The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

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The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

New pizza joint provides unique eating experience, lacks finesse


A pizza shop has recently opened in a previous location of the Portland pizza chain Hotlips, at 46th and Sandy. But this restaurant isn’t anything like Hotlips, which serves more traditional, Italian-style pies. Fusion Curry Pizza offers pizza inspired by Indian cuisine, with pizzas coming with curry or tandoori sauces instead of red sauce and paneer cheese in addition to mozzarella. There are already some similar offerings in the suburbs, like Bombay Pizza & Curry in Beaverton, but this is the first in Portland proper. 

Entering the restaurant on a calm Tuesday night, I was hit by the smell of heavy, fried food with a hint of spiciness. The atmosphere was a bit unsettling; the lighting and bustle in the kitchen felt like the restaurant was at its peak hour of the night, yet there was only one other customer seated. After analyzing the menu, I decided to order a medium curry paneer pizza and the makhani waffle fries to share with my dad. We sat down at a table near the back of the restaurant, close to three TVs that were all playing different things: a college basketball game, Bollywood YouTube videos, and a cycle of screensavers. 

After about a 10-minute wait, the first course of waffle fries came. This restaurant offers not only Indian versions of Americanized Italian food, but also straight-up American food like fries and fried chicken. These waffle fries were fully loaded, almost like nachos, a welcome departure from basic fries at most restaurants. They were stacked in a large basket and smothered in a rich, creamy makhani sauce made from tomatoes and cashews, and what looked like cubed paneer—a South Asian cheese similar in texture to tofu. The fries necessitated a fork, which was given to us in a bagged-lunch-type plastic package of disposable cutlery, not the most inspiring for a sit-down dinner. The fries were quite delicious, though; the flavors didn’t taste fancy, but still satisfying to chow on. The plastic fork was at risk of breaking off its prongs every time I took a bite, which slowed down the eating process but helped me to savor the food. 

After we were already pretty full, the pizza arrived. It looked to be about the right size for both of us to share, with the potential for leftovers. The pie itself was slightly hanging off the side of the metal pan it was served on, and it had a handle too small for the eater’s fingers to grasp comfortably. But this also was a benefit, allowing the most room for the all-important toppings. 

Taking the first bite, I tasted the cheeses first, both the paneer and the mozzarella. The spice level was perfect, but I was disappointed to realize that they hadn’t replaced the red sauce with curry, per se—most of the curry flavor was actually in the paneer. This wasn’t a bad thing, the flavor just wasn’t evenly spread out over the whole pizza. I was also disappointed with the crust; it didn’t have a satisfying crispiness at all. It was just doughy, almost feeling undercooked. The non-Indian toppings were also underwhelming: the red onions, green bell peppers and diced tomatoes were all reminiscent of a random NYC-style pizza chain in the sense that they didn’t seem fresh. At least the cilantro was a nice, creative addition. 

After two or three slices, I went back to nibbling on the waffle fries, of which only half were eaten at that point. Eating the fries again after eating the pizza made them less appetizing, not only because I was pretty full but also because of a realization my dad had—the paneer was actually chicken. At first I didn’t believe him—the “paneer” was cubed and kind of did look like the paneer on the pizza. We checked with one of the employees in the restaurant and they confirmed it was chicken. I was kind of upset as that wasn’t made clear at all on the menu, and of course as a vegetarian it wasn’t ideal to have meat in the fries. The employee apologized and said that the curry waffle fries didn’t have chicken. My dad’s and my thinking was that next time we visited the restaurant, we’d swap the sauces from the pizza and fries, getting the Makhani paneer pizza and the curry fries…without chicken. But that wouldn’t be for a while; I would want to wait for them to further integrate into the new location. 

Fusion Curry Pizza definitely has potential, but I feel it is let down by a lack of polish. Other customers seem to disagree with me though, as the restaurant averages five stars on Google Maps with over 80 reviews. I wouldn’t discourage people from visiting—especially those who would eat anything on the menu—but I would say it wasn’t for me. Maybe I came on the wrong day, but the pizza itself felt like normal New York pizza with some Indian ingredients thrown on top: unique, but still too familiar. The Portland curry pizza scene isn’t going anywhere, though; West Coast chain Curry Pizza House is looking to move into Portland, so there’s plenty more opportunity for this style of pizza to be explored.

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About the Contributor
Eban Slate, Copy Editor
Eban Slate (he/him) is a sophomore who enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, running, playing piano and shooting photos. He joined The Oracle to write and photograph interesting stories for readers to be inspired by.

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  • W

    WanyingFeb 9, 2024 at 12:49 pm


  • M

    milaFeb 9, 2024 at 12:10 pm

    I love how they described how the pizzas taste and look. Makes me want pizza now