- Rachel Chia
800° Woodfired Kitchen, KINEX
Pizza lovers, rejoice – the legendary 800° Woodfired Kitchen from Los Angeles is finally in Singapore, so we can get our paws on its famous Neapolitan-style pies.
The Republic isn’t just home to another typical store in this famous chain, which was established by award-winning American chef Anthony Carron and counts NBA star Dwayne Wade as global partner. Instead, the KINEX outlet is also the world’s first 800° Cafe, which puts a cafe-style spin on the concept, offering not just pizzas, but also dishes including meatballs, salad, and roast chicken.
The 30-seater Paya Lebar store is franchised to Muslim-owned Deelish Brands, which also operates halal fast-casual concepts Fatburger and Blimpie. It’s currently in the process of obtaining halal certification.
What makes the pies from 800° Woodfired Kitchen special is the oven they’re cooked in, which is heated to the namesake 800 degrees fahrenheit. This gives the dough its “leopard print” char. The intense heat also cooks each pizza in 90 seconds: no long waits required!
On our visit, we chow down on three pizzas, starting with the Tartufo (S$17 for 10 inch). The crust is authentic and chewy, thanks to high-protein flour imported from Naples, which is milled to create an elastic dough. Sadly, we can’t quite make out the smokiness, which is supposed to have been imparted from the use of various types of wood to power the oven, but we’re too distracted by the incredible mushroom sauce to care. It tastes like mushroom soup on a pizza, and is unabashedly creamy, with huge chunks of the fungus and a handful of arugula on top to cut through the richness. The beautifully-executed crust shines here, thin in the middle and crisp and charred on the edges. Glorious.
The next pizza we try is the favourite for the afternoon: BBQ Chicken Pizza (S$17 for 10 inch). The BBQ sauce is the dominant flavour, imparting a punchy sweetness and pepperiness to the rest of the toppings, which include rotisserie chicken, chewy provolone, crunchy red onions, and punchy sun-dried tomatoes, which are heavy with concentrated bursts of sweet and sour. All the flavours are pretty strong, so those who typically opt for lighter dishes may want to give this a miss. Otherwise, it’s likely a crowd-pleaser.
Last of the three is the Make Your Own Pizza (price varies). Diners pick from two sizes (10 inch or 14 inch), several bases (margherita, bianca or verde), and a range of toppings, including Philly beefsteak, meatballs, burrata and parmigiano. The total cost depends on the toppings, which are each priced differently; Ours comes with beef salami, jalapenos and an egg, and tastes like breakfast. A great hangover combo with a good amount of heat.
Apart from the pizzas, we also get the 50% combo (S$24 for 2 to 3 pax), which comes with half a bird, a side, and a sauce. There are four combos – 25%, 50%, 100% and 200% – each offering rotisserie chicken, sauces and sides in varying quantities to serve different group sizes, from one diner to 12. The chook the chain is so proud of does indeed prove perfectly juicy, thanks to 48 hours of brining in vegetable stock, plus a herby marinade.
For each combo there are four sides to choose from, and we try them all: butter rice, butter corn, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese. We recommend the corn (slathered in decadent amounts of butter) and the rice (light yet rich, like a pilaf). The mash is great too, with an almost-meaty, moreish sauce, but the cheese in the mac and cheese hardens quickly, so slow eaters beware.
As for the six sauces, it’s hard to pick: each boasts its own flavour, but the most unique is the spicy Peruvian Green sauce, which we haven’t seen around. The rest are safe bets, particularly the mayo-like ranch options (pesto, truffle, and homemade ranch).
It’s rare to find a pizza place that impresses, but 800° Woodfired Kitchen lives up to the hype. We’re sold on the incredible crust, short wait and unique flavours, but what’s great is also the option to order cooked food, creating the option to turn a pizza run into a more balanced meal, making this a place we’d come back to with both friends and family.
800° Woodfired Kitchen
#01-52/52 KINEX Mall, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, S437157
Open Mon - Fri, 11am - 9pm and Sat to Sun, 11am - 9.30pm