2.128 Pizza with Porcini Mushrooms and Basil


13 (Fri) May 2011

Pizza with Porcini Mushrooms and Basil


at Di Foresta

-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with MtG

This was, without doubt, the worst pizza that I’ve ever had the privilege of trying – a “privilege” because it was revelatory.  I’d never known that pizza could be so awful.  That saying about sex, like pizza, even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good – no, it can be so bad that it’s just bad, both sex and pizza.  Every element was off.  Starting with the crust, I’m fairly certain that it consisted of just flour and water.  And boy did the flavor of flour shine through.  I was about to write that it tasted like Play-Doh, but that would’ve done Play-Doh a disservice.  At least Play-Doh tastes seasoned.  The sauce was sickly sweet, kinda like ketchup.  The cheese was so rubbery that I wonder if it was entirely synthetic.  The so-called “porcini” mushrooms, those blackish things in the photo, were just shiitake mushrooms, unseasoned, dry and tasteless.  The basil clearly wasn’t the sweet Italian basil but the cheaper variety (I don’t know exactly what it’s called) sometimes sold as a potted herb that’s too bitter to be eaten raw.  And the whole thing came out rather limp, as if it had been baked in a microwave oven, which wouldn’t surprise me.  We each had half a slice and left the rest.

The space occupied by the restaurant was once a bathhouse/spa, then a Korean restaurant more recently (see 1.167 Bindae Ddeok).  Location-wise, it’s prime real estate, adjacent to and clearly visible from one of the main exits to the Oksu subway station.  In fact, I noticed the seemingly overnight renovation, which must’ve occurred during my trip to the Philippines last week, as I was leaving the station a couple days ago.  An Italian joint in Oksu is a novelty worth trying.  It turns out that the owners of the previous restaurant merely replaced the signage, left everything inside exactly the same, and changed the menu.  Judging by the pizza, they also decided to use the same ingredients as before. They seem to have a thing about flora, as suggested by the names of the two places.

MtG kept saying – whispering, as our voices echoed loudly in the empty expanse – that he felt genuinely sorry for the owners, who continue to inject money into the on-going but spectacularly unsuccessful venture while being utterly clueless about running a restaurant, particularly an Italian restaurant.  I speculated that the owners, a young couple, or perhaps brother and sister, were probably related to the owners of the building and had money to play with.

(See also FOODS.)

(See also PLACES.)

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