Marion Turner checks in at Brixton’s latest homage to sourdough.
At the risk of enraging our fave local foodie Jay Rayner, the vogue for “artisan” sourdough in Brixton continues apace with the arrival of imaginatively titled Pizza Brixton.
A rival to the over-subscribed Franco Manca and my very “local”, Mama Dough. Altogether the modern stripped back diner with possibly reclaimed rustic chairs and tables, naked bulb lighting, whopping specials blackboard, neutral utilitarian tones and a funkily byzantine wood-fired oven blazing away.
Curiously the New York Times recently described Brixton Hill as “eschewing the onslaught of gentrification and proving that cool doesn’t come with a high price tag”. One thing is for sure, even in the days of “artisan” renditions, a pizza doesn’t break the bank, while there are few clearer markers of gentrification than the installation of wood-burning pizza ovens and authentic coffee makers in former corner shops. As you would hope from a local pizzeria, the staff are Italian and (child) friendly.
For having reclaimed two famished terrors from after-school club, we were here in the late afternoon, early evening slot.
Offspring #1 has heat-loving taste buds so for him the fiery diavola, all spicy sausage and salami. Offspring#2 was a little more conservative with her margherita, classic tomato, mozzarella and basil. Both from a small, compact menu alongside an even more compact wine list. Essentially this is classic Neapolitan pizza with the occasional twist.
There is no kid’s menu, but the staff had that Mediterranean panache with kids which makes it a quality pit stop for tired and irascible parents. The Sicilian cook was happy to talk offsprings through the pizza-making process, while I had a good Americano and fennel-savoury Tarallini (basically toroidal Italian crackers. And for those of you without a Maths degree, toroidal means doughnut-shaped).
Offspring#2 was thrilled to be presented with a heart-shaped pizza, and health-conscious mums and dads will approve of the fresh juices (rather than unlimited buckets of Coke).
As we parents surely all do, I plundered a slice from both and, yes, that all-important dough is just the right combination of chewy, crispy and pleasingly salty.
Accompaniments and nibbles come in the form of buffalo ricotta with honey and walnuts, salads and Cerignola olives as well as the aforementioned Tarallini. We’ll be back.
Gentrification or not, Pizza Brixton is a genuinely useful new arrival. Simple, classic and tasty. No indulgent sideways reinventions, just good pizza.
What will come in its wake up Brixton Hill may not be as popular with local residents, despite the New York Times’s dictum that Brixton Hill is “keeping it real”. For the record, to my knowledge, Jay Rayner has nothing against pizza, just the gastro cliché that is “artisan”.
Pizza Brixton | 105 Brixton Hill, SW2 1AA | 020 3417 0471 | pizzabrixton.co.uk