I confess, again(!), that as much as I love cooking Italian food at home (like my Spanish-Italian fusion Pasta de Señorita), I am not a fan of eating at Italian style restaurants in the UK. This could be because as teenagers we overindulged in eating at pizza and pasta chains because they were affordable on a Saturday jobs salary (I was the butcher girl), but I think it's most likely because some places think that smothering an overly salty dish in cheese and tomatoes will be delicious. It's often not, but I digress.
I'm here to talk about a pizza place whose pizzas make me want to learn Italian, fly to Rome and dance in the Trevi Fountain (would I be arrested for this activity?) while eating gelato. Or have a nap because I've eaten too much, but that's not as romantic. Pizza Pilgrims crafts gorgeous soft sourdough pizzas on the premises with real Italian ingredients at three different locations Kingly Court, Dean Street and, then the moveable one, the van!
Oppositely, my friend Louise loves pizza. More than anything. So when she came back from Dubai for a stint about a month ago we spent the whole day doing what we used to do when she lived in London. Eat. And visit markets, what do you take us for greedy girls? You'd be halfway right.
We ate a lot of food that day, including brownies at Konditor and Cook opposite Borough Market, vegetarian dinner for three at the Bonnington Cafe in Vauxhall and pizza at Pizza Pilgrims in Kingly Court. I spend a lot of time eating at Kingly Court.
Outside Pizza Pilgrims in Kingly Court tables spill out onto the street, giving you a chance to eye up what you're going to order before you step inside. Walking into white walls, mismatched wooden furniture and green wooden trim there are trademarked green checker tablecloths and huge 1990s carton prints on the walls, it's a cool relaxed space to chill out in with friends. Downstairs you can grab a drink at the bar. But upstairs is where the magic happens, a huge pizza oven built in with an open kitchen allows you to watch your food slowly go from preparation to cremation. I jest the pizzas are soft and doughy with a good crisp crust not a burnt edge in sight.
The menu is simple, something I enjoy as they don't spread themselves too thinly. As we had dinner plans at the Bonnington Cafe later on we went for shared the guest pizza Zola and a couple of arancini rosso. Don't be deceived in thinking this isn't a lot of food, we were stuffed!
The deep-fried Arancini Rosso balls with tomatoes and smoked mozarella were crispy on the outside, warm and gooey in the middle with strings of mozarella oozing out with each bite. They were so moreish I could have eaten all three.. If we weren't sharing.
The Zola was my first ever blanco pizza. With grilled artichokes, Gorgonzola, mozzarella and a handful of rocket, this pizza is extravagantly cheesy. I loved it and I'm normally not a huge fan of Gorgonzola, I mean I'm a big blue cheese fan but it's one blue I'd normally turn my back on. Unfortunately this was only a guest pizza but if you turn up and see it on the menu order it at once, you won't be disappointed.
If you think my strong dislike of Italian restaurants is unfounded and have some suggestions on where to go drop me a comment, I'm prepared to eat my words.
I'm limbering up as I write this, by eating a pizza.