Local gastro blogger Jani Jancsa, an expert on artisanal burgers and creator of Budapest’s Bamba Marha chain, has just launched a new venture: Donna Mamma, with pizzas so Neapolitan they’re heritage-protected.
The opening of the first Bamba Marha in 2015 was slowly followed by others before this three-man crew began to look in a new gastronomic direction. This was pizza, and not just any pizza, but the traditional Neapolitan variety.
The reason: pizzas have a longer history here than craft hamburgers, which only became a popular street food in the 2010s.
The Jani team went straight to Naples to gain more knowledge on the subject. At the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), they learned the ins and outs of making heritage-protected Neapolitan pizza, and set themselves the goal of gaining official certification.
AVPN is responsible for maintaining World Heritage standards as far as Neapolitan pizza is concerned. They only offer certificates if certain criteria are met: pizzas must be baked in a wood-fired (or gas-fired, in extenuating circumstances) oven, they must be 35cm wide, no more than 0.25cm high in the centre, and their ingredients are strictly regulated in terms of origin and preparation. So far, about 800 restaurants around the world may use the official logo, including one in Hungary, Igen.
Of course, you can bake Neapolitan pizza without it, as they do all over the world (even in Naples, most unrated pizzerias do) – but Jani Jancsa reckons it's not worth it. So he set the standard for ingredients: 00 flour from a mill in Turin, San Marzano tomatoes from the south side of Vesuvius in Campania, provenance of buffalo mozzarella, as well as the Margherita pizza.
The long-rising, four-ingredient dough (salt, yeast, flour and purified water) is baked at 450 degrees for 60 to 90 seconds in a Valoriani oven from Florence. An AVPN trainer was present at the beginning to provide professional help.
For our visit, we first asked for the most basic item, pizza marinara – with tomatoes, oregano, garlic and extra virgin olive oil – to assess the precision involved.
In addition to the standard marinara and Margherita, the menu also includes brave and breezy solutions that allows Jani to let loose with his imagination. The Carlotta features pancetta, egg, mozzarella, mashed black pepper, olive oil, Paolina Napoli salami (cut into strips as recommended by the AVPN expert), sweet pepperoni, bell peppers, parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes.
Invariably, filled pizzas are definitely more full-bodied, heavier dishes, not light and easy to slip down as the ones at Donna Mamma. Given the location, however, this isn’t a problem. The restaurant is located on Astoria, alongside the fifth Bamba Marha burger outlet, opened in August. So if one half of the group is hungry enough for burgers, the other after pizza, everyone’s prayer will be answered.
Donna Mamma District VIII. Rákóczi út 1-3
Open: Daily 11.30am-10pm