If you follow my blog or know me, you’ll know that my heart lies with anything Italian! I love trying all types of restaurants, however Italian will always win above anything else. I’d been following Purezza’s journey for a few years, and it was on my list of places to go.
One of the reasons that I’d been following their journey was because their Head Chef, Filippo, had been one of my students when I first started my training to teach English as a foreign language five years ago. Filippo started the journey of Purezza in 2015 with Tim Barclay and Stefania Evangelisti, a husband and wife team putting their Italian/British knowledge to excellent use. I am in awe of how well Filippo has done in his time in the UK, being part of such a huge success. They now have a second pizzeria in Camden that’s recently been moved to a bigger premises, and it looks super smart. It’s worth remembering for if you’re ever in Camden.
When I saw on Instagram that they were offering ‘Bring your non-vegan friend for a free pizza’ I immediately said to my cousin that we had to go. Rob from Purezza then got in touch asking if I’d like a free meal in exchange for a review, and of course I was delighted! This is only the fourth invite I’ve had and it’s so exciting! All views are my own and my dining partner’s.
We visited on a Thursday evening at 6pm and we were so surprised when it was already nearly full! It may be due to uni graduations as I noticed a few families in smart clothes. Going to a pizzeria after your graduation, rather than a fine dining restaurant, says a lot about this place!
As I’ve said in other posts where I’ve eaten vegetarian or vegan, I don’t follow a specific meat, fish or dairy free diet. However, like a lot of people I’m trying to cut down on my meat consumption. Vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, gluten free… I’m up for trying it.
The pizzeria is smaller than I’d imagined, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You can see the kitchen and the rather attractive pizza oven. There’s even some bar stools where you can eat next to the kitchen. This is something I’d like to do in the future, so that I can watch the pizzaioli (pizza makers in English?) do their thing.
The menu struck me as a blend of British and Italian. Some pizza names are in English, others in Italian, all very cleverly named with an obvious link to the toppings. ‘Telling Porkies’ being my favourite name.
Even though we didn’t need anything other than a pizza each, we simply had to try a few dishes from the ‘On your side’ section. We went for the Mac’n’Cheese and Dough balls (filled with ‘cheddar cheese’). They were both soooo tasty, with great alternatives to cheese. I felt like they were lighter than normal and had a nice creamy taste.
When it came to choosing the pizzas, we both thought we’d prefer a tomato base. I’ve often been tempted by a pizza bianca, but I do often regret it and miss the tomato. I know you can ask for a tomato base with any, but I like to leave the combinations to the experts! We were set on the Parmigiana Party. Aubergine and parmigiana is one of my all time favs! If we’d needed any persuasion, the fact that this won the Pizza of the year 2018 (at the World Pizza Championships) would have done it. We chose to have this one on an Neapolitan sourdough base made using organic wholemeal flour, this was definitely the best choice for the toppings.
Tomato base with smoked ‘mozzarella’, aubergine parmigiana, crumbled ‘sausages’, topped with a dusting of nutritional yeast.
The toppings were absolutely delicious! I love the idea of crumbled ‘sausages’ rather than slices as it spreads it out more. The organic tomato sauce was rich and worked perfectly with the aubergine. I’ll be having this one again for sure.
We settled on our second choice, Here comes Truffle, after discussing our choices with the waitress and she recommended trying it on the hemp base.
Here comes truffle
Black truffle base with mozzarella, mixed wild forest mushrooms and finished with micro herbs. It usually comes with wood smoked tofu but they had run out. So, we swapped it for seitan salami.
I’ve only recently been converted to mushrooms, but have always loved truffle. The truffle base was divine! I’d like to try it with the crumbled ‘sausage’ but the seitan salami was good too. I think I preferred the flavour of this mozzarella too, and it was so soft and oozy. You honestly don’t feel like you’re missing out on the real thing! The hemp base worked very well with these toppings as it was earthy.
We couldn’t eat all of the pizzas so we took them home. Eating a slice the next day brought back all the memories and confirmed I’d have to visit again.
The pizzas range from £6.45 (Marinara) to £13.95 (Here comes truffle). It’s quite a large difference but you can see why. I don’t think people would mind paying for something innovative and when so much hard work has clearly gone into the whole process (research, trialling, production). They create the vegan cheese alternatives, and I really love how they don’t just say ‘vegan cheese’, it’s specific types of cheese. The mozzarella is allergen free made from brown rice milk, just to give you an idea of the type of stuff these guys are doing. To be honest, I find it quite overwhelming in terms of concepts but I can appreciate, as I hope you do, the effort that is going into this.
If you need any persuasion to go here’s the menu.
The popularity of Purezza is evident from how difficult it can be to get a table. I’d recommend choosing a weeknight or weekday lunchtimes if you don’t have time to wait around. I promise you it will be worth it though if you do have to.
Grazie mille per l’invito Rob, e tornerò presto!
A few extras
- They only take card, not that I think many people walk around with only cash these days!
- You can book if there’s more than 6 of you. If not, it’s done on a walk-in basis.
- They do takeaway via Deliveroo or pick up
- Kids eat free with an adult ordering a main dish
- 10% student discount with a valid student card
- 10% NHS staff and Amex staff (with ID)
- They do a super healthy lunch deal
- Order from the main menu 4pm-5pm and get a freebie!
Full details of offers here