Thursday, July 05, 2012

Possibly the best pizza in the world

Another trip to Tokyo on Tuesday, this time to the EU Delegation to hear a European science bigwig talk about funding opportunities. When notified of the event, I had recognised the name - Don Dingwell - as the current President of the EGU, which was one added point of interest, but he was visiting in his capacity as the Secretary-General of the European Research Council, to publicise their grant schemes. Oddly, he's Canadian, but has been in Europe for a long time. The odds of a non-Japanese leading the JpGU or heading up a major national funding agency must be very long indeed.

He was pushing the ERC grant scheme as being incredibly attractive, high on science and low on restrictions. I suspect he wants more applicants and a greater global presence in order to justify a large research budget that the committee can then share out amongst their friends (he has one of these grants himself, naturally). But the more he talked it up, the more jules and I thought....meh. When we consider that we have plenty of funding for 5 years for 3 people (postdoc/researcher position to be advertised shortly...) and pretty much complete freedom on what we do (within a general theme), it actually sounds pretty similar. Plus, we didn't have to be world class to get it, or even fill in a 30 page application :-) Of course what we have here won't last for ever and it would be a nice parachute back to the UK when the gravy train hits the buffers (or we get sufficiently fed up to leave), but we wouldn't stand much chance of getting funded anyway. Predictably (but sadly) all the questions from the Japanese attendees were along the lines of "can we get your money without having to cut our apron strings and actually go abroad"...I only exaggerate a little.

After that, we went to have the best pizza in the world. Or so I thought at the time. However on re-reading more carefully, it seems that although the prize-winning chef did indeed win several awards while working there, he has subsequently set himself up somewhere else. It was still very good though, with not a kani-jaga-mayo pizza in sight. Which may explain why it was not completely full. That and being a rainy Tuesday evening. Not only the food, but also the service was good - it was a nice touch to bring the pizzas out sequentially so we had the second one fresh and hot to share. It's also handy location right next to Omotesando station so we might be back some time when we have another central Tokyo engagement.

 Due to the absence of a small decent quality camera (see previous TX5 failure) the pics are rubbish ones from my ipod.


EliRabett said...

Too puffy

Vinny Burgoo said...

The world's best-ever pizza was undoubtedly the ready-frozen version of the Co-Op's black-packaged ('Truly Irresistible': the Co-Opted equivalent of Sainsbury's 'Taste The Difference') plain tomato and mozzarella pizza. The unfrozen version is still available hereabouts but is and always was too puffy, as Eli might say. It's also a bit light on the mozzarella. And the tomato. And the herbs. It's a squashed cheesy cake with red flecks on it.

The Co-Op stopped stocking the world's best-ever pizza about two years ago. I'd ask them to change their minds but what's the point? Did they listen when I petitioned them for a return of anchovy paste in tubes?

The world is going to hell in a shopping basket and pizzas and anchovies are leading the way. It's all very upsetting.

James Annan said...

I'm not sure the pictures do them justice. The crust was certainly not thick, but quite bubbly.

It was the best (Italian style) we can remember.

tonylearns said...

I remember many pizza episodes in japan. I may have tried the mayonnaise version once, but if so I have blocked the memory.
I was working in Nasu, and actually saw the crown Prince at the train station before he became emperor. I was performing at this resort and they fed us at this 3 or 4 or 5 star restaurant every evening. Being vegetarian the world class chef did not really know what to do with me. He kept creating these amazing concoctions. Some were excellent, but the fried egg pizza failed miserably.