CRUST GOURMET PIZZA BAR
AUSSIE WONDER CHAIN RISES FROM DOWN UNDER
Don’t stress too much trying to figure out exactly what an Australian pizza is. Rest assured it has nothing to do with vegemite or kangaroo. Heck, they don’t even use the word “shrimp”—it’s “prawn” mate. And new from the land down under is Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar who aims to set the standard of what a quality pizza pie is all about.
This isn’t your yummy New York pizza, lets be honest, that’s in a league all its own. But Crust, Australia’s number one gourmet pizza brand, knows how to make a superior pizza. They like to think of themselves as a chain of boutique pizza bars and their U.S. flagship restaurant in Studio City is quickly becoming a neighborhood gem.
During our recent visit to the comfy and cozy shop, we were determined to see what all the fuss is about. We started with the oversized Aussie Prawn, a huge salad that’s perfect to share or big enough to last you several meals making it quite the bargain for $11.50 considering how enormous it is. Loaded with prawns, thumbs up for not skimping on the delectable crustaceans. Do take my advice and substitute their bland oil dressing for the Pomegranate & Citrus Vinaigrette, which really brings the salad to life.
Then it was time for the main event. Bring on the gourmet pizzas! Determined to make a dent on their vast menu of pizzas, we didn’t see the point in ordering the standard Pepperoni or Margherita Pizza. We all know what those are about and we all have our favorite go-to places to satisfy that craving. Crust is all about venturing to the land down under and living a little.
We were told that the Peri Peri Pizza is their must-have dish so we ordered one. Made with marinated chicken breast, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and Bocconcini topped with Peri Peri sauce on a tomato base, this is one satisfying pie. Personally, I don’t find the idea of a chicken pizza that exciting, but this one, especially with their Peri Peri sauce, really hits the mark.
Next, we tried the Angus Prawn Pizza, prepared with certified Black Angus beef, marinated Tiger Prawns, fresh asparagus, red peppers and spring onions drizzled with Hollandaise sauce and seasoned salt on a tomato base. Touchdown! This was a definite winner and my personal favorite. Every slice features tasty bites of beef and an oversized tiger prawn. Again, their special sauce just takes the taste over the edge.
Looking for a tasty non-meat option, we gave the Roast Potato Pizza a try. Made with roasted potatoes, roasted red peppers, Spanish onions, toasted pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, Gorgonzola blue cheese on a tomato base garnished with fresh herbs, this is a hearty selection to say the least. Want some carbs to go with your carbs? Filling and satisfying, it suffered a bit from its tough and tasty competition, especially the previous Angus Prawn Pizza.
Stuffed and ready to roll down Ventura Boulevard, we couldn’t leave without giving dessert a go, and that meant ordering the Rocky Road Calzone, which, believe it or not, is a calzone filled with mud cake, dark chocolate, marshmallows and cherries. OMG! This is decadence personified but ever so good! Too big for just one person, unless you’re craving food coma, split it and indulge. Yes, shame may follow, but it will be well worth it.
While Crust has recently expanded into New Zealand and Singapore, there are plans for two more local stores to open before the end of this year. Look for new locations in and around Beverly Hills. And good news, the Studio City Crust will soon be adding beer and wine, which will really be a hit with customers. BTW, all pizzas can be made gluten free and any pie can be custom made as you see fit.
Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar is located at 11928 Ventura Blvd in Studio City. Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 11:30 am to 11 pm; Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am to 12 am. Call 818-980-0008. Free valet parking and free delivery within a two-mile radius.