Pizza Pilgrims, Carnaby
So this glorious long bank holiday weekend we were hit with a huge craving for authentic Italian pizza, and after a week of liquid only diet (and not the fun kind either) we decided we deserved it. For a change from lovely lovely L'Antica, which we practically live in, we headed into town to Pizza Pilgrims. I've been to the Soho Dean Street one before as I worked nearby, but was mindful of the steep narrow staircase, so opted for the new Carnaby branch in Kingly Court. Incidentally Kingly Court seems to have had a bit of a rebirth and there are all sorts of great things there now and a nice courtyard to eat and drink in too.
Anyway, I'd talked Pizza Pilgrims up, so there was quite a lot to live up to. And it did.
We started with some 'cups of deep fried joy', specifically Frittatine di Maccheroni, or macaroni fritter. A nice variation on arancini, these little chunks of fried macarani with mozzarella and ragu were a great way to start the meal and a really good size. Yum:
Not so much for our next 'starter'. The menu describes Pizza Fritta as a 'little deep fried calzone'. It was not little; apologies for the focus, the prosecco ON TAP must have got to me by then, but look at it:
Though large, it was delicious and a pretty innovative addition to the menu. A few bites in, I felt that having been deep fried, the calzone took on something of a doughnut like quality. I wasn't sure if this was a good thing or not.
Onto the main event. Keen to compare with the fantastic L'Antica, I ordered the Salsiccia E Friarielli, which is almost identical to L'Antica's Caravaggio aside from the addition of smoked mozzarella on the latter. I don't have a picture of a Caravaggio, but someone else thoughtfully snapped their's to help you compare. Both use the beautiful fennelly Napolitan sausage and wild broccoli, which is in fact more like spinach. In the event there was not much in it; both use a proper base and get the flavour right thanks to the wood fired pizza ovens, although perhaps the smoked mozzarella just gives L'Antica the edge. I would recommend either in a heartbeat though -the friarielli and the raw red chilli give the pizza enough freshness and bite to cut through any potential stodge, so its a great combo.
'Balancing the stodge' would be something more of a challenge for the Carbonara pizza, above right. A four cheese wonder topped with an egg yolk and roasted pancetta, this is a dairy lovers delight and not for the faint hearted. Amazingly the sharpness of the pecorino managed to offset the fatty meat and sheer indulgence of it, meaning it was actually incredible to eat. But still, pretty gluttonous.
Somehow, somehow, we managed to squeeze in a dolce. I was immediately sold on the Sohocello Affogato, which is their own homemade limoncello poured over a scoop of Gelupo's vanilla gelato. My friend Charlotte has written nice things about Gelupo in the past and she is very very right. God I love limoncello.
Unbelievably Rich ordered a Nutella Calzone. Yes, you heard right:
I'm afraid I have no idea what the bill was, but I don't imagine it was ruinous despite our best efforts to eat the whole menu.
Later that day, I'm ashamed to say that after a hard afternoon's work of sampling craft beers we stumbled across Obika mozzarella bar on Poland Street and succumbed once again to the gastronomical delights of Italy. Perched at the bar with a good few vinos, my friend and I managed to share a fearsomely smokey mozzarella and a creamier than creamy burrata...
Rich had another pizza. I couldnt tell you what was on it.
Finally, I think we may be Italianed out for a while. A domani.