Slice of heaven a la New York pizza
Amr Tawfik has put a new twist on pizza in Bermuda.
Mr Tawfik is head chef at the island’s newest pizzeria, Fire & Slice, on Serpentine Road in Pembroke.
The former chef at Fairmont Southampton’s Mediterra restaurant is turning heads with his classic food takes on New York style thin crust pizza.
Some examples of pizza available daily or on a “specials” basis at the “home of the single slice” include killer chicken tikka masala, mac and cheese, jerk shrimp, buffalo chicken, tandoor chicken, jerk chicken, Philly cheese steak, and oxtail.
Daily specials can include chicken shawarma wrapped in pizza crust with tahini sauce.
The pizzeria also prepares cheese and pepperoni, Hawaiian, classic margherita, vegetarian and vegan pizza.
All slices are cut from an 18-inch pie, while whole 14-inch pizzas are also on offer, including a “build your own” option.
Mr Tawfik arrived in Bermuda six years ago after working as a chef at the Fairmont, Intercontinental and Marriott hotels in Cairo, Egypt.
He devised the menu at Fire & Slice.
Mr Tawfik said: “I am trying a combination between classic food and straight food. What I am trying to do here is make specials from all over the world.
“I have been working for 17 years, so I can do match and mix, and play with flavours as well.
“Nobody in Bermuda does what we do here, not just the number of types of pizza, but what we put on pizza.”
Fire & Slice proprietor Henry Harris said the outlet has created eight full-time jobs, including five for Bermudian staff.
A tumultuous opening day on June 23 saw the fire department attend after a fire alarm was activated, water issues, and problems with the pizza oven’s regulator.
Now, though, the 51-year-old Bermudian said Fire & Slice is hitting its stride.
Mr Harris said: “That first day, it was definitely Murphy’s Law – anything that could go wrong, did. There are probably four other things I don’t remember.
“I feel it has taken to this point to where it’s smooth sailing. We have been able to acquire a base of customers, but we know there are many others who haven’t heard of us or don’t know where we are. We encourage them to come by, and hope that they enjoy what they order.”
Mr Harris lived in New York for 13 years, and became a devotee of the city’s signature style of pizza.
He said: “I became a fan of what, in my opinion, is the best pizza in the world – New York-style pizza. A friend and I enjoyed Tony Boloney’s, which did specialty slices of pizza. I thought ‘if I ever do pizza, I am going to do something that is definitely different than what is currently offered on the island’.
“Everything here is made from scratch – from the crust to the sauces, you name it. And I think we have a broad enough selection for many palates.
“The feedback has been very positive – we have many, many repeat customers.”
He said the classic cheese and pepperoni slice is “up there” in popularity, but added that other slices are moving well, saying: “Chicken tikka and our signature slice are two of our best sellers. Also, we have a vegan slice that does well.”
The signature pizza toppings are pepperoni, chorizo, bacon, goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, black olives, red onion, pesto sauce, and balsamic reduction.
Fire & Slice also offers a range of fast food, including chicken tenders and fries, mozzarella sticks, plus a selection of submarine sandwiches, sides, salad, beer and wine, and soft drinks.
Goods from a wide variety of local drink and food vendors are also on offer.
Come the fall, Mr Harris said Fire & Slice will begin offering daily soup specials as well as a hot buffet.
He said delivery is available from Five Star Home Delivery, and will soon be available through Sargasso Sea.
In house, prices range from $5 and up for a single slice, and from $19 and up for a 14-inch pizza. The Fire & Slice signature pizza is $32. Pizza slice and drink combos begin at $6.
Fire & Slice is located at 9 Serpentine Road in Pembroke (former site of the Green Lantern). There is dedicated parking on the west side of the building. It is open Monday to Saturday from 11am until 9pm.