Yard Sale Pizza – Holy Pepperoni

Pizzburgh

Yard Sale Pizza does it simple. Small shop, great pizza. Not too many options, a few crowd favourites, and that’s pretty much it.

Simple shop means simple choices, so I just went for a Holy Pepperoni. Sporting some pepperoni (DUHHH) and spicy Nduja sausage, it was a delicious pizza pie. Not a religious one mind you, ain’t nothing holy about pepperoni. But a truly great meal. Not that I was expecting anything less seeing how Yard Sale have been expanding across town.

Simple is good. I like simple. Too much choice can be a bad thing. And with pizza as good as this, it amplifies the experience.

 

Slimy? Oily, messy, greasy… the way pepperoni pizza should be

Satisfying? Holy pepperoni, Batman!

 

Yard Sale Pizza
54 Blackstock Road, London N4 2DW
http://yardsalepizza.com
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pizza L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele margherita

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele – Pizza Margherita

Pizzburgh

How can the hype be any higher? There’s enough places that claim to be “the best” in the food world, that it seems ridiculous to seriously claim to be the greatest at any particular dish. I’ve seen at least three shops called The Best Kebab in London, and can guarantee (after… maybe having tried them as well) that they do not offer the best kebabs at all (one could claim kebabs aren’t meant to be good to begin with).

So along comes L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, which doesn’t really claim to be the best pizza in the world, but it’s fans sure seem to scream so. Famously located in Naples, and apparently made famous by a book (and a sure to be terrible Julia Roberts film) called Eat Pray Love, this offshoot of the original opened in London a few months back, and people won’t stop yammering about it.

After countless times seeing a ginormous queue by it’s door, I decided to give it a go and see how good their pizza could actually be. Hype is one thing, but I’ve had many pizzas, and can claim I know my shit when it comes to cheesy dough. But hype be damned, the Pizza Margherita with Double Mozarella is just wonderful. A huge smorgasbord of springy dough and so much cheese you can tell the Double in Double Mozarella is not a ripoff, this thing was created by Pizza Gods, and as such, it’s worth waiting along the hipsters queuing.

Hype is one thing. Great pizza trumps hype. Such rules govern life.

 

Slimy? Try to eat with your hands. I double dare you.

Satisfying? A remarkable achievement in pizza making. Believe the hype.

 

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
125 Stoke Newington Church St, London N16 0UH
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Voodoo Ray’s – Pizza

Pizzburgh

You know how, when you’re a kid, and you enter a candy store, the first thing you do is go by the counter, put your face as close to the glass as you can, and silently ponder which delight you’re going to choose?

pizza voodoo ray's dalston north london ny style

That’s exactly how my adult persona behaves when I go to Voodoo Ray’s. So many styles, so many slices, how can I possibly choose? With such an incredible selection of pizzas, and with slices as big as they can be made, this is one place where you can go hungry.

Now, I wish I could remember which slices I chose. Truth is, I have no idea. They were so fascinating, that my memory was blocked instantly. That, or I just forgot to write them down. Either way: Voodoo Ray’s rocks.

pizza voodoo ray's dalston north london ny style

pizza voodoo ray's dalston north london ny style

 

Slimy? You’ll need both hands to hold these slices. Massive, and very drippy.

Satisfying? Feel like a kid in a candy store, only old and with adult problems.

 

Voodoo Ray’s
95 Kingsland High St, London E8 2PB
http://voodoorays.com/
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Bravi Ragazzi pizza south london italian boscaiola

Bravi Ragazzi – Pizza Boscaiola

Pizzburgh

So you’re in Brixton. There’s enough food options to satisfy even the hungriest of them all. No need to improvise. But where’s the fun in that?

Even for something as simple as pizza, sometimes to get to the good stuff it’s worth going a bit further. And that’s how I ended up on a sunny Brixton Sunday, taking a bus out of Brixton and into Streatham. Zone 3. Or as I’ve called it before: The Wasteland.

