Launch Of the international pizza brand Papa John's

We are in ragged tracks and T-shirts. Definitely not the most appropriate choice of clothing for a newly-opened buzzing pizza place. But then it's not the most appropriate time for wolfing down pizzas either. After an hour-long yoga session when most people sip on green tea or soup here we are unabashedly heading to Papa John's, the newest pizzeria in the city.

The international pizza brand has it's headquarter in Louisville, Kentucky. Papa John's has multiple outlets in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune Gujarat, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Chennai is the latest addition. Given the anticipation — the venue's been conspicuously under construction for months. When we enter, the place is almost full with a mix of locals and expatriates trying out the food. We quickly grab one of the last two available seats and flip through the giant menu.

What do we order? Potato wedges? Cheesesticks or paneer bites? Soup and salad — no thank you. Garlic Parmesan breadsticks — yes please. Six pudgy breadsticks blanketed in a buttery sauce sit before us. We chomp on them ravenously, even though they clearly aren't the best breadsticks in town. They're tough, chewy, and dry inside, almost like a soulless artist with cakes of make-up. It would perhaps be better if the dip was served separately.

Hopefully the pizzas will have more character. The good thing is that they have pizzas starting at Rs. 75. Perfect for the diners who don't want to share. We continue flipping the pages of the menu furiously. There's paneer tandoori pizza, garden special, rainbow veggie...we aren't in the mood for vegetarian. So will it be tandoori chicken, Papa's Italian chicken sausage or maybe one of the signature dishes.

After much debate we unanimously decide on one of the signature pizzas The Super Papa's, based on the picture of a colourful pizza topped with chicken salami, spicy Italian chicken sausage, fresh mushrooms, juicy pepperoni, green peppers, red onions and black olives. But when it appears it doesn't look anything like the picture in the menu. Perhaps they are fraternal twins?

You know how when you bite into a pizza, a bridge of cheese forms between your mouth and the slice? That didn't happen. This cheese looks detached. The ingredients and the pizza on the whole feel bland and dry. We hear all ingredients are imported. Perhaps it's a case of jetlag?

Our pizza lacks something but I can't quite put a finger on it. I feel like a doctor who is unable to diagnose a case. So we ask for oregano, Tabasco, tomato ketchup and chilli flakes and after smothering the pizza in all of the above we dunk it into the garlic dip that comes with it. Marginal improvement. Still not satisfied with our order we ask for chicken wings and the molten lava chocolate cake (the only dessert). We wait fingers crossed. The chicken wings are served with Barbeque sauce and tastes just about okay. It's not deep fried, so we guess it's one of the healthier options. That leaves the sultry, chocolate oozing molten cake, which clearly is the diva of the menu.

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