For the record, on a 21 square mile island, nothing is far away. It may take a little longer to get to some places, but the fact is that in Bermuda, nothing is truly 'far'. And as it turns out, there are some things that are actually closer than you think. This food blogging thing makes you look at restaurants in a new light and we’ve discovered that if you live in Smith’s parish, you’ve pretty much got it made when it comes to good pizza, and how close it is to home.
Think about it. On any given day when you get caught at that (insert expletive here) stoplight at the junction of South Shore Road and Collector’s Hill, you will regularly see someone leaving Specialty Inn with a pizza box and a smile. Hop over to Flatts and the options are Four Star Pizza and Rustico (the Pizza Genovese, topped with sundried tomato, goat cheese and olives, is an absolute MUST!!). Drive around the corner(s) and there is Shelly Bay Pizza House. Or carry on a little further east, and make your own pizza and wash it down with a pitcher of rum swizzle at Swizzle Inn.
But there is another option tucked within the vicinity. It’s kind of a hidden gem that features pizza prepared with the traditional Neapolitan style of crust (i.e. thin and crispy in the center, slightly charred on the bottom, with a puffed crusty ‘bubbles’ on the outer side) and offers up a favourable selection of both standard and not so standard toppings, from your basic Margherita with cheese, tomato sauce and basil to the rarely seen seafood-covered pizza featuring shrimp, scallops, calamari and mussels. We tucked into a few of these gems recently to bring you a review, because that's just the kind of people we are.
A favourite on the menu is the White, Red and Green. This tribute to the colours of the Italian flag consists of torn mozzarella, roasted grape tomatoes and basil pesto. Because the kitchen is very open to customisation, we ordered this one with pepperoni added (because to some, what is pizza without pepperoni?) but those classic Italian flavours stole the show. Simple yet amazing.
Next, we tried The Caprice – which comes with mushrooms, artichokes, ham, olives, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. Again, this was customised slightly (removed ham and burrata was added). This was a standout. The creamy texture of the burrata, married with the subdued flavour of artichokes make for the perfect backdrop to the bolder taste of the sweet tomato sauce and black olives.
(Burrata, meaning "buttery" in Italian, is a fresh cheese made from a mix of mozzarella and cream. The outside thin shell is a traditional mozzarella while the insides contain a soft, doughy, stringy, mixture of curd and fresh cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. And guess what? This kitchen makes their own burrata. How awesome is that?)
The Gourmet – A pie covered with porcini mushrooms, shaved black truffles, white truffle oil, mozzarella, and accented with thyme. Now we know that truffles aren’t for everyone (even at the table there was truffle dissent), but if you have an appreciation for the button mushroom’s decadent cousin, then this is a must-try pizza. The mild taste of the porcinis is balanced by the distinct earthy flavor of the truffles and truffle oil, while the thyme enters with a subtle ‘herby’ pop. Essentially this is the sophisticated grown up version of your standard mushroom pizza. It somehow manages to be both rich and light at the same time. We don't quite understand this phenomenon, but we enjoyed every bite.
In a world of sausage and pepperoni pizzas, pizzas for vegetarians or vegans tends to be overlooked on the menu (if the option is even there at all). But we can say without a doubt, The Farmer’s Deal needs a second look...and taste!!. Topped with bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, tomato sauce and mozzarella, this pizza is flavourful and filling. Because we are so keen to point out options for special diets, we ordered the Farmer's Deal without cheese, making this a completely vegan pizza. And an amazing one, at that.
The home to all of these creations is Sul Verde Restaurant at the Tucker’s Point Golf Club. Dining at Sul Verde gives you the feeling of a quick getaway. Between looking out the window and seeing the undulating terrain of the golf course, to taking in unobstructed views of Castle Harbour, you get a stay-cation feeling of sorts while here. We opted for the lounge, where the couches and dining tables provide an atmosphere that welcomes golfers off the course to the 19th hole, as well as after work drinks with a view for locals, hotel guests or a couple of food bloggers hungry for pizza.
Sul Verde is family friendly (with a varied kids’ menu)…though not the place where little Johnny runs rampant all over the show. It's relaxed enough to spend a Saturday afternoon in the lounge with friends (they serve lunch from 12:00 to 3:00 and dinner from 6:00 to 9:00), and the dining room is also fancy enough for a date. Take-out friendly when it comes to the pizza, but the rest of the menu (including access to the antipasti bar – yet another post) is best enjoyed dining in.
Give it a try and let us know what you think...and if you're already a fan of Sul Verde, let us know in the comment section below.