Size does matter for the restaurant that brought pizza-by-the-metre to Britain
It’s no surprise that the restaurant credited with introducing ‘pizza al metro’, or pizza-by-the-metre, to our shores takes its roots very seriously. The moment you step into the aptly-named Pizza Metro Pizza, it’s clear that a little slice of Italy has been lovingly created in Clapham Junction.
Small tables are crowded between a huge, gaudy mural of a Neapolitan market scene on one wall and an ancient coffee machine resembling something out of Dr Who on the other. Harried waiters run to and fro, balancing improbably long trays of pizza and shouting Italian to one another. The Vespa parked casually next to our table completed the impression that the atmosphere here is as informal, bustling and cheerful as anything you could hope to find in Italy.
We opted for a half-metre between two, choosing a combination of Salsiccia e Sweet Peppers and Diego’s. The former has a simple mozzarella base sprinkled with thin slices of Italian sausage, nicely accentuated with sweet red and yellow peppers and fresh rocket. Meanwhile Diego’s adds strong-flavoured salame and creamy buffalo ricotta to a classic tomato and mozzarella base, finished off with basil and rocket.
Pairings like these work well together and allow you to experiment with a variety of toppings, which is always a plus in our eyes. The list of pizzas is traditional but diverse and characterised by fresh ingredients and quality imported produce throughout.
Our base was tasty but did seem a tiny bit undercooked and consequently lacked the elusive crispiness that signals a top-class crust. However rather than being a fundamental issue with the ‘pizza al metro’ style we guessed that this might be the result of a chef under pressure to quickly turn out large numbers of pizzas to a packed restaurant.
It turned out that on this occasion half a metre was more than enough to leave us defeated so we ruefully declined a delicious-looking tray of desserts and ordered only coffees to finish up.
The long-standing clutch of Italian waiters here seem constantly rushed off their feet and service can be a little hit-and-miss as a result, but it’s hard to bear a grudge as they’re so friendly and keen to accommodate. Indeed it was only as we left that we realised we’d stayed long after the restaurant had closed for the afternoon – refreshingly the staff had not even hinted at this, simply leaving us to chat until we were ready to leave.
Pizza Metro Pizza is a great spot if you’re looking for a casual bite with friends, though the half-metre and one-person pizza options mean you don’t necessarily need a big group to pay this excellent pizzeria, or its Notting Hill sister, a visit.
1 Salsiccia e Sweet Peppers
2 San Pellegrino Limonata
Pizza Metro Pizza
64 Battersea Rise