Chicken Tikka at Chicago's Pizza with a Twist
Updated: Aug 29, 2020
The twist is bold, fresh, spicy Indian flavors in a completely unassuming pizza chain. Without a word-of-mouth recommendation I would never know!
I work at IUPUI and over the summer a college student from India, not sure if he wants me to use his name, recommended that I try Chicago's Pizza with a Twist (view on map) for something a little different. I googled it and though, huh, this place? Even from the photos on the website you can't really appreciate how unique this place is from all the other pizza chains. I had to get two pages in to actually read the description and I saw Chicken Tikka pizza, Tandoori Chicken pizza - okay now you have my attention!
The restaurant is just off 96th Street in Fishers at the Fry's Electronics exit. I think they've been here for a while, but one of the first things I noticed when we walked in was how clean it smelled. It smelled brand new like the vinyl cushions in the booth were just installed - until you get closer to the register and then you start to get the curry aroma.
They have a ton of size options including 10" (small), 12" (medium), 14" (large), and 16" (family). We both got 12" thinking it was basically a large-ish personal-ish size and ended up taking home 2 slices each.
I ordered the Chicken Tikka pizza (medium heat), which is Tikka Sauce, Tikka Chicken, Mozzarella Cheese, Mushrooms, Red Onion, Bell Pepper, Garlic, Ginger, Fresh Cilantro, Green Chilies and Jalapeno. Chris got half double cheese and half pepperoni and crunchy bacon (neat it was actually called crunchy bacon and not just bacon on the menu). I got a beer from India called Taj Mahal Premium Lager and it came in a large 675 mL bottle, and the person behind the counter brought it out to the booth along with a frosted pint glass - nice touch!
It was pretty empty in there at 2:00pm on a Saturday during COVID and we got our food right away. What do you think, we got some pretty good lighting for photos!
I must say, mine looks way better than Chris' boring cheese and pepperoni. He gives it a mediocre review and blames the fact that my spicy pizza must have been in the oven next to his because he complained about a vague something-or-other about the flavor. I on the other hand was all about it! This thing packed some heat, complexity, and plenty of cilantro (basically don't come here if you hate cilantro).
I got waves of flavor that reminded me of a regular supreme pizza with green peppers and mushroom, and then waves of aroma that reminded me of a Chinese buffet - revealing my limited frame of reference. Really though, I came in thinking this was going to taste like Indian food but on pizza crust, and it's not like that - it's clearly pizza first but the toppings are heavily influenced by Asian flavors. In fact, just the crust itself had a very American breadstick and cornmeal thing going on, so it's not Indian pizza, it's pizza with a twist.
I should say they also offer Naan Pizza on the menu, which certainly would give more of an Indian style pizza, along with Indian Style Breadsticks - but I'm not sure what makes them Indian Style.
If I had to describe the tikka sauce I'd say it's a white creamy sauce that is spicier than Alfredo sauce. The crust is spongy but firm with a nice lip that holds the toppings and gives you a little something to grab onto.
The Chicken Tikka toppings were super fresh tasting and wakes you up with green chillies and the sharp herbal bite of cilantro on the roof of your mouth. The mozzarella is melted seamlessly into the tikka sauce and it comes off as just a gooey spicy white base and fresh, sometimes even crunchy produce on top. The chicken itself was a little dry, maybe they mix up big batches of it ahead of time or maybe the oven really dried it out.
Maybe it's the atmosphere or the size of the pizza that we got, but I kept telling Chris this seemed like a lunch pizza not a dinner pizza. Like the kind of place you swing by on your way back from IKEA rather than a take-the-family-to-dinner kind of place. Chris told me lunch pizza isn't a category and that it was all in my head. The flavor was superb and complicated, and I loved feeling refreshed because we've been eating a lot of heavy pizzas lately. I feel like I could have this again and again. However, something about it didn't quite come together all the way - maybe it needs a drizzle of something over the top to tie it all together. A drizzle would really make this!
I hope this place makes it! I want to come back again to try all the different kinds of unique specialty pizzas. Fun fact, there are 3 locations in Indy, and the rest are all over California, Seattle and the East Coast - so we are the only place in the Midwest to try out the twist. Tag us on Instagram @indypizzablog if you try it and let us know what you think!