 

Bravi Ragazzi pizza south london italian boscaiola

And there it was, Bravi Ragazzi, a small and cute little pizzeria that had been on my radar for ages. But why go so far for just a pizza? Well, my fellow reader, this isn’t “just a pizza”. First of all, their pizzas are huge. Second, the dough will appear in all your subsequent pizza dreams (I have a pizza dream three times a week. Like clockwork). And third, this Boscaiola pizza, with tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms and ham was so extraordinary, that I’ve just sent an email to the manager to see if I can quit my job and open another branch of Bravi closer to my house in the north.

Bravi Ragazzi pizza south london italian boscaiola

Until then, I guess I’ll have to keep going south. At least I’ll know it will be worth it…

Bravi Ragazzi pizza south london italian boscaiola

Slimy? Thin crust, gooey cheese, much slime

Satisfying? Can a small pizzeria ever be bad? Yes it can. This one isn’t. This one rocks.

 

Bravi Ragazzi
2a SunnyHill Rd, London SW16 2UH
http://braviragazzipizzeria.co.uk/
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Sacro Cuore - Calzone Ripieno pizza italian kensal rise london food

Sacro Cuore – Calzone Ripieno and Diavola Pizza

Pizzburgh

Sisters. They can be a great or a terrible thing. Depending on how old they are, you’re either protecting them or… overprotecting them. At least so I hear, as I have no sisters.

But Ealing’s Santa Maria Pizzeria, already featured in this very blog, has one. It’s another tiny restaurant, this time in Kensal Rise, by the name of Sacro Cuore. Like a good sister, it shares some attributes. Same genes, if you will. They both serve outstanding, beautiful pizza.

Take these two dishes (what can I say? I’m a sharer!): on one side, the Calzone Ripieno, a delicious calzone style pizza filled with prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, salame and other stuff. What a delight. It’s a flavour bomb, all enclosed in the tight womb of delicious dough.

Sacro Cuore - Calzone Ripieno pizza italian kensal rise london food

Looks so perfect from afar…

Sacro Cuore - Calzone Ripieno pizza italian kensal rise london food

But look closer to see the cracks!

And on the other hand, a more traditional Pizza Diavola, with your usual assortment of salame, mozza and some very spicy chillies. A triumph, and it’s pizza as good as its Ealing sister’s.

Sacro Cuore - pizza diavola pizza italian kensal rise london food

The view from the top

Sacro Cuore - pizza diavola pizza italian kensal rise london food

Fire red!

Since I’m all about brotherly love, I salute how these two sister sites can coexist so close to each other (both in West London after all). Here’s hoping their parents get back in the sack and make a few more children, as I wouldn’t mind one of these popping everywhere in London!

 

Slimy? Both the Calzone and the Diavola are equally slimy, in just the right amount

Satisfying? This is some truly, holy pizza. Praying won’t get you a better slice.

 

Sacro Cuore
45 Chamberlayne Road, London NW10 3NB
http://www.sacrocuore.co.uk/
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Pizzeria Pappagone finsbury park london italian pizza north london

Pizzeria pappagone – Quattro Stagioni

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What makes a place “your local”? What is it that turns a restaurant from just another joint up your alley, to THE place you somehow always end up eating at?

Well, I’m not sure. Heck, most people would just call their corner kebab shop their “local”. All I know is, for me, living in the Finsbury Park area (until my landlord goes crazy or something, which could happen any minute), there’s one and only local place: Pizzeria Pappagone.

Pizzeria Pappagone finsbury park london italian pizza north london

I can smell it from here

Pass it by any night. It is always hustling and bustling. Packed to the rim, and with enviable character (I’m pretty sure all the staff is italian, and they sure know their stuff), it’s more than just a restaurant. It’s an Italian experience.

Pizzeria Pappagone finsbury park london italian pizza north london

Getting closer…

My last visit was on a Monday, and yes, it was full. But thankfully, that made no difference in the quality of their pizzas. Going for the Quattro Stagioni, I “stuffa my face” (their words, not mine) with mozzarella, ham, spicy salamy, some shrooms and olives. As good as it was, trust me: it doesn’t matter which pizza you order. They are all good. They are all massive. They all feel traditionally Italian.

