Recently reopened in May, 2018 at the Claymore Connect, the California Pizza Kitchen is sporting a brand new look with several additions to the menu, including low-calorie nutrient-rich power bowls, a new pizza, a pasta and several hand-crafted beverages.
The Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower ($13.90) is a good way to start. There’s no denying the power of the cauliflower. It’s everywhere and it’s everything. I’ve had the florets pureed for soup, roasted like meat, mashed like potatoes & now here at CPK, batter-dipped, fried and tossed with housemade Sriracha buffalo sauce. For some reason, it makes me think of Cheesels. Maybe it’s the colour or maybe you can never quite eat just a little. It has a crumbly texture with bits still holding a little crunch. I strongly suggest requesting it with the ranch dressing on the side because the sauce coating is already plenty, and unless you eat it up real fast, deep-fried just doesn’t stay very good very long if you let it sit in a puddle.
Targetted at calorie-counters, the new power bowls total 650 calories or less. The Banh Mi Bowl ($17.90) has grilled chicken, carrot, quinoa and baby kale – everybody’s favourite superfoods – among other greens. It’s crunchy and fresh and very lightly seasoned even if you go whole hog with the dressing. It does very little to remind me of the French-Vietnamese street sandwich and tastes a little too ‘raw’ for my liking with the uncooked bean sprouts dominating the palate.
The Peking Duck ($23.90) pizza is something you need to get into with an open mind. The unusual combination of cheese and hoisin sauce can be a challenge or a strange delight. This pizza is decidedly more sweet than savoury, and you get the constant interaction of spicy fresh slivered scallions with crispy wonton skins in every bite. I had this popular CPK classic with the regular crust. All the pizzas are available with the thin crust option for an additional $2.
Comparing the two, I prefer the new kid on the block, the Sicilian ($26.90). There is almost too much meat on it. JK, no such thing! The topping to crust ratio is great. You get plenty of meat: Italian sausage, salami and spicy Capicola ham – the star of the show that had to be specially sourced and imported for this menu item. I like that there is nothing subtle here. The flavours are bold, spicy and very rich. Ask your server nicely for a little more fresh basil. You’ll like how it balances the saltiness.
If you prefer simpler, subtler flavours, try the Wild Mushroom Strozzapreti ($24.50). It’s prepared aglio olio, with pan-sauteed assorted mushrooms. The strozzapreti or ‘priest-stranglers’ are slippery and slurp-able like spaghetti, but trap sauce and flavour like a different animal with all its irregular curls and twists and offer a chewy mouthfeel that I quite enjoy.
I got to sample 3 of the 4 desserts on the menu but instead of mentioning each one in passing, I’ve chosen to dedicate the paragraph to the Butter Cake ($12.90). I like it. I’ll even quote the menu for effect. It’s a ‘decadent cake created with a hint of sour cream and an added layer of cheesecake.’ It has a nice crispy golden crust but it’s moist and buttery AF in the middle and all at once sweet and salty. It’s quite a lot of cake so it’s probably sensible to attack it tag team, or you simply have to make up your mind to no longer care. LOL. Frankly, I think adding ice-cream is bit of an overkill. It’s totally good enough on its own ‘served warm with fresh whipped cream’.
Leave your diets at home and go to CPK especially for their pizza or pasta. I know I would. Bring the family or the whole office party so you can really have fun ordering a cross-section of the menu. Whatever you do, remember to save space for Butter Cake! And if you’re looking for a good lunch deal, here’s one just for the early birds: Between 11:30am to 12:30pm, order from any of the 4 classic pizzas: The Original BBQ Chicken, Mushroom Pepperoni & Sausage, Untraditional Cheese or California Veggie for just $12++. A maximum of 2 pizzas are allowed per table per visit and it is available for dine-in only.
California Kitchen Pizza
Claymore Connect #01-18, 442 Orchard Road Singapore 238879
Tel: +65 6836 0110
You may be interested in…
–Senso Ristorante & Bar, Club Street: Sunday Prosecco Brunch Starting from $68++ (So Worth it!)
–Pizza Express, Scotts Square: Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them
–Ristorante Luka, Tanjong Pagar: Excellent Italian Food by Japanese Chef Takashi Okuno
–Equilibrium, Capitol Piazza: Modern Italian Small Plates, Sweet Cocktails, & Modernist Desserts
Written by Pierre Goh.