Luigi’s famed pizzas have made it to Toul Tom Poung. Writer Jessica Tana and photographer Enric Catala test whether it lives up to the reputation of its big brother.
Touted as the best pizza in Phnom Penh, Luigi’s Piccolo Italia has expanded south to Toul Tom Poung. There have been some changes, however, taking inspiration from owner Luigi’s Sicilian heritage, including fresh pasta, antipasto plates, Sicilian wines and Sicilian desserts.
Manager Lilo says the pasta is already a hit, but Sicilian fair is still not widely recognised outside of Italy. “We try to keep everything Sicilian, but people only know northern Italian cuisine, so we do both,” he says.
Sicilian cuisine is hearty and rustic. It incorporates Italian flavours, with influences from the Mediterranean. Simple and rugged, dishes often include sweet almonds, eggplants, large salty sardines and Pecorino cheese, made from sheep milk. The combination is a balancing act of strong and mild tastes, and well worth the adventure.
To begin our journey to Italy’s southern island, we started a little higher up in Capri, with a Caprese salad ($8). Sliced tomato, thick cut mozzarella, fresh basil, anchovies and Kalamata olives were drizzled with virgin olive oil. The reds, whites and greens made the dish look like a beautiful rendition of the Italian flag, and the soft, creamy mozzarella with the intensity of the anchovies, is mouth-watering.
Another antipasto dish from the north, is beef carpaccio ($7.50). Slivers of raw beef are served with rocket salad, capers and slices of Parmigiano cheese. A squeeze of lemon juice and you have an earthy mixture of tastes. Fresh and light it makes the perfect start to the evening.
For a typical Sicilian taste, we went with the Salsiccia E Piselli pizza ($8.50), which means sausages and peas. “Not the best-looking pizza, but once people try it they order it again, and again,” says Lilo. A layer of tomato sauce, is followed by mozzarella, Pecorino cheese, olive oil, green peas, basil and Italian sausage. A crispy base, with simple ingredients is what gives Luigi’s its reputation as the most authentic Italian pizza in Phnom Penh, and this one was no exception. Fresh, hot and crunchy, the cheese oozed over the sides and the ingredients were fresh and tasty.
For something a little different, we tried Luigi’s Ravioli Foie Gras with White Truffle Sauce ($20). An expensive dish, but worth it. The hand-made ravioli, is smothered in a cream sauce, redolent with the world’s most expensive mushroom. The dish is then covered in cheese and baked. Decadently rich and textured, the flavour spreads through your mouth and into your nose.
To end our journey, we tried one of Sicily’s world-famous desserts. Tegola Romana ($4) consists of a hard chocolate and caramel shell, infused with almond and orange essence, that works as a vessel to hold fresh whipped cream and blueberries. Crack the shell and scoop for the full effect. Deliciously sweet and light at the same time, the dessert was a perfect end to an Italian adventure.