Tag Archives: pizza

Streetfood venture ‘Pizza Pilgrims’ launches tomorrow in Soho


If you work in Soho, you’ll be pleased to hear about the new street food venture Pizza Pilgrims.  Three British lads making and selling Napolitan pizzas from the back of a three-wheel Piaggio van/custom-made pizza oven – brilliant idea!

Having spent months touring around Italy on their ‘pilgrimage’ in search of the best ingredients, secret recipes and tricks of the trade, the three pilgrims will be making the pizzas themselves and serving them to the masses of Soho for lunch.

They are using the finest ingredients and while their pizzas may not always be perfectly shaped, the bases are light and fluffy and not too salty.  Having spent a lot of time in Italy eating thousands of pizzas, I was impressed by what they have achieved in such a short space of time – but practice does make perfect… especially when distributing the right amount of toppings and getting the temperatures of the oven just right so that the base cooks properly, but the toppings don’t over heat either 😉

The guys are due to launch tomorrow and will be selling their pizzas around Berwick Street market for about a fiver, so do look out for their Ape pizza oven and give’em a try, you won’t regret it, the sausage pizza was especially good, so was the nutella one!

From working in Soho, I know that between about 12.15 and 1.30 ish all the decent places have a minimum of a 20 metre+ queue, so I hope the pilgrims are well prepared for Soho lunchtime madness!  Best of luck guys, can’t wait to hear all the success stories.


Soho Joe – great for lunch


A couple of weeks ago, I was traipsing along Dean Street unsure of what I was going to have for lunch that day.  I had been to Papaya rather too regularly, so I was on the hunt for something else.  This was when I discovered Soho Joe.

Thrilled to see somewhere new opening that very day, I stepped-in through the welcoming, wide open glass doors and was greeted by friendly, helpful and smiley staff- eager to please their first customers.

Presented with an open fridge plentifully adorned with a neat selection of freshly made salads and baguettes, all at a reasonable price, and spotting a pizza oven at the back of the restaurant, I knew immediately I was going to like this place!

I have since been back a number of times and have tried the salads, baguettes and pizzas and I’m yet to be disappointed.  I was particularly impressed by the light, thin crusted pizzas, and at only £6.00 I will have to be seriously strong willed not to have them more than once a week.  Last time I went, I had the four cheeses pizza, and asked for rocket on top.  It was delicious, just as I like it, heaped with masses and masses of cheese.

The baguettes and salads are perfect for eating at your desk, I tend to like a mix of the chorizo and butter bean, chickpea, and Greek salads which they place on a bed of lettuce (thankfully not iceberg), and serve with a hunk of fresh bread.

If you have ever been to pizza@home on the Old Brompton Road, you might not only recognize the great quality, reasonably priced pizzas, but also the owner Brian.  He sold pizza@home about 18 months ago and this is his fantastic new venture.

Soho Joe is exactly what the area needs, a non pretentious, reasonably priced cafe with excellent food and a relaxing atmosphere.  Highly recommended!

Salads and baguettes: £3.50-4.50

Pizzas: £6.00

Burgers and Chips £6.00 (£7.00 with cheese)

Pasta £6.00

22-25 Dean Street, London, W1D 3RY

Unique Italian cookery class arrives in London: Pizza made with beer…


Birra Moretti, Heineken UK’s premium imported Italian beer, and popular TV culinary duo Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi have teamed up to offer Italian food lovers a unique opportunity to learn how to make an authentic Italian pizza with a special ingredient…Italian beer!

The two pizza and beer making evenings will take place at the Caldesi’s highly successful cookery school and restaurant La Cucina Caldesi in Marylebone Lane, London, on June 11th and August 13, and will teach attendees how to make truly authentic margherita pizza.  I attended a pre-launch course and it was great fun, Giancarlo and Katie are excellent hosts, the pizza really was delicious, and I learned how to make a light dough using beer – what more can you want?!

Jason Wills, Senior brand manager of Birra Moretti, Tiger Beer, Sagres and Zywiec at Heineken UK, added: “We are encouraging Italian food lovers to encounter more of the authentic Italian experience by offering these two exclusive pizza and beer evenings, run by two of the UK’s most revered Italian chefs”.

The beer reacts well with the yeast, therefore creating a lighter and crispier dough, and because Birra Moretti has a slightly bitter flavour it works particularly well in pizza.

Katie Caldesi commented: “We want to teach Italian food lovers how to make genuine Italian margherita pizza, with a special ingredient – Birra Moretti. This premium Italian beer is the perfect accompaniment to two Italian passions – great food and great conversation, which is why we love it.”

