Pizza making with Valentine Warner

The TV chef shows us how to make his new Pizza Express creations

Valentine Warner has previous with Pizza Express. The restaurant’s new collaborator might be better known for his bestselling cook books and BBC television show, but once upon a time he could be found sporting the famous black and white stripes as a Pizza Express waiter. Times have changed however, and Warner is no longer handing out menus. He’s designing them instead.

Warner has followed in the footsteps of Theo Randall and Francesco Mazzei in creating a pair of new pizzas for the restaurant’s new spring menu. Valentine’s Puttanesca and Valentine’s Fennel & Salami were both officially launched last Tuesday, and we were lucky enough to be invited along to meet the chef and have a bash at recreating them ourselves. Continue reading

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Cantuccio, Clapham

Cantuccio is friendly but lacks the quality of some of London’s top artisan pizzerias

Cantuccio has chosen its name well. The Italian word means ‘corner’ or ‘nook’, which neatly suits the location of this Clapham pizzeria as well as its cosy, informal atmosphere. On arrival we were pleased to be greeted simultaneously by an elderly Italian waiter and the smoky aroma of the restaurant’s prized wood-burning oven. However our sense of anticipation turned quickly to agitation when we noticed the pizzaiolo busily working away at his pizzas… with a rolling pin. Continue reading

Pizza Express, Wardour Street, Soho

The ubiquitous Pizza Express has been serving London pizza for nearly 50 years

If you’re reading this blog it is a pretty safe bet you’ve been to, or at least heard of, Pizza Express at some point in your life. While most will already know what to expect from this venerable chain, we couldn’t overlook the restaurant that first brought pizza to Britain’s high streets. With this in mind, we wandered down to check out the place where it all began. Continue reading

Meeting the Pizza Pilgrims

We join the Pizza Pilgrims for a tasting evening, as they open a new street-food venture in Soho’s Berwick Street Market

London’s growing love of street food has been well-documented over the last few years, with on-the-hoof outlets cropping up throughout the city wherever there are hungry workers to feed. Success stories such as Meat Liquor (formerly Meat Wagon) and Pitt Cue Co. have even managed to translate their menus to permanent premises, but up until now, street pizza has remained elusive. Continue reading

Sartori, Covent Garden

Sartori is a hidden gem serving great pizza-by-the-metre in the heart of London

Finding a decent meal in Covent Garden is like finding a needle in a haystack. For every Hawksmoor or Dishoom, there are at least a dozen chain restaurants, half-hearted brasseries and tourist-trap steakhouses. Finding a decent pizza is even harder, with most of the slice-based action restricted to the sickly-looking specimens found sweating in the cafés surrounding Leicester Square tube. Continue reading

Otto, Notting Hill

Otto’s pizzas pack a hearty punch with cornmeal crusts and generous toppings

What exactly is it that makes a pizza a pizza? This was the question we came back to time and time again while eating lunch at Otto, the UK’s first purveyor of cornmeal-crust pizza.  Unlike more traditional pizzas which have bases made using wheat flour, the founders of this small, informal restaurant off Westbourne Grove use mainly cornmeal, a trick they picked up on a road trip through Oregon. The result is an unusual dish that bears little resemblance to its Italian siblings, but is no less enjoyable for it. Continue reading

Donna Margherita, Battersea

Quality imported ingredients make all the difference at Donna Margherita

Named in homage to the most famous of Italy’s pizzas, Donna Margherita has built up an impressive reputation of its own, with a loyal following throughout Battersea and beyond. The cosy restaurant on Lavender Hill prides itself on being the first in the UK to be recognised by the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, an organisation aimed at maintaining the highest standards of Neapolitan pizza making around the world. Needless to say, we wanted to find out more.

Continue reading

Pizza East, Portobello

The Shoreditch success story repeats the trick in its new Western home

When the achingly hip Soho House Group announced plans for a Shoreditch-based pizza restaurant back in 2010, we must confess to harbouring doubts. Creating a network of exclusive members’ clubs is all well and good, but how would that initiative translate to the fashioning of a competent pizza?

Happily, our fears were thoroughly confounded by Nick Jones and his team, as Pizza East proved itself well capable of serving up delicious, authentic pizzas to match the see-and-be-seen atmosphere of its trendy, East London setting. Continue reading

Pizza Metro Pizza, Battersea

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. Continue reading

Santa Maria, Ealing

With top quality pizza at rock-bottom prices, Santa Maria should be on every Londoner’s list

The first time I visited Santa Maria they had run out of dough. The surprising news was delivered with a characteristic Italian shrug and the recommendation to come back another time.

This happened just before the tiny South Ealing pizzeria was crowned London’s best by Time Out magazine and was, I discovered later, a consequence of the proprietors’ uncompromising zeal for fresh ingredients and traditional methods. Continue reading