Italian Bread Getting Native Taste in Kashmir

“We’re consciously using traditional cooking methods and it’s working well.”

TUMANS of Habak weren’t expecting a “harrowing homecoming” from a developed country like United Kingdom where they were thriving on their two-decade-long diamond business.

But come Covid and the crippling economy would even force this well-settled Kashmiri family to come home.

“The bad situation drove us out of England,” said Mohammad Yusuf Tuman, a resident of Habak, Srinagar. “It was a traumatic time as we had to literally leave everything behind.”

Back home, Tumans shortly wore their thinking caps—and decided to do something new.

They wanted to start something different from their family business.

“It took us two years of research before we decided to start this pizza house with our partner, Bilal Ahmad,” Yusuf said.

“We thought pizza hangout is the best choice since its trending and liked by youngsters.”

The Pizza Hut

In the last week of January 2022, Tumans rented a space at the iconic Bund in Lal Chowk and gave it a shape of pizza hut with the name Woodfire Pizza and Cafe.

But since the city has witnessed mushrooming of cafes and restaurants who serve the “best pizzas” in the town, Tumans thought of something different that would attract more people and carry a native feeling.

“The idea was to give an Italian delicacy a Kashmiri touch,” Yusuf said.

“So we added Kebabs on pizzas which go with thin crust. This native touch is already adding a new taste to the foreign bread.”

Pizza with Kebab topping.

To keep it traditional, Tumans don’t use an electric or gas oven to prepare the pizza, like most of the eateries in the city. They use a handmade oven fuelled by firewood. It gives the pizza a totally different taste.

“We’re consciously using traditional cooking methods and it’s working well,” Yusuf said.

The men behind the pizza.

Apart from pizzas, the café on Bund serve barbecues, garlic breads, Italian salad and chicken, sandwiches and other tandoori items.

“We aspire to serve food with friendly manner and reasonable prices at a place where one gets the clear picture of river Jhelum,” Yusuf said.

“We’re also planning to open a food chain in Kashmir with the same concept.”


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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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