTALY
by Chené Koscielny
Photographs by Caro Blackwell of Tasteofsavoie.com
What makes for an award-winning pizza? Is it in the thickness of the crust, the exoticness of the toppings or the gooey-ness of the cheese?
That’s what we wanted to find out this week as we visited Kytaly, an Italian restaurant in the banking district near Plainpalais, which has just been chosen as number 6 on the list of the 50 top pizzerias in Europe (excluding Italy).
We had a moment of panic when we arrived during a rainy lunchtime to find the tiny restaurant buzzing and bursting at the seams – so much so, that our hostess informed us they’d run out of pizza! WHAT??
The unexpected lunchtime rush had meant that the pizza dough, freshly prepared in-house twice a day, nearly wasn’t enough to stretch to the demand for the prize-winning pizzas. Luckily, the chef took one look at our faces and miraculously found us the last pizza in the house – every bite exceeded our expectations!
Not only has Kytaly been voted number 6 on the list of pizza places, but the pizza we were about to try had been voted as the best pizza in the 2017 Where to eat Pizza guide, known as the ‘pizza bible.’
SO, WHAT MAKES A GOOD PIZZA?
As it turns out the best pizza is not the most dressed-up, but the humblest margherita stripped down to the most basic, but superior quality ingredients – burrata mozzarella, a tomato sauce made from the best quality tomatoes in Naples – Le “Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio AOP”
and a basil sauce: The margherita Sbagliata (CHF24).
“This is not gourmand pizza – it’s all about simplicity – and fresh, local quality products,” says our hostess, Christina.
The Italian handmade flour – specially created for Kytaly – is prepared into a crust that is thick and chewy and deeply satisfying. The crust is not crispy, but thick and moist.
Instead of mixing all the ingredients together, the Kytaly recipe entails layering the pizza with cheese first, before it goes into the oven, then adding the tomato strips, with another burst in the oven and finally, the basil – so, that the individual tastes are identifiable in every bite.
THE ULTIMATE PIZZA SLICE TEST
The ultimate test for good pizza, apparently, is when you lift the pizza slice out of the plate, the thin end of the slice should collapse – because of just the right texture and weight. Ours did!
As for the taste – fresh, chewy, gooey and simply delicious.
THE STORY BEHIND THE PIZZA
The Kytaly pizza is the recipe of Italian pizzaelo Franco Pepe from Ciaazzo, a small hilltop village near Naples. Pepe is acknowledged as one of the best known pizza makers in the world. When Allesandro Bortesi had the idea to set up an Italian restaurant in Geneva, it became a family affair and his mother
stumbled across Pepe’ s world famous pizzas during a pizza tasting in Italy. She followed him to his village and convinced him to share the secret of his famous pizzas. That was the start of a close, ongoing relationship, which means that the Kytaly chefs are personally trained by Pepe.
Kytaly was started by Allesandro, a former architecht, who wanted to swop his office job for something more creative. The restaurant was opened four years ago with the support of his family, including his mum, Cristina, who was our hostess. Cristina now manages this restaurant in Geneva, while Allesandro focuses his attention on a second recently opened Kytaly restaurant in Hong Kong.
By the way Kytaly – is a blend between the word Ki (Japanese energy) and Italy.
He couldn’t have left the Geneva restaurant in better hands. His mum’s passion for serving the best quality food and giving personal attention to every customer will guarantee its continued place in the spotlight.
DON’T FORGET THE PASTA
Of course, the first time you visit Kytaly, you have to order a pizza, but not to mention the pastas would be unfair, as the two pastas we tried were equally deserving. The Cacio e pepe gamberi, lime is a combination of prawns, lime, a pecorino sauce and generous quantities of black pepper. The Summer menu ravioli is filled with a mix of burrata and ricotta and served on a creamy fresh tomato sauce and topped with marjoram.
Definitely worth trying. The pastas are around CHF30.
We had an inverted apricot cheesecake with an almond crumble – served in a cute glass jar. Not too sweet, surprisingly light – it was a great way of ending what was the highlight meal of our week.
Kytaly also serves a wide selection of cocktails, many featuring Campari and the front of the restaurant is a trendy bar area –with red background lighting – giving it a modern feel.
The restaurant was overflowing with several big tables during our visit, which made for an animated, albeit very noisy, ambiance.
Definitely worthy of the accolades. We loved the pizza and will be back for more.
12 Boulevard George Favon
Monday to Thursday 11h-15h and 18h – midnight
Friday: 11h-15h and 18h-02h
Food served from 19h30.
NOTE: Our meal was sponsored by Kytaly.