French poet Joseph Delteil once deliciously quipped, “Eat with the fingers, drink with the nose.” There’s nothing more rustic than partaking in a lush food fare with your sensory receptors yummily aware of the feast in front of you. This was fortunately the case for me when I visited Doppio, an Italian Pizzeria and Friggitoria housed in the exclusive M2 Level at Salhiya Complex in downtown Kuwait City.
The brainchild of Amr Al-Refai who’s also responsible for Solo Pizza Napolitana, ‘Doppio’ means double in Italian, a double entendre on this establishment which not only serves up signature pizzas, but also unique street food found only at ‘friggitoria’ shops in Napoli.
The layout of Doppio, like the other stylish restaurants in the Mezzanine 2 Level of Salhiya, nostalgically conjures up memories of sampling awesome grub on my many travels (yes, us fitness geeks do love our food!). Closing my eyes and listening to the din of chatter with mouthwatering smells wafting amidst the chaos, it brought back fond memories of the food markets of El Campello in Alicante, Spain but with a hint of panache thrown in the mix (it is Salhiya after all).
As the restaurant is still in its third month soft-opening phase, the menu is small (I was assured by our maître d’ that more items will be added soon) yet every dish has been elegantly designed to stimulate one’s tastebuds.
I know what you’re thinking. How can one eat clean at a pizzeria?
As a personal trainer, I do advocate to my clients that they should eat carbohydrates. Not just the leafy kind but also some good ol’ starch. Consuming less than 50g of carbohydrates a day tends to stress your adrenal system, tax your liver if you’re eating habits aren’t on point, and doesn’t give you the mental focus one needs. Sure, in the short run, a low-carb diet might work wonders, but your body at the end of the day needs glucose to function, to control your appetite, to enhance your athletic performance and to basically put you in a happy state of mind. According to caloriecount.com, an average slice of pizza will give you about 21.3g of carbs per slice. So mabrook, you can have that in moderation and preferably post workout!
Coming back to Doppio, to be honest, I’m not a big fan of pizza, however a couple of things I loved about this restaurant and would come back for seconds were:
- The dough was soft, light to the touch with a hint of “chew” factor to it. I didn’t feel heavy or lethargic after consuming it and ended up hitting my second workout with much gusto later on that night.
- The ingredients are sourced fresh directly from Italy; from the San Marzano tomatoes to their buffalo mozzarella. Why, even their pizza oven is an authentic wood-fired brick oven all the way from, you guessed it, Napoli.
- The staff are super accommodating in helping you with your food choices and modifying them to suit your lifestyle. The pizzas here are light, crisp and tasty, but bear in mind when this review went down, I was 7 weeks out from competing from the Arnold Amateur Europe in Spain and hence my nutrition is somewhat strict and killing.
My personal favorites at Doppio were:
The Caprese salad. Layers of thickly sliced Italian buffalo mozzarella adorn this dish with baby cherry tomatoes drizzled in a basil pesto. Because buffalo mozzarella has quite a bit of fat, I was able to swap out the basil pesto (pesto is usually made from pine nuts and olive oil so this dish for a salad can be quite high in fat especially for a salad) for a drizzle of balsamic vinegar instead (balsamic is lower in calories and helps stabilize blood pressure and cholesterol).
Via Tribunali. A garlic bread appetizer, the bread in this dish was light and spongy with fior di latte mozzarella, fresh garlic, parmesan and extra virgin olive oil (evoo) laden in-between. Fior di latte, is one of the most sought-after mozzarella cheeses which, in Italian, brings forth the meaning ‘the flower of milk’ and made surprisingly from fresh cow’s milk and not buffalo. Again as a health tip, you can always ask the staff to kindly omit the parmesan and to go easy on the oil.
Amadeo. Now when it comes to wood fire pizzas, I opted for their daily special as opposed to the six yummy ones they currently feature on their menu. Dubbed the Amadeo, my pizza was a white based pizza (again you can ask them to go easy on the sauce and cheese) with caramelized onions, fresh basil and scrumptious shavings of lean turkey on top. Starchy carbs and lean protein. Simple and oh-so gratifying.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Doppio. Made with basic fresh ingredients and a whole lot of love, Doppio’s culinary concoctions are a definite hit with Ktowners as this dining establishment is often packed with people. As a side note, I would advocate either calling ahead to see if it’s possible to book a table, or coming at not so peak-times cause you could end up waiting a while before sampling a bite. #wellworthitiassureyou
Doppio Pizzeria E Friggitoria Napulitana is located on the Mezzanine 2 Level at Salhiya Complex, Kuwait City. Opening hours are 1pm-10.30pm. You can follow them on Instagram @doppiopfn, phone 2245 1511 or visit their website: www.doppiopfn.com .
Reshmi Revi is the Deputy General Manager for MultiWorks Personal Training. She is also an IFBB Bikini Competitor and an avid foodie! Follow her on Instagram @Q8MissFit.