Once upon a dark evening I traversed to a pizzeria called @double_zero_pizzeria in leafy Chorlton, Manchester. I remembered being irked as I was seated outside in one of those patios, lit red by radiators. You know the ones, right? Anyway, when I cut and ate my first slice, I was dumbfounded by its quality. I wanted to tell you all, but I couldn’t: the pictures were absolute shite. Despite them suggesting that I was reviewing the pizza from the flamy pits of hell, it was heaven. Scroll right for my pictorial failures.
So, I returned last weekend to try again. Pictured is the Formaggio - mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmigiana (aubergines), and scamorza. Interestingly, I was simply served a Margherita with gorgonzola without an explanation prior to being served. I did receive a price reduction, but that’s no justification. It’s an odd review; I didn’t like the toppings mixture I was left with, but I remained delighted for the reasons I returned. Perfectly zesty, red San Marzano tomatoes, puffy, charred, cloud-like dough, and generally well-sourced ingredients. This pizza falls apart in your mouth as much it falls apart on your plate. It reminds me of lively @sartorirestaurant in Central London, but better.
Never put gorgonzola on a Pizza Margherita, though, guys. I’ll never forgive you.
As my time in Manchester draws to a close, so do my fabulous reviews of its pizza.
Quick beer and Margherita at @sandbar_mcr. Solid pizza. I feel this picture doesn't do it justice.
The mozzarella was superb - look at it: its alive with snowy-whiteness. Contrast this with my recent review of Salvi's Mozzarella Bar.
Fairly modest charring on nicely-seasoned dough.
The tomato sauce impressed me too. For those of you who've spotted the dry patches; ignore them, because they don't detract from the pizza's overall quality.
Does pizza need cheese? This one doesn’t.
I remember once sitting in sunny Rome, feeling Englishly-perplexed at the idea of potatoes on pizza. I shouldn’t have been.
Here’s the Avezzanese (a native or inhabitant of Avezzano, Italy) - roasted potatoes, roasted onions, rosemary & extra virgin olive oil.
The potatoes were soft and well-roasted; wet with olive oil. Flavour intensified by the woody, dry, aromatic rosemary. As with my last @noiquattrouk review, the dough was perfectly smoky.
This is a pizza from the earth. Take my recommendation and eat it.
This time I’m doing Liverpool.
It’s the @littlefurnace who are holding the Pizza Napoletana torch to Liverpool. This is a Margherita pizzeria with buffalo mozzarella. Take your attention to the red, pulpy, strong tomato sauce game. Salty, acidic, and hearty. This is what makes this pizza fun.
Did the buffalo mozzarella satisfy quality and quantity wise? Not this time, sadly, but whatever. I like this place.
I don’t find myself in Liverpool often, so I would like to throw a quick ode to the @balticmarket. The average super-powered London food court has nothing on you. You have a raw sense of collective fun without a print of pretence.
Keep a look out for Luca from @fritto_uk - his baking skills are 🔥🔥🔥
The pizza game doesn’t stop because I’m in Germany. This was literally the only Pizzeria Napoletana I could find in quaint little Nuremberg. Yes, I’m hitting up another Margherita; no, it’s not the same as the rest. Notice how the mozzarella takes this pizza’s centre stage. The base was distinctly firm without being crispy. This softer, doughy texture boasts a different taste to the crispier kind. It also allows you to fold your pizza slice more firmly, which other Neapolitan Pizza might forbid. Slide right for a picture of this.
A moment of rarity. This is Noi Quattro (‘Us Four’) and I reckon it serves the best pizza in Manchester.
Queen Margherita, let’s go.
Fior Di Latte (mozzarella) - make a point of tasting it on its own. White, creamy, and well-sourced.
San Marzano pomodori (tomatoes) - wonderful rosso spread neatly and evenly across the base. Yummy.
Dough - smoky, cautiously charred, and sufficiently salty. This is what stood out most, for me. This is why it’s Manchester’s best.
This pizza’s quality boasts a striking similarity to Rudy’s, but it’s subtly superior.
Despite one of them living back in Naples at the moment, I invite @youngandfoodish and @pizzadixit to come to share their opinions. I want to see this place in the next @wheretoeatpizza.
Panzerotti are basically golden fried pockets of dough from Puglia. Luca from @fritto_uk offers these up at @grubmcr (he’s mostly found in Liverpool) and they are simply amazing. Pictured is The Classico - tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmigiano, and fresh basil. This blends the foundational flavours (and colours) of the Pizza Margherita with wonderful intimacy; scroll right to see this in action.
