Last Updated: January 22, 2021
Starting this article proved to be harder than most, and that was when I realised that it’s because my visit to Madd Pizza was spurred by no more than a random stumble on our dearest and most beloved Google search. There was no context to my curiosity, which makes the discovery even more uncertain, especially when I learned that it’s by the same folks behind Blu Jaz Cafe. I had nil expectations, but traipsing down to Haji Lane on a weekday afternoon was certainly refreshing.
It was silly of me to almost miss Madd Pizza’s entrance; its facade was strewn with blaring graffiti, matching its equally neon-splashed decor indoors. There is no apparent running theme to this place, only that its visage is meant to be wild and unprohibited. I suppose it’s a literal play owing to its name, but I won’t lie—it’s quite distracting. Let’s just hope the Roma-style pizzas here aren’t as eccentric.
The kitchen is helmed by master baker Neagu Gavril Virgil, who births all the pizza dough and bread at Madd Pizza. You may order the pizzas by the slice or as a whole, and so I appreciate them embracing the solo diner. The first to reach the table is a classic Marinara (S$8 per slice, S$35 per whole pizza). The roughly sliced garlic was a promising sign, and as I sank my teeth into a slice, the familiar sweetness of tomatoes waved ‘hello’. It was a lingering welcome which I didn’t mind, but it took time for me to embrace the thicker-than-usual dough.
Granted, it’s by no means meant to be a ‘thin crust pizza’, so it’d be unfair for me to judge it harshly. What I was secretly assessing, however, was the tomato sauce. I was informed that all their sauces are imported from Italy—by reputable brands, I’m sure—but I couldn’t deny that it saddened me to hear that one of their founding elements comes from a can (or bottle).
I attempted to shrug off this disheartening news in preparation for the Quattro Formaggi (S$12 per slice, S$52 per whole pizza). Blanketed in taleggio, provola, gorgonzola, and parmesan, this was a heart-stopping slice. There was little distinction between dough and cheese, with both providing light jaw work. My disinterest in this pizza slice grew quickly and I was impatient to move on to the next offering.
Sandwiched between housemade focaccia bread, the Truffle Pesto & Mascarpone (S$12) earned easy recognition. The definitive aroma of truffle paste made its presence known even before I clicked the shutter button, but the nagging reminder that the spread isn’t created in Madd Pizza’s kitchen haunted me. For a straightforward dish, I could not fault it; the focaccia was unyielding, only to soften slightly at the border where truffle pesto-mascarpone spread and bread met.
Just as I was about to wave the white flag for this lacklustre meal, a Bomboloni (Filled) (S$3) appeared. I’d been eyeing this menu item the moment I was seated, so my inner dessert devil was celebrating upon its arrival. I’ve had my share of deflated bombolonis, especially with the unexpected surge of this dessert of late—saccharine ones, bland ones, mushy ones. The Custard sphere I dove into was gleefully none of those things; it was airy and light, piped with a custard that had traces of vanilla.
If Madd Pizza is a consideration, it would be for their Bomboloni (I’m afraid).
Exploring new places with no expectation seems to work wonders for perspective, and I’m able to pass judgement with less severity than I would otherwise. Visiting Madd Pizza left a dim impression, only just saved by their pillowy bomboloni. While this pizza place isn’t a haven for thin-crust advocates, it does warrant a try from food venturers who are up for novelty and newness. As for me, I’d gladly swing by for a take-away order of half a dozen bombolonis, please.
Expected Damage: S$15 – S$25 per pax
Our Rating: 2 / 5
19, 20 & 21 Haji Lane, Singapore 189212
19, 20 & 21 Haji Lane, Singapore 189212