105 Brixton Hill, SW2 1AA
phone: 020 3417 0471
Sun – Sat 12:00 – 23:00
Another week, another relatively new pizzeria, opening earlier this year. This time it’s on Brixton Hill, halfway up on the stretch that the New York Times, no less, has described as “successfully eschewing the onslaught of gentrification and proving that cool doesn’t have to come with a high price tag” (see here). There’s quite a lot of journalistic licence here but if you want a friendly neighbourhood eating place without any great pretensions, this might save you the walk down to central Brixton. One thing that was noticeable when we ate there was a distinct shift in the customers, compared to places in the centre of Brixton, in that it was more family orientated, and rather less ‘hipsterish’.
It was certainly busy when we visited relatively early on a weekday night. A large family party upped the noise level and kept the staff busy but, luckily, we were just ahead of them. We had a bit if a wait but not unreasonable, given how busy it was. This is a standard modern pizza restaurant; light and airy with the ubiquitous domed wood oven filling one corner. Simple furniture complemented the straight-forward menu, with a choice of nine toppings, three side salads and a few nibbles for while you are waiting. There’s a limited choice of wine (six), beer (three, all from Moretti) and soft drinks.
We ordered some tarallini, like little knotted bread sticks, flavoured with white fennel, to tide us over until the pizzas arrived. But, to be brutally honest, they were just a bit boring and, in the event, unnecessary as the pizzas arrived soon after. We can’t comment on the drinks as we opted for tap water.
We chose a cheeseless Marinara, topped with just the tomato sauce with garlic and herbs. Not everywhere provides these but they can be a welcome relief for those of us who find stringy cheese mountains just a tad too heavy and we had been eating pizza for weeks and weeks. This one also mentioned fresh basil but as you can see that was in short supply.
We also ordered the daily special, which had Mozzarella Fior di Latte, fresh cime di rapa, black olives, anchovies and cacio ricotta cheese. If you’ve read our last review (see 500 Degrees), you will know that Mozzarella and Fior di Latte aren’t quite the same thing but, either way, it’s better when it’s properly cooked. Cime di rapa is from the brassica family, much like skinny broccoli, where you eat the whole thing, stem, leaves and buds. And anything with anchovies and added slices of Parmesan cheese has a good chance in my book.
Both pizzas were good, well-cooked and served hot from the oven. The marinara benefited from some garlic oil that was available on request.
The bill, without any drinks and before adding a tip, came to £16.60, with the marinara particularly good value at £4.75. I think it unlikely that we’ll trudge up the hill, when central Brixton places Is more convenient, if not better, but it’s certainly a useful addition in the immediate area. It’s interesting to note that according to one source, it’s run by the same guy who operates Curry Paradise, just a few doors down the hill – see our review from four years ago here. Looks like a good move, as when we left the crowded pizza place we passed by the curry house without a single customer. There must be a stage when we reach ‘peak pizza’ in Brixton but there still seems an appetite for more.