The Birra Moretti and pizza making events are perfect for a quick bite after work or as a ‘starter’ before more Friday night summer entertainment. Two classes will be run each night on June 11 and August 13 from 6pm – 7.30pm and 8pm – 9.30pm respectively. Each class will cost £28.

For further information or to book a place please call La Cucina Caldesi on 0207 487 0750/6/8 or email: lacucina@caldesi.com.

This course is selling out fast, so get in there quick!  There are also plenty of others to choose from so have a scout around their website. http://www.caldesi.com/la-cucina-caldesi/

Making Pizzas at Ponti’s – Perfect for a first date in London!


Photo is courtesy of Al Stuart

If you are struggling to find a suitable restaurant to take a first date, then look no further than Ponti’s Italian Kitchen just behind Oxford Circus, where you can make your own pizza.  What an awesome way to get to know someone better or just have fun with your mates.

I went with my sister and while we both had pre-conceived ideas about Ponti’s, we were suitably impressed to find a cleanly decorated restaurant full of fresh ingredients, friendly staff and most importantly for central London, affordable prices!

We didn’t actually make the pizza dough ourselves as it needs time to ferment, but we were each given a dough ball and shown how to make the pizzas: How to cover it in polenta flour, toss it in the air, manage to catch it without sticking your nails through it, roll it out and delicately spoon on the tomato sauce – ready for the toppings of our choice.

I couldn’t decide which toppings to put on so I went for a four seasons, which meant I had the excuse to try a bit of everything.  Delicious spicy spianata romana salami, fresh anchovies, portobello mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella, rocket – the list goes on!

Photo is courtesy of Al Stuart

The pizzas were placed inside the oven and brought to us at the table, cooked to perfection.

I am not going to lie and say that mine was as wafer thin as the pizzas I’ve had in Rome, but it really wasn’t bad at all, more importantly a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all.

Pizza-making at Ponti’s is available Monday to Wednesday at £15 per person.  The deal includes a glass of prosecco on arrival, the pizza and some ice cream for pudding – perfect for a first date.  Just remember to call, as you have to book in advance. 020 3230 3018.


Fire and Stone, Covent Garden


Where do I start with Fire and Stone?  Well I guess, the decor is not bad, uber cool and trendy for a pizza restaurant and on the whole I had a fun evening, but that was purely down to the company of old school friends, and the drinks we had before we arrived.  Other than that, I can’t really think of anything else positive to say about the experience.

Now, I might be a traditionalist when it comes to pizzas, but seriously, if you are going to ‘pimp’ a pizza, try shavings of white truffle or carpaccio of swordfish.  What on earth gave Fire and Stone the idea that Cumin spiced ground lamb and raisins would be nice on a pizza?  Oooh, I know, what about a pizza with Thai green coconut curry sauce, roast sweet potato and mozzarella? Really?

So, once I had amused myself reading through the selection of pizza toppings from Asia, Africa and Australaisa, I came across the European pizzas and was delighted to find some normal-ish choices, the Italian pizzas seemed the most appealing, funnily enough.

As we had a voucher that got us two pizzas for £10, we thought it best to mention this before ordering, incase the pizzas we had chosen were not included.  Well, as you can imagine, this was met with a rather surly glare from the waitress.  “Ugh, you have to give me the voucher first.  You can choose any pizzas as we have taken the deluxe ones off the menu.”  The deluxe ones? Is that where all of the normal pizzas went, off the menu – now I get it!

According to the website, Fire & Stone ‘makes & twice proves its own pizza dough every day on site in the restaurant to provide the lightest & crispiest pizza base possible’ – well, I’m not too sure about that!  Two of us went for pizzas, the base was way too thick, had the consistancy cardboard, and had lots of funny hard black dots on the underside, which I can only assume is burnt semolina and flour- Nice!

The other three went for the healthy option of the superfood salad, which by all accounts was not bad, although they all decided they found it rather too exausting to eat all of the little shoots and nuts at the bottom of their bowl, so left half of it.  Maybe that’s why it’s the healthy option, because you use so much energy forking the little bits out? Who knows…

Then there was another thing that really annoyed me about the menu, one pizza was called the ‘Napoli’ and the other was ‘Florence’ – Is it  Naples and Florence or Napoli and Firenze?  You don’t exactly have to speak Italian to work it out, and surely they had someone proof read their menu before printing  it, right?

Anyway, enough moaning, I can’t even be bothered to write about the wine.

Crap food, crap menu, grumpy staff – even if you have a voucher, don’t waste your money.