Pizza. It’s the ultimate comfort food. So when, after a week of drizzly weather, Pizza Pilgrims invited us to try their new Garrick Street restaurant, we jumped at the chance.
Nestled on the bustling stretch between Covent Garden and Leicester square, brothers Thom and James Elliot’s third restaurant is much in the same vein as the others. Wipe-clean cheese-cloth tablecloths, olive-oil can lampshades and a fussball-cum-dining table in the basement make for, in our opinion, a perfectly casual pizza-gorging experience. No second guessing whether or not you should use a knife and fork here.
The menu at Pizza Pilgrims trumps that of their fast-expanding rivals Franco Manca in terms of variety and choice of toppings. Sipping on a refreshingly hoppy Italian craft beer (Birra del Borgo Cortigiana, recommended by the super-friendly waitress), we settled on the ever-popular Nduja and the day’s guest special – a Pizza Fiorentina.
It’s clear to see why the Nduja is a favourite – the soft and spicy Calabrian pork sausage melts in the oven to form slick, oily pools. Meanwhile, the Pizza Fiorentina exceeded expectations. Creamed spinach forms a kind of pesto across the base of the pizza, topped with stringy mozzarella and a soft egg yolk to mop up with the crust. And oh, the crust – soft, chewy (get the recipe for the dough in their cook book) and carrying a smoky flavour from the oven.
If that’s not enough of a carb-fest for you, there’s always their headline pudding – a ring of that delicious dough filled with nutella and salted ricotta. The ricotta acts to lighten the nutella, making it almost mousse-like. Although they could probably get away with being a little heavier on the ricotta, this makes for a seriously satisfying pud.
Just when we thought we were done, the waitress tempted us with a taste of the chefs’ home-made limoncello. Created in partnership with the Chase Distillery, its lemons have made a pilgrimage of their own to arrive in London from Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Pale and heady, it tastes totally unlike the sickly, neon mass-produced stuff. Definitely worth the 3,000 mile journey.
Our co-diner summed up the experience nicely when asked for their opinion on the meal: a happy smile, and just two words: “I’m full.”
We The Food Snobs x