PIZZA: Zia LuciaThis mid-section of N7’s famous thoroughfare is an intriguing proposition. Long ignored and seeming unchanging, the game-changer – long before Westerns Laundry opened this summer, garnering critical acclaim – was perhaps this excellent, and equally garlanded, trattoria.
Expecting a roadblock, even on a Saturday lunchtime, my partner and I were comfortably through the doors by 1230pm. It worked: we bagged the last two seats in the house, the smallish room already alive with sprawling groups of families feasting, local couples chinking glasses, and tiny kids teetering on stools, legs held by fathers pointing out the wood-fired oven. By 1pm, queues snaked out the door. It sure is popular.
In an, erm, nod to ‘clean’ eating, we tried the (ubiquitous) gluten-free option. Hoping it would be crispy and delicate, it was a little underwhelming: in retrospect I’d go for simply a traditional base. The topping was delicious, however: to a basic margherita we added bold bespoke toppings of anchovies, olives and rocket.
Meanwhile the Andrea Pirlo (named after the footballer, non-sports fans) combines mozzarella, gorgonzola and apple – a nice riff on the old British picnic staple – with truffle and olive sauce. Here the choice of base made a positive difference: the charcoal dough not only looked dramatic, but its smoky edge really suited the creamy, sharp and earthy toppings.
A decent house red is £18, which makes the end result just over £40 for two people with two pizzas. Not bad, then, for some of the capital’s best wood-fired. Now, about those queues. Open daily, 157 Holloway Rd N7
Read our review of Westerns Laundry here