“Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes – small, large, circle, square, thin crust, thick crust, stuffed crust, extra toppings.” – Anonymous
ABOUT THE BRAND:
Mr. Aditya Shah, the owner of this ‘only vegetarian’ pizza chain, started the first outlet of Juno’s Pizza at Kemps Corner 8 years ago and has opened 7 more outlets ever since; this one in Ghatkopar East being the newest – opening its doors to public on the 1st of September this year. Moreover, two more outlets are soon coming up in Malad and Borivali too, respectively! Juno’s is said to be named after the brand owner’s younger brother Mr. Kushal (pet name – Juno) as it was his brother’s idea to start a pizza chain selling their grandmother’s home-made pizzas.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
The owner (in spite of having no hospitality background whatsoever) has his grandma’s recipes as the strong foundation for this pizza chain. Having said that, I must also add that the pizza dough and the pizza sauces (containing no preservatives, artificial flavouring or food colouring agents whatsoever) are all made in-house from scratch. To sum it up, I wouldn’t really classify their pizzas as gourmet – they serve pan pizzas like the older and more known pizza chains – Domino’s & Pizza Hut, only are much, much better owing to their exceptionally well done crusts, generous amounts of good quality cheese and fresh and crunchy toppings. The fact that their pizzas succeeded to please a ‘gourmet pizza’ Nazi (plus a hardcore carnivore) like me is reason enough for you to go and check ‘em out!
Their home-made tomato sauce is more on the sweeter side with very slight or almost unnoticeable tang (speaking loud and clear of the owner’s Gujarati origins) which pairs extremely well with spicy and sharp flavoured toppings like paprika, olives, jalapeños, etc. as compared to the toppings having a sweet or a relatively mellow flavour like corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc. So, go ahead and order a pizza that strikes a good balance between toppings belonging to both the categories and you won’t be disappointed!
Located right outside the railway station, this little 18-seater outlet housing merely 7 tables is brightly lit and cutely styled with minimalistic décor in the form of funny quotes and captions on the walls and some greenery to add to its charm. For the limited area that this outlet is spread across, there’s adequate space to move around (even if not with much ease when the outlet is at its full capacity) – yet another example of thoughtful space management. A flight of stairs on the other side of the dining hall leads you to their kitchen upstairs.
Cream Of Pesto revealed a sharp minty and slightly peppery flavour of basil with just a touch of sweetness and could have easily been a hit, if it wasn’t for its runny consistency. On the other hand, people who tasted the Cream Of Mushroom have been raving about it (I couldn’t, since I’m allergic to mushrooms).
Ice Berg Salad
This was an absolutely hearty and creamy-crunchy salad loaded with plenty of veggies; perfect for anyone preferring a healthy and light appetizer before gorging on their pizzas.
5 Cheese Garlic Bread
While the flavour of garlic in them was quite mellow, they were overloaded with five different varieties of cheese (sadly, one of them was cheese sauce). However, they let out a subtle nutty aroma and a very well balanced combination of nutty-sweet, sharp and faint salty notes.
PIZZAS – GRANDMA’S 1MM THIN CRUST:
A stringy, springy, nutty and milky-sweet combination of four different cheeses and spicy red paprika on a crunchy and supple crust that this was, it was undoubtedly the star of the meal! I would still suggest that they use cheeses tasting strikingly different from one another to take this to yet another level of awesomeness!
This was a delight to taste owing to the faint pungent undertones of garlic, faint bitter tones of crunchy bell pepper dices and oodles of stringy and springy cheese on yet another crunchy and supple thin-crust; only could have been much better. Adding some olives as toppings would definitely fix this one, in my opinion.
PIZZAS – THICK CRUST:
What I really loved about their thick crust pizzas was that the crust was pillow-y soft and supple (owing to the plenty of cheese) with a slight crunch (and not at all chewy). While the flavour of garlic was again very mellow, the juicy tang of the cherry tomatoes and the mild crunch of green and yellow zucchini added more character to the pizza. However, the lingering sweet aftertaste of onions quite effectively overpowered the rest of the flavours.
HAPPIZZA (SMALL PIZZAS):
These were small, 6 inch pizzas (more on the lines of a value-for-money meal deal similar to that of Pizza Mania combos offered by Domino’s) with a thick yet appealingly soft and cushiony crust. The Easy Plain Cheesy (owing to the generous amounts of cheese) was undoubtedly a better treat than the Tomato Corn. However, the harissa sauce base (which is sure to please the ones who prefer more comforting and familiar Indian curry like flavours in their pizzas) can be quite an acquired taste and I personally don’t prefer that on pizzas.
The Penne pasta shells were very squashy and easily tearing apart (clearly indicating that they were overcooked) and the sauce had a bit more salt than my liking.
The fusilli, on the other hand, was neither too mushy nor too chewy (adequately cooked to a somewhat al dente texture) and the sharp minty and slightly peppery flavour of pesto further ensured that this one turned out to be a hearty treat.
While it rightly had a bitter-sweet flavour with a mesmerizing robust richness of coffee, it completely missed out on the delicate, light and creamy consistency – being way too dense (more on the lines of a right-outta-the-fridge cheesecake consistency) instead.
This moist, dense, fudgy, warm, rich and bitter-sweet chocolate brownie drizzled all over with plenty of chocolate sauce and finished off in style with plenty of almond slivers on top was an irresistibly delicious treat that so effortlessly melted in the mouth!
The Chili Berry Pitcher was clearly the winner amongst all the beverages owing to its sweet-tart flavour and the green chillies letting out a hint of spice towards the end of every sip! A MUST have, indeed! The Grandma’s Lemonade was again refreshing in all its simplicity. The Oreo Shake (packing the flavour of oreo cookies spot on) was a better treat compared to the Banana Caramel Shake (which tasted more of banana with hardly any flavour of caramel). However, I shouldn’t really be complaining because – while I absolutely love bananas, I don’t quite like the flavour of caramel anyway! Jokes apart, the latter wasn’t really true to its name.
The service was extremely heart-warming and welcoming owing to the ever courteous and friendly owner and the attentive, efficient, well groomed and cheerful staff. The fact that the staff was ever willing and keen to take feedback speaks a lot about their concerned attitude and its very much appreciated.
Food Quality – 3.75/5
Food Quantity – 4/5
Ambience – 3.5/5
Service – 4.5/5
VFM – NA (This meal was courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to sample their menu).
Visit Date: September 5th, 2017