by Dr Jesda M Tivayanond
When a successful American corporate executive decides to follow his dreams to do something he loves and opens an authentic New York style pizza parlour in Bangkok, and within a year it becomes one of the best pizzerias in this region, you would think this is a premise for another Woody Allen movie. Well, it should be.
Jonathan Spearman and his wife Celina arrived in Bangkok just over two years ago. Before, he was running a luxury leather goods brand from Hong Kong and Celina was a practising Chinese medicine doctor. They were living the high-flying global executive life with their beautiful young daughter, Isabella or ‘Mazzie’. But soon after, a quieter and more relaxing lifestyle came calling, and here is where this quirky Woody Allen-esqe storyline of Brooklyn in Bangkok begins.
Jonathan or Jon has always loved the science and art of food, especially cuisine based on a rich history and premised on using only the best ingredients and always made fresh. He grew up in Brooklyn NY, capital of Italian Americanisms, and in particular, the iconic neighbourhood pizzeria that is loved and trusted as the local hangout – a place where you get reliable and great food with a cool and comfortable ambiance. And this is what he has created with Pizzeria Mazzie. So, how did it become Bangkok’s hottest pizzeria within such a short time?
Obviously, it’s the food. While there is no such thing as ‘diet pizza’ this thing comes pretty close. It was while growing up in Brooklyn where Jon absorbed the dough making and pizza baking skills from NY’s finest master bakers. Jon doesn’t use yeast in his dough, which is made fresh daily. It’s naturally leavened dough, based only on flour, water and salt (no additives or preservatives). So it’s light and tangy. Think the dough version of Wagyu beef–so light it melts in your mouth. The menu is only one page, but everything is done really well-from the two ranges of pizza (one type has tomato sauce as a base, the other type has a selection of cheeses), the light and flavourful salads, other zesty Brooklyn starters, to the unique selection of interesting wines and bottled craft beers.
But it’s also the real feel of the NY neighbourhood pizzeria that Jon and Celina have perfected here. Both are there every day to ‘catch up’ with the people, keeping it casual and cosy. Then there’s Miles Davis and John Coltrane playing in the background, sometimes even Pavarotti to bring on the global village setting, hence that unique ‘Brooklyn in Bangkok’ vibe.
The best seats are the leather stools at the bar, where you can see Jon work. He makes the pizza on the custom-made oak wood prep area and is always happy to tell you about each carefully selected item. (Ask him for a sniff of the fresh Sicilian oregano if you get a chance–makes you think of a food scene in one of The Godfather movies.) He uses the wood fire Acunto oven made by a Napoletan family oven baker, and the pizza cooks perfectly in under two minutes. The common reaction from customers upon the first bite is that muted hidden smile expressing the much anticipated “so light, so good, so balanced” feeling.
Pizzeria Mazzie is cosy in feeling and in size. It’s not big (only 30 seats) and Jon is looking to expand as soon as he can. While the place does get famously busy from Fri-Sun, the other weekdays are good times to go. Pizzeria Mazzie is about honest and good food, which reflects Jon and Celina’s creed to doing something they both love and enjoy. They have brought the unique sense of a local Brooklyn pizzeria to Bangkok and to that, we can aptly say “jeet yet?’…which in NY lingo means: “did you eat yet?”
18 Ekamai Park Lane Mall, Sukhumvit Soi 63
Open daily: 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sat-Sun open for lunch 12pm-2:30pm. Closes on Mon
Tel: 02 060 8822