A plethora of Pizza – Nottingham

I can’t seem to write more regularly although you’ve got three-in-one here so that’s something? I blame a relative lack of exciting new openings although not long ago penned a long article about a visit to Cleaver and Wake that got chewed up by an internet black hole. My motivation waned significantly. If you’re interested the verdict was: “classic, pretty faultless but pricey”. I might get around to a full report sometime.

Back to pizza’s though. I was about to talk just about Pizza Pilgrims when I realised I never posted about Pizzamissu or Slice and Brew, despite frequenting them over the last year or so. There really has been a pizza explosion, and whilst we sadly lost Oscar & Rosie’s we gained several others including Rudy’s which is soon to open. Therefore what better time to pit these purveyors of dough against one another.

Salsiccia e Friarielli – Pizza Pilgrims

I’ll start with my most recent visit. Pizza Pilgims which sits in a narrow unit in Hockley next to Bar Iberico. One thing it definitely has going for it is the opportunity for a little outside seating, though on a Tuesday lunchtime things were quiet despite the hubbub of the adjacent street. First impressions were quite muted, some cleaning products adorned the front desk and was briefly ushered to sit anywhere. It became clear as things went on that they had a very large takeaway order but no-one sitting. A strange feeling of being neglected despite an empty restaurant. The menu is on a fairly traditional footing with its food offering, a dozen or so options ranging from a magherita (£9.95) to double pepperoni and hot honey (£13.75).

I opted for the salsiccia e friarielli (£12.75) or roasted sausage and some greens (the definition of which seems to differ depending on Italian region and who you ask…). Despite the earlier blip in service it did arrive in good time with a solid amount and spread of toppings. I’ve had better salsiccia, more depth of flavour and particularly fennel which I believe a good one should have. The all important base was in good shape, well bubbled with ferocious heat but remaining spongey and supple. Overall a solid affair, though for somewhere serving up classic Italian stuff I felt it was lacking soul.

Capricciosa – Pizzamissu

Of the aforementioned establishments its Pizzamisu where that soul is not in short supply. On my visits its been bustling, verging on chaotic, in a fantastically Mediterranean way. It’s layout in a narrow townhouse on high pavement sees the oven and its bustling operators take centre stage as you enter before a rustic dining area emerges in the back, and on the second floor. Their menu is surprisingly large with 22 options as well as sides and starters and includes calzone as well as deep fried pizza.

Declining my curiosity to sample the latter I went for a capricciosa (£13.50); artichokes, ham & black olives. Its a bit more of a sizeable beast than the Pilgrim offering and a touch more freeform in style. The ham is a touch on the cheap side but a decent portion of all the toppings. It really has that Neapolitan style, a little sogginess in the middle that I really enjoy. It’s also hard to assess but it seemed the biggest of all despite the competitive price. Their tiramisu is traditional (£5.50) or given a twist with lemon or rum flavours (£5.95) but, foolishly, I am yet to sample any!

Artichoke & Kalmata Olive – Slice n Brew

Our final visit for today is to Slice n Brew and despite the familiar theme it also manages to offer something different. It’s a good space for a people watch for a start. Their unit straddles King’s Walk and Forman Street and through its big windows you can see the bustle of those scurrying alongside the Cornerhouse. From aspect to aesthetic and its a much more hipster vibe, tiled walls and fisherman’s hats. It’s a fairly new venture from a chef who, in lockdown, started a pop up making ‘a unique blend of Neapolitan and New York style pizzas’. Their menu is pleasingly small and simple, magheritas at £9.80 to mortadella and pistachio at £14.50. They also do Detroit pizza, something I’d never cared to investigate as it looks like an abomination of thick bread and too much cheese.

Having recently enjoyed my topping combination at Pizzamissu I went for the closest option here. I made a bad choice. It was my partly my fault as I hadn’t looked so closely at the description mentioning ricotta. However, I do question the combination at all. The usual cheese; mozzarella or fior di latte provide a chewy texture and something to bring everything together. The ricotta didn’t work for me and it ended up being a collection of nice ingredients that were not more than the sum of their parts. It is a shame though as I think the bases here are an all round crowdpleaser. My favourite is still the Neapolitan but many will prefer this as something a touch more structured and crispy. A slice of my friend’s confirmed I’d simply made a bad choice both because his was much better and he refused any further trading after one exchange.

So we await Rudy’s but there are already plenty of pizza pretenders. My favourite remains The Rustic Crust, though if you don’t want the schelp to Farnsfield then you’re already spoilt for choice in my eyes.

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