MANILA -- How does one elevate pizza? For Aaron Lau, it’s a piece of cake and easy as pie.
Lau, originally from Singapore, started at the bottom not knowing anything about the F&B world. After culinary school, he found himself in Manhattan learning French culinary techniques while working the hot line of French chef Daniel Boloud’s db Bistro Moderne. He eventually got married and settled in the Philippines.
Opening a food concept in the middle of the pandemic is no easy feat. But for Lau, “Easy as Pie, Piece of Cake” (EAPPOC) is the mindset he brings to difficult times, hence the name of his new venture.
After much experimentation in the kitchen, Lau eventually focused on Detroit pizzas after his wife, who really wasn’t a pizza fan, took a liking to it.
Lau stumbled upon the pizza while checking upcoming food trends in the United States. Initially, the pizza was known only to foodies from Detroit and the surrounding cities. As it grew in popularity in the US, restaurants from as far as Poland, Russia, and Korea began serving it to their pizza-loving customers.
“Detroit Pizza is like Sicilian pizza… on steroids,” Lau explained.
Like Sicilian pizza, it uses a high hydration crust that resembles focaccia. What makes this different is that it’s cooked in a rectangular deep-dish blue steel pan specially sourced by Lau from Detroit. Blue steel is used for certain auto parts because of its excellent heat conduction properties. Because of the heat, melted cheese that seeps into the sides gets “cooked” by the extra-hot pan walls resulting in edges that are coated with delicate fiery fingers of cheese crisps.
One has to watch Lau and his team make the pizzas to appreciate the work that goes into each pie. The pizzas have to go into the oven multiple times to get that cheese crisp crust just right. Coupled with Lau’s strict quality control over his ingredients, this definitely isn’t fast-food pizza.
The Classic Red is Lau’s base pizza and shows another hallmark of Detroit pizza. Cheese is the base and the sauce is spooned up on top. This is a nice starting point for those new to this type of pizza as it’s just special marinara sauce, Lau’s selection of cheeses, and those cheese crisped walls to savor without any distractions.
Lau is not afraid to experiment with variations. The Flying V is a playful vegetarian interpretation of Peking duck. It is more of an open faced sandwich filled with mushroom pate, braised Asian greens, jackfruit asado, crispy tofu skin, pickled onion and hoisin sauce. The combination strangely works as Lau has done his homework figuring out how to get the meaty and crispy textures sans the actual duck.
If you really want to splurge, check out The Russian, the top-of-the-line pizza is the Russian with salmon lox, ikura, cream cheese and dill. Those who aren’t into salmon because of that oily aftertaste should give this a try as Lau uses only the freshest ingredients.
For dessert, only Lau’s decadently rich Chocolate Brick is on the menu. But he will be adding new items like his Corn Cheesecake soon.
Easy As Pie, Piece of Cake is located at 112 Legazpi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati. For their complete menu, merchandise, and orders, please visit their Facebook page, Instagram or their online store.