Parlour Deep Dish Pizza
Parlour Deep Dish is not your everyday online pizza delivery service. The project generated some buzz (and raised a few eyebrows) before its launch in October as a covert enterprise with no address to speak of, and at least initially, anonymous chefs at the helm. The care taken to maintain the anonymity and secret location were foiled however, as the Toronto Star reported, when Orderit.ca published the address of the kitchen on Parlour's first day of operation.
The error revealed the location as the former Trevor Kitchen and Bar and later that day, chefs Trevor Wilkinson and Jesse Vallins 'fessed up to being the epicureans behind the project. Although the cat has been out of the bag for some time, making it a little less "top secret," deep dish is rare in this city, and I couldn't wait to give it a try.
My friends and I spend some time perusing the online menu and FAQs before deciding on what to order. The site claims that one pizza ($25) feeds two to three people and since there were six of us, we decide to go with two. The menu offers three pizza choices: Classic (mozzarella, sausage and tomato sauce), Chicken (smoked chicken, spinach and goat cheese), and Vegetarian (ratatouille and roasted mushrooms). To appease the both the carnivores and the veggies in our group, we opted for one classic and one vegetarian.
Plenty of other things on the menu look good too: sea salted frites ($7), macaroni and asiago cheese ($18) and deep dish apple pie ($12) are all worthy of consideration. In the end we settled on the apple pie for dessert, only to find that it isn't available. A little disappointed, we stick with the pizzas. With the $6.95 delivery charge from Orderit.ca, the total comes to $70 and change (including tip), which feels a little steep for two pies. As we patiently wait the 50 minutes for our pizzas to arrive, someone says, "Okay everyone, lets see what $70 pizza tastes like!"
When I retrieve the pizzas from the door, the first thing I notice is how heavy they are. As the restaurant reports, they weigh at least a couple of pounds each. We dish ourselves up, remarking that the top pizza (the Classic) is noticeably cooler than the Vegetarian on the bottom. A few pizza delivery bags — or at least better ones than those currently in use — might be a smart investment for Parlour if Orderit.ca is unwilling to ensure that the product makes it to the door as hot as it should be.
Despite the heat issue, the pizza is fantastic. The "classic" is rich and filling, with a crust that's baked to perfection — beautiful golden-brown, flakey goodness. Melted mozzarella is smothered with a good couple inches of sausage-y tomato sauce, which is topped with more mozzarella.
The ratatouille sauce on the veg is packed with a fresh acidity that balances the healthy dose of cheese, and feels as dense its meaty companion. We note several times how "home-made" both of the pizzas taste. The sauces are nuanced with different seasoning, and much thicker than you'd find on a typical pizza, more like a pasta sauce. It's evident that the pizzas are crafted with care, by people who know a thing or two about deep dish.
We were unable to finish the two pizzas on the first go around, but they make a delicious lunch the next day. At first, getting dinged by the "delivery charge" made an already high pizza price-point seem even higher, but the product is a good one. Quality ingredients and liberal amounts of cheese, after all, don't come cheap.
Parlour claims that they're currently "testing the waters for demand for deep dish pizza in Toronto," which is one of the reasons why they're using Orderit.ca as a delivery service. So long as enough people get a taste of these pizzas, I'd imagine that there will be every reason to expand — and thereby to drop the delivery fee.