Sunday, 23 May 2010

A Tale of Two Pizzas - Review of Firezza Pizza and The Gowlett - May 2010

WhereFirezza, Herne Hill (delivery) and The Gowlett, East Dulwich / Peckham(ish)
With whom: The good Doctor Vole, Nico Polo and Con-olog
How much?: Firezza - 15 notes for a pizza, coleslaw and garlic bread... easily enough for two. The Gowlett - £9 for the Chef's Special, others were £8 or £8.50
You know those times when only a pizza will do? When you just want to sit in, crack open a bottle of wine and chow down on a good to honest, slice of succulent pie?
Well tonight was definitely that night.

Firezza make a great pizza. Wood fired Neapolitan pizza by the 12" pie or by the half metre. The recipes are broadly authentic, and they don't scrimp on the toppings. The chewy, freshly made crust is slightly charred in places, highlighting its uneven authenticity. The smokey heat from the chorizo and the plump red peppers weren't the most authentic pairing but they did me just fine. A little too damp towards the middle, the liquid in the sauce and from the peppers necessitated some serious folding action. Order online and get a lovely garlic bread thrown in.

The Gowlett 
We'd gone to Locale in East Dulwichlured by the promise of canapes and free Mojitos... Their outside 'terrace' is little more than pavement, but pleasant enough. Brian, the owner / manager was certainly working the space, welcoming the natives and encouraging all to eat and drink. We grabbed some perfectly cooked arancini and possibly the saltiest tapenade I've ever sampled but it only really filled a corner. The queues were large enough to put us off staying, so we whizzed round to the Gowlett for some of their superb pizza.
Much is said around SE15 / SE22 about the wonders of the Gowlett. It's an unreconstructed boozer. Pool table in the corner, multiple dogs wandering round trying to half inch crisps, local 'characters' happily mingling with art students, t-shirts and haircuts that wouldn't feel out of place in Shoreditch. That kind of thing. I bumped into a random colleague there who proudly informed me that she had just moved to the road to be near the place... it inspires loyalty and reverence.
You also know that it's no ordinary pub pizza when people, hungry, booze filled exuberant people, are all very happy waiting AN HOUR for a few simple toppings on a dough base.
Crispier than I was expecting, the base was almost like a pitta bread around the edges. My Chef's Special came with a topping led by bacon and peppers and despite a (slightly) excessive char on the base was mighty tasty. Con-olog had their signature Gowlettini, a cheese heavy combination that comes with a lot, and I mean a large man's handful, of rocket over the top. A lazy-boy salad combo if you will. 

To be honest, I prefer the pizza from Firezza. It's got more 'weight' to it, and the flavour is exceptional. If I'm sitting in of an evening inhaling a box set then nothing else will do. However, if you're looking for a great local pub, with torn up seating, and dogs, and well kept beers and a bloody good pizza to boot.. then you can't go wrong with the Gowlett. If they both continue to prosper I'll be a happy, though lardy, man.

Firezza on UrbanspoonGowlett on Urbanspoon