Scroll right again for the mozzarella sticks I scooped up. Pair them with a good beer.
I was elated to see my fellow reviewer, @pizzadixit rank @plymcr as the second best pizza in Manchester (because it is). Glare at my Portobello - fior di latte (mozzarella), portobello mushrooms, truffle and garlic oil. This is a no bullshit pizza; it’s a Margherita with an earthy kick.
When I see pizza bloggers venture up North to see its pizza game, I get all happy. So this a homage to pizza DIXIT. Brighton, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, Paris, Tokyo - he’s reviewed them all. Try going on holiday and eating shit pizza, because now you have less of an excuse.
For Manchester readers: look out for @noiquattrouk. I’m eager to review this joint.
Massive shoutout to @wandercrust_ldn for winning this year's London Pizza Festival. Apparently they had a close call with Heston Blumenthai's, @theperfectionistscafe.
Big up to all the other participants: @santamariapizza, @motherlondon, @haicenato, and 'O ver.
Il maestro pizzaiolo, @sorbillo even popped in. This is the quality of a @youngandfoodish creation.
Love, love, love.
Naples, Rome, and my city, London - @fresco_napoli dishes up at @mercatometropolitano. Pizza Napoletena varies on so, so many levels; that's what keeps me tasting.
This is the Margherita Verace (the 'real Margherita'). Okay, so, dough: lacking in saltiness and slightly gummy, but solid charring; tomato sauce: overly salty, but evenly-dispensed across the base; mozzarella di bufala: snow white, milky, melty, milky, and alive (perfetto). Although I've simplistically grouped this review into 3 parts, I've never tasted a pizza like this. The choice of ingredients producer, or the skill and experience of the pizzaiolo. It all matters, yet we don't see it.
Colours, flavours, design - @plymcr is my second favourite pizzeria in Manchester.
Pictured is The Asparagus - fior di latte (mozzarella), asparagus, ricotta, parsley, garlic, and lemon. This is another example of a carefully and creatively-crafted bianca pizza. It is bright, zesty, herby, creamy, and clean. Picture yourself eating this in, say, little Sorrento in summertime. Beautiful.
Holloway Road's, Zia Lucia plays a strong dough game. There are 4 types: traditional. whotemeal, gluten-free, and vegetable charcoal. Take your eyes back to the pictured pizza - I choose the vegetable charcoal. Pizza nero ("black pizza") swiftly ticks the majestic marketing box; apparently it possesses otherworldly health benefits too, but whatever, what is this dough like? Upon first bite, you'll note its lightness - you'll rarely chew and digest pizza this easily. Further, the charcoal gives the dough a sterner, more bodied taste, which is why I recommend the (pictured) Ortolana (tomato sauce, mozarella, courgettes, aubergines, peppers) because it strikes contrast with the sweetness of the vegetables. In conclusion, it doesn't beat your average Pizza Napoletana dough in terms of taste, but it provides a neat solution to what other doughs can do to your poor tummy.
Zia Lucia source their ingredients well. I like their service too. However, their mozzarella game could be stronger. Pay them a visit and form your own view, though!
Two Sundays ago I ventured down to Wandsworth to try @carmine_alfredo's Pizza Napoletana - I spent hours sitting in the sun with them - talking pizza passion, their business ambitions, and generally just having a laugh.
Carmine & Alfredo are two solid friends from Caserta (north of Napoli) armed with one of @johnnypizzaportafogliotakeue's wood-fired ovens seamlessly mounted to an ape. Their home base is currently 1 Chapel Yard in Wandsworth. Quirky Ant's @blackchapelcoffee sits to the opposite, and bang, their beautiful little community is constructed.
Everything is sourced meticulously, whether that be pomodorino del piennolo (piennolo tomatoes from Mount Vesuvius) or sale marino dell'adriatico (Adriatic sea salt). The former makes for a textured tomato base which is beautifully rich.
Whether you're a topping minimalist or mentalist, you'll notice that the pizza's dough (Molino laquone "00") boasts a playful bounciness to its base and crust. Your hands and mouth will thank you, for that, trust me.
Finally, let’s play a game: take the trip to visit Carmine & Alfredo and try to spot a passerby who doesn’t stop for a smile and a chat – you’ll lose. One particularly heartwarming (pictured) moment was when a local Italian man gifted Carmine homegrown basil with his two little girls, who gave roses. They must be doing something right, eh?
Carmine, Alfredo – I wish you only the best in your business ventures. Or is that too formal? Probably. I’ll see you both very soon for a pizza jam. Ciao raga!
@wheretoeatpizza - you need to check this place out!