I’m the first to admit that I haven’t much covered Mandaluyong, the “Tiger City of the Philippines” or “Metro Manila’s Heart,” as much as it deserves. While I have eaten my way through Chinatown and most malls in Manila, my coverage starts to thin out in restaurants in Quezon City, Eastwood, Ortigas, etc. The lack of posts though doesn’t mean there is a lack of options.
It’s frustrating because some of the most quintessential eats (that are not of Chinese cuisine) are far from my place. Reaching for the best vegetarian-friendly burger, ramen, macarons, cupcakes, paella, etc. I’ve ever sampled means sitting in an hour or more of traffic jams. Get the picture?
Recently, I have been absolutely smitten with the idea of Project Pie: EVERYDAY ARTISAN PIZZA CUSTOM BUILT BY YOU. The concept is really cool, whereby customers can choose the kind and amount of pizza toppings they want to have on a 12″ thin pizza for PHp 285. Preparing and making the pizza normally take only seven to 10 minutes.
So I was much allured and the only problem was accessibility to the location. This restaurant is not conveniently accessible by public transport. I thought to bring a car but then again, I don’t want to drive around areas such as Shaw Boulevard, Wack Wack, Highway Hills which I’m not familiar with. Fortunately, Louie agreed to tag along with me and my friends to have lunch here last Sunday. Translation: I can be a “free rider.” Wee. 😛
Review of Project Pie (Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong)
The decoration was plain and sparse. “Zigzag” light bulbs encompassing the ceiling brought sheer luminance to the entire area. Also adding to the brightness were the transparent walls and windows covering one side of the restaurant.
The Project Pie logo on the opposite wall was large to encourage interested dining customers to take it as a background for photo opportunities. On the other two sides of the wall were favorite sayings of famous people. They were very catchy and inspiring.
The queue to the counter was insanely long. Project Pie is a quick-server restaurant; however, customers tend to linger and enjoy their stay. Turnover is not as quick as other fast food chains. So there was a large number of people who stood and waited beside the taken tables, staring at the food and hoping for them to be finished immediately.
Of course those were awkward scenes. Somehow, seated customers can feel guilty and the same cycle would go on all day.
The tables and chairs can accommodate up to about 60 people, but according to my count, there were about double the number of customers who were present that day. Because of this, the environment was noisy and air conditioning did not seem to be enough. On a positive note, the place was clean as a whistle.
Initially, you would think that the staff would be responsible for finding and reserving seats for you upon your entrance. But after a few minutes of observation, you would notice that this is mainly a self-service restaurant. As you order and pay the cashier, you would get a tray of pizzas or pies and serve food to your table.
It’s best to come here when you have company or be prepared to stand still alone after getting your order from the counter until you find an available seat for yourself. Napkins, disposable forks and knives and spices/condiments can be taken from a station.
Design. Build. Eat. I can describe Project Pie’s food as simple but perfectly executed. The menu is pretty straightforward as well. You can have the preset combination of toppings and/or pick your own toppings (for no extra cost) to add on. The pie is placed in the wood-fired oven at the end of the assembly, and you get the finished product easy-peasy.
We had the pre-set combinations no. 2, 6, and 7 and the banana nutella pie for dessert:
2 (PHp 285): red sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella, Italian sausage, garlic, crumbled meatballs
6 (PHp 285): grilled chicken, sliced red onion, cilantro, mozzarella, gorgonzola, barbecue sauce
7 (PHp 285): prosciutoo, caramelized onions, mozzarella, parmesan
Banana Nutella (PHp 145): banana and nutella
The pizzas looked unassuming, no big deal. The bottom didn’t get perfectly brown but they were nicely cooked and tasted great. A minute or so could be used under the broiler to brown up the cheese and toppings a bit more. Requiring slight chew, the base was thin and crispy but it has to be eaten quickly or it would be rubbery when cold.
I especially liked the banana nutella. It had the most unique, drool-worthy presentation. Yum! 😛 You can never go wrong with nutella, I guess.
Consider the following in building or designing your own pizza:
1. White pizza (with Olive Oil only) or Red Pizza (with their signature red sauce)
2. Meat options: Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Crumbled Meatballs, Grilled chicken, Canadian Bacon, Prosciutto, and Bacon
3. Cheese options: Gorgonzolla, Ricotta, Parmesan, Feta Cheese, and Mozzarella
4. Chili: Jalapeños, Green Bell Peppers and Roasted Red Peppers
6. Vegetables and spices: Red Onions, Caramelized Onions, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, Pesto, Artichokes, Freshly Chopped basil, Rosemary, Mushrooms, Anchovies
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Project Pie is an awesome find. It’s is like a Subway (niche: sandwiches) or The BRGR Project (niche: burgers) for personal-sized pizzas. PHp 285 for one pizza cut to four slices good for 1-2 people is not bad.
Every day: 10AM-10PM
No reservations available. No phone available. No home delivery.