Pizza Pilgrims – Covent Giardino

On the poster in the window The Telegraph declares Pizza Pilgrims as serving one of the top ten pizzas in the world. I can’t recall having eaten much pizza outside the UK, except for maybe Italy and New York, so whether this is true I cannot confirm.

However what I can confirm is that both myself and my self-confessed pizza addict friend agree this is pretty excellent stuff, and on a par with other top pizza outlets in the Capital including Homeslice just five mins away.

This relatively new branch sits on the site that Sesame briefly stood, a fantastic but short-lived venture that served middle eastern fast food launched by an ex Ottolenghi founder Noam Bar.

The Pizza Pilgrims are two chaps who jacked in their day jobs – spent six weeks travelling though Italy meeting top pizza experts, and came back with a three-wheeled pizza oven van. Their empire was born and now they have five outposts plus the van at Berwick St Market. Read the full story………..

Working in the area it’s always good to find inexpensive places where you can get a seat and will be served quickly when short on time.

Tiles on floor and walls and jolly green and white tablecloths make the place bright and airy. The look is industrial mixed with a bit of fun. A mural on the wall (above) depicts two people wrestling atop a pizza, and an “In Crust We Trust” motto is displayed above the counter.

You want to know about the pizza right? Some similar ventures in London have just a few pizzas to choose from but Pizza Pilgrims have a good selection, plus sides, and desserts including Gelupo ice-cream. There’s a few cocktails too, wine available by the carafe plus some interesting looking beers from Brixton and Limoncello from Soho. Yes Soho.

Pizza prices range from £5.50 to £10 and the ingredients are top-notch such as Calabrian pork sausage. There are lots of veggie options too, a few white pizzas (no toms) and one with no cheese for the non-dairy gang. I go for a white pizza with fennel sausage and wild broccoli and delicate red chillis. My friend chooses a calzone with Napoli salami, resembling nothing like the cornish-pasty esque calzones you sometimes see. Both are fabulous.

This place certainly isn’t limited to a lunchtime only venue – for the price and quality this is a great choice for pre-flicks/theatre or relaxed catch up with friends. You can’t book so just turn up and enjoy……

Baci xxx

 

 

 

 

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The French House – Crystal Palace

We have recently been gifted with The French House – a fantastique new addition to the vibrant Crystal Palace dining scene. Opening for breakfast, this daytime cafe then turns into a restaurant and bar, ensuring all food and drink needs are covered.

There are plenty of excellent neighbourhood restaurants, particularly in this area, but there’s something different about this place that sets it apart from a classic French bistro. The French House is styled around a specific genre of music from the 60’s and 70’s called Ye Ye. It’s described as “colourful and camp mod-esque” and a bit “tongue and cheek”.

Throughout the restaurant (and in les toilettes) there are images of Brigitte Bardot, Serge Gainsbourg, and Jane Birkin looking cool and moody, and their music drifts in the background. Original magazine pages from the period cover the walls, and a Welsh dresser displays questionable album covers from the era. This is not a naff themed restaurant though – the atmosphere might be fun, but the food is a serious business.

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Owner Audrey O’Neill opened The French House in East Dulwich 18 months ago so this is her second branch to date. She hails from the Alsace region of France, an area I don’t know despite having spent many happy holidays in France over the years.

The menu includes regional specialities – tartes flambées, choucroute, raclette, fondue, plus other French classics such as bouf bourguignon and onion soup. Fresh ingredients are sourced from small French producers and French wines (including Alsatian varieties) are imported directly. Coffee is from the Square Mile Roastery in  Shoreditch.

 

During my lunch visit I ordered a Tartine – French sourdough bread topped with mushrooms, lardons and Reblochon cheese. It was served with an endive salad and was delicious – a generous portion for £9. My friend ordered a Tart Flambees – a wafer thin dough topped with creme fraiche, onions, cheese and smoked salmon. It was huge but incredibly light and a bit different to a pizza.

Staff here are charming, attentive and French and prices are very reasonable. I’ve visited for drinks, breakfast and lunch so far and am looking forward to trying something more hearty in the evening. Live music is on the horizon too which always goes down well with the Palatians.

There’s even a little shop to purchase some traditional French items such as biscuits and Cremant sparkling wine.

I wish Audrey and her team the best of luck – Sante!!