If a Londoner wants white, earthy, luxurious truffle oil, or by chance pungent époisses, or perhaps is in the mood for Pacific fresh rock oysters – where does an Old Smoke dweller go?
Borough Market’s a given. But what if you’ve a hankering for seawater pizza? Up until now you’d have had to cross the Channel and head to southern Italy. But as of 29th July 2016 you can now hop on the Jubilee line to south London’s borough of Southwark, where the Big Smoke’s first seawater pizza restaurant resides – a mozzarella-ball’s throw from Borough Market.
At the opening night we arrived to chaos – it was like feeding the 5000 without the miracle. Prosecco and pizza were being served as if they only had five loaves and two fish – at first, not a lot didn’t go very far.
The space is bright, clinical and intimate – fresh white walls, marble counters, a wood-fired pizza oven and being able to see the chefs beavering from every angle, make up the main fixtures. A neat, boutique Pizza Express, with a White Cube gallery feel.
‘O ver’s mantra is healthy, delicious, genuine Neapolitan street food. Eventually, when we were able to bypass the other locusts we were able to try:
First up: Regina, Neapolitan buffalo mozzarella, piennolo cherry tomatoes, San Marzano tomato sauce and fresh basil. Our moods lightened instantaneously – the pizza base is almost crape floppy, light and beautifully salty. Ripe tomatoes lifted with aromatic and peppery basil – scrumptious.
We did manage to get our hands on a glass of Prosecco, but there was so little in the glass it’s not worth writing about.
Margherita: Fior di latte from Monti Lattari, San Marzano tomato sauce and fresh basil. It’s all ’bout that base, ’bout that base, no treble. Instead of adding salt and water to make the dough, they add purified seawater from an already ‘pure section’ of the Mediterranean – apparently, withholding its 92 minerals and the sea salt – making a lean, moreish lip-lickin’ pizza.
After wrestling a few hacks out the way, we made it to the bar. We were offered: Aperol Sprits, Aperol, “Mabis” Prosecco Millesimato DOC, Soda. It took two staff six mins to make two drinks – serving others in between was apparently more important. Thanks were given to the second member for taking over the process, at which she retorted “I don’t like the way you were looking at me – I can do two things at once”. Pleasant. The Sprits was bitter, sweet and orangey – decent, unlike the service.
The last we tried: Paloma, smoked mozzarella from Sorrento, Chiodini mushrooms, rolled Italian pancetta, black pepper and fresh basil – again, limp and luscious. Truffly mushrooms gave the spicy meat and smoking gooey cheese a sophisticated edge.
Mama Mia the ingredients are fresh, pizzas are £7 to £15 and so worth a jaunt to SE1. Hopefully, after a few weeks of being open, they would have regained that Neapolitan charm.
Star Rating: ★★★
Phone: 44 2073789933
Address: ‘O ver 44 Southwark Street London, SE1 1UN
I’ve lived in the Old Smoke since 1999 with a career in fashion, fitness and events. I discovered the joys of writing beginning of 2014. Since then I’ve been tapping digits to keys. Subjects include food, theatre, exhibitions, London life and other topics that tickle my taste-buds. Other publications include Timeout, Gay Times and So So Gay Magazine.