Do you need to be Italian to cook great Italian-inspired food? The answer is no. But it’s not a bad idea to apprentice under Enzo Coccia, a master pizzaiolo in Napoli, Italy either – that’s what 360 Degrees Pizza’s head pizzaiolo, Gilbert Ngigi, 27, did for a month.
Ngigi, who started as a waiter at Java, has worked his way up in the food-service industry and has finally found his passion – pizzas. If his pizzas aren’t enough of an indication of his passion and dedication for the craft, then a conversation of his different dough recipes will be.
“I have about eight recipes. Depending on the humidity and the time of year, I use a different one.”
Depending on the humidity, the amount of water that’s needed in the dough can change. Is the dough rising too fast or slow? What’s the moisture content? Is the dough becoming more rubber-bandy? All pertinent questions, but probably for many, will never matter unless you’re passionate and dedicated to your discipline like this rising Kenyan pizzaiolo much like the loyal staff at 360 Degrees Pizza, which has virtually almost a zero staff turnover. And it’s this dedication and passion that has amassed a devout following for 360 Degrees Pizza’s Italian-American offering.
360 Degrees Pizza is located at ABC Place, Waiyaki Way, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya
Reliably one of the most consistent restaurants in Nairobi, 360 Degrees Pizza has found much success in its Italian-American concept. Now the ABC Place restaurant is looking forward to finding more success in opening a new outlet in 2016 and captivating diners with its latest offering – a brunch menu.
Available only on the weekends from 8am to 3:30pm; the new menu moves through fruit plates, muesli, eggs benedict, calzones, waffles, pastries and cocktails. It’s not really a boring entrée/main/dessert affair so much as a casual place where diners can get a little or a lot of what they fancy – from eggs of any style to Chef’s frittata of the day, poached and baked.
The current one-page menu, which will most likely expand, on paper was mouth watering and it was aside from the House-made Chicken and Apple Sausage (KSh300) that arrived dry and weak on seasoning. The wow moment came when the wood-fired Breakfast Calzone (KSh900) filled with roasted peppers, scrambled eggs, arugula, cheddar and ricotta arrived perfectly puffed, pregnant and golden on top. The poached eggs simply oozed beautifully over the English Muffin with Potato Hash, and the Smoked Salmon of the classic Eggs Benedict (KSh1,200) was not unbearably salty. Things got even better when the Caramelized Banana Crepes (KSh550) were livened with Nutella and Whipped Cream, which arrived as a delicate trio of utterly soft and foldable indulgent sweet packages.
The food is generous, but never overwhelming. The menu covers breakfast and lunch – or brunch if you must – with an Italian-American twist. It’s nice to find a restaurant that’s doing something a bit different from the usual brunch affair, whilst providing a stylish and casual space with attentive and very prompt service, but not in a way that makes you feel rushed.
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