Fusion food has become a fixture of restaurants in California, with many different flavors and cuisines blending in ways that reflect the state’s cultural demographics. Curry Pizza House is an example of this fusion style, combining Indian cuisine with American pizza.
The warm sound of friendly chatter and the steady throbbing of bass in the background greet customers as they walk inside this newly opened restaurant.
Located at 320 University Ave., Curry Pizza House is in the middle of a downtown packed with restaurants. Even so, it is hard to miss. With no front wall, the interior of the entire restaurant beckons to curious pedestrians. A painting of a woman with flowing hair covers one wall, while five bright flat-screen TVs playing live sports dominate the other walls. The clinking of glasses can be heard from the bar at the back of the restaurant. Loud, upbeat music and the muted sounds of people speaking and laughing give the restaurant a generally energetic vibe.
Service at Curry Pizza House is quick: pizzas arrive in less than 15 minutes, which is impressive considering the wide range of menu items.
The menu consists of options that reflect the fusion of American and Indian cuisine. Items range from wings, classic pizzas and salads to samosas, curries and kulfi. Most popular, however, are the curry pizzas, which combine unique Indian flavors with the usual pizza toppings — or at least we thought they would.
Though the pizzas were named after traditional Indian dishes, it felt like there was more emphasis on the pizza than the curry. Spices and ingredients typically found in Indian cooking were less present than we had hoped.
Curry Pizza House has the potential for combining vibrant Indian flavors with classic American pizza in truly memorable ways. We are looking forward to returning soon to see how this international experiment develops.
Tandoori Chicken ($17.99, medium)
On arrival, the tandoori chicken pizza looked quite appetizing. The crispy crust was covered with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and orange tandoori chicken. That said, the overall flavor was muted when compared to its presentation. The tandoori chicken — the central ingredient — was pretty dry and lacked the punch that traditional Indian spices often carry. Even though this pizza did not quite meet expectations, the potential for a great taste was there.
Shahi Paneer ($22.99, large)
The shahi paneer pizza included a combination of onions, olives and paneer— a type of cheese found in many Indian dishes — all thrown on top of a classic pizza crust. While the combination of these flavors was appetizing, the paneer is just one topping, making the dish feel less like fusion food and more like a regular American pizza with paneer. It brought something new to the table, but it was not the blending of cuisines that was expected.
Chicken Curry ($22.99, large)
The chicken curry was the best of the three pizzas, with small pieces of diced chicken, green onion, red onion and tomatoes sprinkled over a curry sauce and cheese base. The combination of the spicy curry, tender chicken and creamy cheese created a solid blend of American and Indian flavors. It was closer to what we expected when we heard about pizza-curry fusion.