LOCATED IN the same compound of well-known Thai restaurant A Mallika, Papa Pond is a compact pizzeria that promises to tantalise the taste buds with such Thai-style toppings as khua kling moo (dry-fried curry with minced pork), moo kratiem (fried pork with garlic), foi thong (threads of egg yolk) and sang khaya (pandan flavoured egg custard).
Unsurprisingly, the pizzeria is run by Chayaphol Leeraphante whose mother Mallika is one of Thailand’s top food gurus. Chayaphol wisely combines his talent for making a perfect thin-crust dough with his mother’s recipes for Thai delicacies.
“This location is a central kitchen for Mallika Interfood’s Thai food outlets. We have an abundant supply of ingredients to work with and I think it’s good to have East-meets-West alternatives for diners,” says Chayaphol, who named his pizzeria for his own nickname Pond.
Pond came up with the recipe for his pizza dough while he was studying at the University of Denver’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.
“Before graduation, it was the school’s tradition to require students to cook meals for the school’s patrons and I acted as a head chef. The theme of my class was Italian cuisine because one of the prestigious patrons was a winery owner in Tuscany, Italy. We searched for recipes for pizza dough, lasagna and panna cotta from many sources. After learning by doing, we came up with a pizza crust that was perfect in texture – thin and crispy at the edges. It was also lower in carbohydrates and had no flaky texture when popped in the mouth.
“I decided to use this recipe for my pizza dough when I opened the pizzeria. The disadvantage, however, is you have to eat here. We can’t offer a home-delivery service because the pie crust goes soft too soon after baking,” says Pond.
The Thai delicacies khua kling moo (dry-fried curry with minced pork), moo kratiem (fried pork with garlic), krapow moo sub (stir-fried minced pork with holy basil leaves), and gaeng khiew wan seafood (seafood green curry) are among the best-selling dishes at A Mallika so Pond figured it might make sense to offer these Thai toppings along with the more classic smoked salmon, parma ham, margarita and pepperoni.
“Another favourite at A Mallika restaurant is honey-glazed spareribs with Chinese kale. We use only the spareribs from pigs weighing about 200 kilograms to get the meatiest ribs. We source our pork from a small farm and the rest of the meat is used in the khua kling, which is a truly fiery dish and a best-seller at my mother’s restaurant. When I apply this recipe for my pizza topping, I have to add cheese to tone down the spiciness,” he says.
Diners can order a pizza with one or two toppings. On my visit, Pond offered a combo of khua kling moo and khiew wan seafood (Bt315), which was fairly fiery. I preferred his combination of moo kratiem and krapow moo sub (Bt205). The pizza comes in only one size – nine inch – which is relatively big for a Thai to eat solo.
“For the moo kratiem topping, we don’t spread tomato sauce on the dough but instead use bechamel sauce and cheese. Our krapow moo sub is flavourful and hot thanks to the holy basil leaves that come from our organic herbal garden in Lop Buri. The curry sauce for gaeng khiew wan is made using only green chilli peppers to get the green hue. Green curry available in the market today is always mixed with kaffir lime leaves.”
Pond has just created a range of new sweet toppings that can be enjoyed individually or as a set of four. They include foi thong, sang khaya, cream cheese cherry, cheese and condensed milk, chocolate and banana, peanut butter and raspberry, Nutella and marshmallow. Prices depend on choice of toppings and range from Bt199 to Bt299. Chocolate Lava Cake (Bt190) is another delicious dessert option.
For those who don’t fancy pizza, there’re Salad Papa Pond with balsamic and raspberry dressing (Bt220), Ostrich Burger (Bt450), Spaghetti Carbonara (Bt190) and Chilli Cheese Fries (Bt210).
“The Chilli Cheese Fries are served with chilli and cheese sauces. While I was at high school in the US, I developed my own chilli sauce for a chilli cheese fries contest during a Super Bowl match. The sauce was made from sirloin slowly simmered with tomato, white beans, Thai Sri Racha spicy sauce, ground Thai pepper, paprika powder and cayenne pepper. I served the chilli sauce on top of sticky rice and won the contest. Now I’m using the same recipe here,” says Pond.
SPICE IS NICE
>> Papa Pond on Kaset-Nawamin Road serves breakfast from 6am and is open daily through 9pm.
>> Call (02) 946 1000 or visit www.PapaPond.com.