Slice of Seoul: Tenacious Pizza's Korean-Inspired

Tenacious Pizza

There is a new pizza pop up at Bitter Phew pub in Darlinghurst every Friday and Saturday night. And these are no ordinary pizzas. These pizzas are the latest offering from the popular bakery Tenacious Bakehouse. Drawing from owner Yeongjin Park's Korean heritage there's a Pajeon seafood pancake pizza, a Korean chicken pizza and a nori seaweed, garlic and honey pizza. So what are Tenacious Pizzas' offering like?

Tenacious Pizza

It was a Friday during the self-fashioned ANZAC Day 4 day weekend. Mr NQN was in a great mood having just gone for some wing foiling and was ravenous for pizza. I remembered that Tenacious Pizza was popping up at Bitter Phew. Laura (who had originally told me about Tenacious Pizza) and I found it almost impossible to find a Friday and Saturday night we were both free so Mr NQN and I decided to go. We also bring along Marco, the craft brewer by trade who loves both pizza and beer.

Tenacious Pizza

Yeongjin Park (formerly of Lode Pies) is behind Tenacious Pizza and Tenacious Bakehouse and pizza was a good challenge, "I prefer moist and soft things... I wanted to create a soft, light, and sticky rice cake-like texture in Korea by increasing the high hydration while maintaining a high gluten content in flour," he explains.

Bitter Phew pub is located on Oxford Street just near Taylor Square and is split across two floors, a ground floor and level 1 up the side staircase where the pizzas are made. We take a seat upstairs where we coo over a snorty cute pug who no doubt got to have a small taste of pizza (yes all of Bitter Phew is dog friendly!). The atmosphere is friendly and grungy with great tunes from The Hives, Queens of The Stone Age, Franz Ferdinand and Van Halen.

Tenacious Pizza

Marco and Mr NQN go off to get drinks at the bar. Marco chooses for Mr NQN as he has tried pretty much all of the beers on offer and I try sips of the beer - Hawker's lager is my pick. To order the pizzas you use the QR code except for some reason it doesn't work on my phone so Marco has to do it on his and it's slow going. We gravitate towards the Korean pizza offerings although there are also traditional pizza toppings like pepperoni, mortadella and margarita on offer. Also the pizzas are best shared because they do take a while to come out and you tend to receive one at a time because they are working with 2 Gozney ovens at the moment that can only fit in 1 pizza at a time.

Tenacious Pizza
Seaweed and Honey Pizza $23

The first pizza to arrive is the seaweed and honey with nori, garlic honey, pepper, olive oil and cheese on a sour cream base. Instead of leaving the base bare for a white pizza they use sour cream which is a clever touch and keeps the mouthfeel moist and moreish. There are plenty of tiny pieces of browned garlic in honey that give each bite a nutty quality and there's also nori dust, olive oil and cheese. And as for the crust itself, it's remarkably light and airy with a nice amount of leopard spotting in the crust.

Tenacious Pizza
Squid and Prawn (Pajeon) Pizza $30

There's a bit of a gap between the first pizza and the second although the rest come out within 10 minutes of each other. I love Pajeon or Korean seafood pancakes so I was excited to see it on a pizza and for Yeongjin this too was a natural fit, "Korean pancakes, green onion pancakes have a round shape. I want to try this combination on pizza for frying with batter and seafood and vegetables." This one has squid, prawn, garlic chive, spring onion, chilli and cheese with a sour cream base. This is the wettest base of all of them so you really do need to fold this one over to eat it but the flavours are wonderful together and I would order this again in a heartbeat. I also love that there's a pronounced chilli heat to this so that you don't need to order any chilli oil, it's all in one bite.

Tenacious Pizza
Cloud Bread with Nduja $20+$8

The cloud bread, their version of a Totti's puffy bread which is a version of a puffed pita isn't cheap at $20 but dare I say that it's a must order with the nduja which comes generously and perfectly portioned for the puffy bread. Yeongjin mixes nduja that he gets from a supplier with vegetables and is resoundingly spicy and I become almost addicted to the spicy hit I get with every soft and downy tear of bread.

Tenacious Pizza
Spicy Korean Chicken Pizza $29

Then comes the last pizza: the spicy Korean chicken pizza. Yeongjin says, "Personally, I liked and enjoyed seaweed when I was young. I made it because I thought it would be better to use seaweed for cheese pizza. When we eat chicken ribs, we put cheese on top and eat it together. I thought it could be grafted to pizza." This pizza has chicken, Korean chicken curry, cabbage, sweet potato and perilla leaf on a tomato base. If I loved all of the others (and I truly did love all of the others) then this one is just that level above as each bite is so perfectly balanced with flavours and textures. You do taste the sweet potato and perilla but also the generous amount of juicy chicken on top. I'm also so full from the other pizzas and wish I had saved more room for this one. And a part of me wondered what the traditional pizzas are like but a part of me still just enjoyed having that spiciness left on my tongue.

So tell me Dear Reader, do you like the sound of these pizzas? Which pizza would be your first pick?

This meal was independently paid for.

Tenacious Pizza

Bitter Phew Pub Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm-10pm

1/137 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

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