Pizza Perfect | Pizza Pilgrims, 11 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5PW
OK, I’m not being mean, but why do so-called Londoners go to Pizza Express? This is a question we ask ourselves frequently. There are tonnes of greater (and cheaper) restaurants, it’s not 1998 you know. I haven’t been to Pizza Express for years but was forced into one last week, let’s just say I won’t be hurrying back – discount voucher or no discount voucher. A colleague called me recently and asked for recommendations for restaurants in Covent Garden, she said ‘or maybe we’ll just go to Pizza Express’. Jeez…
Anyway, this wasn’t intended to be a rant about overpriced chains, this is about Pizza Pilgrims – a small set up by brothers Thom and James Elliot who have a real passion for Napoli-inspired street food. The pizzas are fantastic and the prices start from just £5. There’s currently only two branches although they do takeaway/delivery or you can buy a Frying Pan Pizza kit (£10) from either restaurant and make a couple yourself – this we’re yet to try.
We headed to the newer of the two at the now buzzing Kingly Court off Carnaby Street. A cute little Pizzeria and Friggitoria all decked out in white and green. There’s a massive nod to other pizza restaurants with an array of pizza boxes displayed on the wall as you come in, some from Naples, some the UK. Downstairs is cooler, brighter and more colourful with more casual high tables and stools.
We’ve tried their pizzas before, eaten fresh from their Piaggio Ape van at various street food events, which is where their humble beginnings started back in 2011. As soon as I spotted a cheeseless pizza on the blackboard, that was it, I was a fan. The Marinara (£5) is topped with tomato, oregano, slithers of fresh garlic, basil and olive oil and no cheese. And as the say on the menu – still delicious. Or in my case, perfect.
There’s ten pizzas to choose from, Ade was keen on the guest pizza of Beef Heart Pepperoni but they were all out. Instead he went for the Salami (£8) – a Margherita with Neopolitan black pepper salami. The dough is so light and airy with an almost sweet taste and leaving the crusts should be a crime punishable by death.
It’s not just about the pizzas here, the Friggitoria section is full of tempting but naughty fried stuff. Had I liked cheese I would have been all over the Deep-fried Italian Mac’n’Cheese (£5) – macaroni with parmesan, beef ragu and buffalo mozzarella. These little knobbly bite-sized balls made Ade go weak at the knees – his only complaint, when he came back down to Earth was that there wasn’t enough of them. The waiter was so right – they are ‘insanely good’. The Carciofi Fritti (£4) – deep-fried artichoke hearts with rosemary salt were delicious considering artichokes are pretty dull normally, the best were to be found at the bottom of the bowl – tiny crispy burnt bits.
We sipped on cans of San Pellegrino (£2) as we’d had a heavy weekend, but I couldn’t leave without trying the Sohocello – their own limoncello made with lemons hand-picked in Amalfi and distilled by Chase Distillery. On their Affogato section on the menu you can have a shot of Sohocello poured over Gelupo Gelato vanilla gelato (£6). On paper this sounded a little bit weird and I couldn’t decide if I’d like it. I did. A lot. I am still so bloody glad I ordered it. Although we have plans to make our own limoncello once we pull our finger out, we might just buy some of theirs online.
Ade was full and tired, yet wanted something sweet (as he always does after a meal). Hey presto there’s the Nocciolatte (£2). A shot of espresso with a teaspoon of Nutella that you stir in. Now I hate Nutella but this really worked.
If this post isn’t enough to make you want to visit, Pizza Pilgrims celebrate their third birthday on Thursday 12th March. They are planning pizza parties (try saying that after a few Sohocellos) at both restaurants where pizza will be half price all day, whoop! But only to those who bring in a birthday candle. Crumbs & Doilies will be creating huge pizza cakes for the assorted candles. We’re in.
11 Dean Street, Soho W1D 3RP
Telephone: 0207 287 8964
Mon – Sat: 12pm – 10.30pm
Sun: 12pm – 9.30pm
No bookings, walk in only (apart from bookings of 8+ at the Dean Street branch,
Order takeaway here
We ate as guests of Pizza Pilgrims, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.