Rosso serves a new type of pizza in Berlin. One that leaves you feeling light and fresh after eating, whilst still being deep, cheesy and indulgent. The recipe’s not new, it’s more than 2000 years old.
I love it and I hate it. That Sunday pizza gorge. It’s always a large pizza, BBQ sauce, maybe double cheese. Three garlic dips. Always over-the-top and horrifically overpriced. Always in bed. And in bed you have to stay, because for once the weight of the world isn’t resting on your shoulders, but uncomfortably in your stomach. And it’ll be there, digesting, for the rest of the day and into Monday. I hate it but also love it.
Now, Sundays can be a day of eating too much pizza AND being active.
Rosso, a new and authentic Italian restaurant in Helmholzstrasse, Charlottenburg/Moabit way, offers an ‘alternative brunch’. This brunch consists of pasta, salads and, most importantly, their famous pinsa romana. The pinsa romana is an ancient Roman pizza-type thing dating back 2000+ years. Rosso is the only place in Berlin who can make it.
The pinsa romana dough is made from a unique mix of grains including wheat, soy and rice flour. The process of making it is so complex and time-consuming that Rosso’s head chef had to attend a four-month course in a special Roman academy just to be able to perfect it. And one batch of dough can take up to 150 hours to make.
The pinsa romana has curious health properties.
This may seem a lot of work for a pizza, but it’s worth it. Aside from making a wonderfully layered dough that takes on a new life whether you eat it hot or cold (and left-over pizza slices can stay fresh for days), it also has a curious effect in your gut. The proteins in the dough and high water content means it’s quickly digested by your stomach, making the pinsa romana a much lighter, less stodgy pizza without having to cut out all your favourite toppings.
Sundays are all-you-can-eat pinsa romana and more.
We visited Rosso’s on a Sunday for their ‘Alternative Brunch’. Their small canteen-style restaurant has a clean and welcoming decor and the wafting heat and smells of charring pizza is ever present from their permanently-baking pizza oven.
For 13€ per person, you can point at whatever takes your fancy and the staff will prepare it and bring it over to you, whether it’s a selection of salads, cheese and cold-cuts, pasta dishes finished in the oven, or their curious cold slices of pinsa romana.
You can also choose any (or every) pizza/pinsa off the menu, where they are served on a wooden chopping board perfect for sharing.
The chef told me that he prefers his pinsa cold, and looks forward to the left-overs. For this reason, they have a selection of cold slices ready for you, although instead of being topped with traditional pizza toppings, they’re topped with much creamier, heavier creations, like guacamole or a creamy tuna topping. When cold, the dough has the soft mouth-feel of a flatbread, whilst still being supple enough to support the heavy toppings.
Rosso is ‘True Italian’.
Rosso has been accredited as ‘True Italian’ by those charming guys at Berlino magazine, and it’s easy to see why. On our visit, the little bistro was alive with the buzz of families young and old enjoying their Sundays with wine and laughter, over elaborately complicated, yet deliciously ‘simple’ food.
Go along and try pizza’s great grandfather, the pinsa romana. It’s the only place in Berlin you can.
Rosso Alternative Pizza
13€ per person