Sodo Pizza Café
Sodo Pizza Café, as the name implies, is all about the sourdough pizza. With a cute pizzeria located in Upper Clapton and a second outlet in Hoxton, Sodo is well worth checking out. Their dough is fermented for at least eighteen hours and blasted in the oven to ensure they get the balance right between a crispy edge and soft middle. Toppings are sourced locally where possible and are absolutely delicious. The menu features five pizza variants with a couple of specials noted on the chalkboard. The Summer Goat is certainly a winner with sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, goat’s cheese and caramelised onions. The Lorena comes with tomatoes, mozzarella, butternut squash, rosemary, feta and pine nuts and is incredible. Other toppings include cured meats like salami and ham and anchovies for fish lovers. Pizza tastes even better with beer and here you can sample different craft beers on rotation from local breweries including London Fields and Redchurch.
Pizza Pilgrims is all about making traditional Neapolitan sourdough pizzas using ingredients sourced in or near Naples. It was started by two brothers and a friend who travelled throughout Italy on a pilgrimage to discover how to make the best pizza. After selling pizzas from the back of a van they set up their first permanent base in Dean Street, where you can play foosball and drink craft beers in addition to ordering pizza. They now also have a branch near Carnaby Street and another in Peckham. The menu features ten variations (try the portobello mushroom and truffle) and there will be a couple of specials too at any given time, such as the Ortolana, which was a bianca base topped with aubergines, courgettes, peppers, asparagus, lemon and wild garlic.
Trattoria Sapori is a well-loved independent Italian restaurant situated in Newington Green. They make an exceptionally tasty sourdough pizza, using a double fermentation process for the base. Their dough is left to rest for at least 24 hours before it is rolled out and topped with fresh ingredients from their in-store deli. Gluten-free pizza is also available on request. With around 16 pizza options available, and the opportunity to create your own version, you’ll be in pizza heaven. Ingredients include aubergines, artichokes, courgettes, San Marzano tomatoes, plenty of cheeses (Provolone, Fior di Latte, Gorgonzola, goats cheese) Parma ham, Pancetta, Lardo di Colonnata and more. The Tricolore with cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil and the Cruda with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, black olives, capers, basil and oregano are amazing.
Trattoria Sapori, 44-45 Newington Green, London N16 9HQ
Franco Manca now has thirteen branches in London, after rapidly developing from their first restaurant in Brixton Village. They specialise in making slow-rising sourdough pizzas which they bake in a specially built brick oven from Naples. Due to the combination of a slow levitation taking twenty hours and the blast cooking of 500 degrees centigrade, you end up with a very soft, digestible crust. The menu is focused with six pizzas which have numbers rather than names (try the Number 3, with courgettes, basil, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta and pecorino), plus a couple on the specials board. The toppings are very good quality from premium suppliers. The mozzarella is from Somerset, there are selected cheeses from Neal’s Yard, meats from The Country Butcher in Gloucestershire, cured meat from an organic estate in Tuscany, capers from Salina and organic Kalamata olives from Crete.
Franco Manca, Unit 4, Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LD. Check the website for more branches.
Exeter Street Bakery
Exeter Street Bakery has been making pizzas, using the same method, for 12 years now. They start by hand-stretching their fresh sourdough bases, topping them with great ingredients and then baking in a stone oven. Their pizzas are square so you order it by the quarter, half or whole, which is perfect for anyone just fancying a portion or dining solo. The menu features around 10 options plus a special with seasonal ingredients; for example the butternut squash, gorgonzola, mozzarella and sage. Veggie options include margarita, four cheeses, mushroom and florentina. Meat and fish eaters can choose from spicy sausage with chilli and jalapeños, beef and pork meatballs with tomato sauce, salami with rocket, Parma ham with aubergine and anchovies with olives, capers and cheese.
E5 Bakehouse is an organic bakery famous for their sourdough bread and outstanding cakes. On Sundays only, between 12 and 3pm, you can sample their sourdough pizza. The dough is prepared the night before so that it has had time to ferment. Their Italian chef, Marcella Bonnocorso, uses quality, limited and seasonal ingredients to produce three varieties which will usually include one veggie, one fish and one meat option. There is likely to be a queue out the door and no space to sit but you can take your pizza to London Fields which is close by.