Pizzeria Pappagone finsbury park london italian pizza north london

EVEN CLOSER!!

Why haven’t I written about this place before then? Because I always forgot to take pictures. That’s just how good these pizza pies are.

 

Slimy? They do put a lot of mozza. And that is just the way I like my pizzas

Satisfying? If you’re not satisfied and happy after one of these pizzas, then there’s something wrong with you

 

Pizzeria Pappagone
131 Stroud Green Rd, London N4 3PX
www.pizzeriapappagone.co.uk/
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Homeslice – Braised Brisket / Mushroom and Ricotta Pizza

Pizzburgh, Uncategorized

English isn’t my first language, so I hardly pick up on slang. Apparently, Homeslice has some sort of double meaning. For me, though, it’s always been a standout little pizzeria somewhere in Seven Dials (close to Covent Garden), with some truly massive pizzas and truly fascinating ingredients. Since we cannot stop progress, we might as well get more of a good thing. So it was always a matter of when, rather than if, we would get a second branch. And here it is.

Having lost its intimate surroundings for a larger scale operation, the magic is still in the oven. They still stick to just a handful of pizza styles, still serve massive slices and even more massive whole pies (enough for two very hungry humans, or one very hungry alien monster), and still serve wine by “measurement” instead of by glass (they give you a huge bottle, mark where you started drinking and where you ended and then you get charged for what you drank. Quite ingenious and fun).

The ying and the yang. And neither has tomato sauce. Homeslice - Braised Brisket / Mushroom and Ricotta Pizza

The ying and the yang. And neither has tomato sauce.

I don’t use the word humongous lightly. And these pies are as humongous as it comes. So if you order one, use the opportunity, as I did, to test two different styles. We went for a Braised Brisket with BBQ Sauce half, coupled with another Mushroom, Ricotta and other stuff half. Suffice it to say, they were both very different, very excellent, and very, very filling.

So why head to this location instead of the original? Because, as those who’ve been to the original know, it involves a lot of queuing. And I hate queuing. And so should you. Go now, before the word spreads, as this one will have queuing in no time.

Slimy? This slices are MASSIVE. A two hand operation is needed to properly eat this beast of a pizza.

Satisfying? (Great base + even greater mix of ingredients and combinations) * ridiculous size = awesome.

 

Homeslice
52 Wells Street, London W1T 3PR
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Pizzeria Apollo – Diavola

Pizzburgh, Uncategorized

Diavolo. El Diablo. The Devil. Satan. Belzebub. Mother in law. Many names, for the same, demonic being. One needs all the help you can get in order to fend off its charms. It’s spicy, spicy charms. You’ve seen it in menus before. In pizzas all over the world. Diavolo has always been a word for caution. Try if you dare. That kind of scary warning is not for the faint of heart.

What is one to do? I guess you could do much worse than enlisting the help of Apollo, the God of (according to Wikipedia, I sure didn’t know this) “music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more”. And that’s where Pizzeria Apollo comes in, by crafting a deliciously devilish take on the classic Diavola recipe, which is indeed very, very spicy, but also so deliciously baked that you won’t care too much.

They might be hidden, but trust me, loads of chilli in there! Pizzeria Apollo - Diavola

They might be hidden, but trust me, loads of chilli in there!

A recent newcomer to the Hackney foodie scene, Pizzeria Apollo comes thundering down from Olympus with the thinnest crust you can possibly imagine, and some very strong and flavorful ingredients (spicy sausage, mozzarella and some evil, EVIL chilli), make for some damn fine Italian cuisine.

So next time you’re in Hackney, hankering for some spicy Italian times, head to Apollo for some fiery good ones.

Slimy? Or, should I say, Spicy? Yes, very spicy! Also very slimy. But yes, spicy indeed.

Satisfying? Worthy of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades… the whole gang.

 

Pizzeria Apollo
160 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7JL
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Santa Maria Pizzeria – San Giuseppe

Pizzburgh, Uncategorized

The day I ordered a pizza with broccoli shall be remembered. Why would I ever commit such a sin, such an irrevocable mistake, as ordering a pizza pie (or anything really) including broccoli, goes beyond me. But there I was, in a pizzeria in Ealing, eating slice after slice of veggie infested pizza.

And suddenly I realized, not only did it taste good. It tasted great. Could it be that, centuries of kids complaining about broccoli have been spent in vain? That, perhaps, broccoli isn’t as bad as our minds make it out to be? That something green that isn’t lettuce or avocado can actually taste good?

At least at Santa Maria Pizzeria this seems to be true. The San Giuseppe, a fantastic mix of mozzarella, sausage, friarielli (which is apparently wild broccoli) and chilli flakes, has left me numb, and wondering if all I knew about food might be wrong and misguided. I mean, this pizza doesn’t even have tomato sauce, which is already a bold move, but broccoli? Now that’s risky.

What is that green stuff?! Ewwww!!! Santa Maria Pizzeria - San Giuseppe

What is that green stuff?! Ewwww!!!

The small but very efficient restaurant throws pie after pie with incredible dexterity, and they all smelled fantastic, so thankfully, the risk pays off. It tasted delicious. My mind tells me I should hate it. But my body asks for more. I still don’t quite understand how, but the way the sausage and cheese taste with this weird variation on broccoli produces a winner in the pizza front.

Just don’t order it for your kids, or they may never speak to you again…

Slimy? They use a very thin crust at Santa Maria, so things are bound to fall off. But picking them up with your bare hands makes for some delicious thumbsucking afterwards.
Satisfying? Can I? Can I actually agree that something with broccoli can taste good? I think… I can.
Santa Maria Pizzeria
15 St.Mary’s Road, London W5 5RA
Website
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Crate Brewery – Sweet Potato, Stilton and Walnuts Pizza

Pizzburgh, Uncategorized

Pizza and beer. The most fundamental elements of life. One goes with the other, and, as inseparable friends, cannot be held apart for too long. Therefore, it makes sense that if you have a place that excels in serving beer, pizza would be the obvious way to go should you think of offering sustenance to your drinking peasants.

Which is what Crate Brewery, a remarkable beer haven in the ever so strange but very cool (and hipsterish) Hackney Wick, has done. On top of their eclectic beer selection, both brewed in house and bottled elsewhere, they have a topnotch and also very eclectic mix of thin crust pizzas. As a true believer that Pizza+Beer is more than the sum of it’s parts, I ordered a Crate Pale and a Sweet potato, stilton and walnut pizza.

Those ARE NOT carrots. Promise. Crate Brewery - Sweet Potato, Stilton and Walnuts Pizza

Those ARE NOT carrots. Promise.

As much as I would love to go into detail on the beer (4.5%, perfect for summer), this is about the pizza. And what a pizza. Perfectly cooked dough, and very firm, so no ingredients fall and it’s so easy to hold, it doesn’t feel real. But it is. Oh so very real. Potato on pizza is an odd thing, but coupled with a very strong stilton cheese and some weird walnut action, this pizza is a winner. Having tried some of the others in their menu, I can vouch for the fact that they are all winners really.

So head onto Hackney Wick, sit with some strangers side by side on the very crowded terrace by the (hideous but charming?) canal, and enjoy some of the finest pizza in London. The fact that there’s good beer to boot is just the cherry on top. A very alcoholic cherry at that.

Slimy? Not at all! I mean, pizza is slimy by definition, but this is one of the least slimy pizzas I’ve experienced. Almost doesn’t make the slimy cut.

Satisfying? I need better friends who would play along and actually come with me all the way to Hackney Wick to eat these pizzas more often. If they only knew what they are missing…

 

Crate Brewery
Unit 7, Queens Yard, Hackney Wick, London, E9 5EN
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