It feels like a long time ago that I met James and Thom for the first time at the launch of the Pizza Pilgrims van. But it was only 16 months ago (March 2012) that the Elliot brothers started trading at Berwick Street Market, selling “Neapolitan style” pizzas cooked in an oven they built inside an Ape Piaggio van.
Fast forward to today and Pizza Pilgrims have experienced an incredible success: they worked at many festivals and events, collaborated with Forza Win Supperclub for two summers in a row, published a cookbook and starred in a TV show. And now they are about to open their first pizzeria!
Pizza Pilgrims Restaurant opens tomorrow evening on 11 Dean Street, Soho. I was invited to the press launch last night and I am here to confirm that the place looks great and the pizza is amazing!
The Pizza Pilgrims restaurant is spread across two floors: on the ground floor there is the gas-fired oven and a counter with a few seats for those waiting for a takeaway; downstairs is the bar and dining room with around 30 seats.
The decor is simple, in their signature white and dark green colours. The walls are mostly decorated with posters from Italian movie classics, with two notable exceptions: a drawing of La Concetta (the Pilgrims’ van) made on pizza boxes; a set of three prints by HAM on how to fold and eat a pizza slice a portafoglio (as it’s done in Naples). I would love to have those prints in my home!
Oh…and there’s also a football table!
The party was a lot of fun and I spent it drinking Aperol Spritz cocktails and eating loads of delicious pizza. A combination you can’t really beat, at least in my books!
The pizzaioli Tom and Elliot spent the night making pizzas from the new restaurant menu: margherita, ‘nduja, salsiccia and friarielli are the ones I tried last night.
About the menu, I loved how it lists dishes in simple and clear categories: “before pizza” (starters), “not pizza” (main courses for customers who don’t want to eat pizza), “after pizza” (desserts). Just to be clear on what this place is about! ;)
A very special Margherita pizza made with a lot of love (not on the menu unfortunately…)!
I also tasted the Blood Orange and Lemon Sorbets made by Gelupo: delicious and refreshing, but a bit small so I hope they will increase the portion size.
Finally I am happy to announce that my favourite Terrone Coffee Ciclista blend (specialty coffee hand-roasted in Italy) will be served at the pizzeria!
Twitter followers of Pizza Pilgrims and Terrone know these guys haven’t always been friends, but then one day they met in person and liked each other, so much that James and Thom decided to serve Terrone’s coffee (yeah, happy ending!) :)
Edy Piro took upon the challenge of serving artisan specialty coffee in a restaurant and, together with Terrone’s head Barista Callum Hale Thomson, is now training the staff to help them make the best coffee possible!
The coffee menu only features small drinks (espresso 2oz, macchiato 4oz and cappuccino 6oz), no lattes or drinks over six ounces, as you would never find these in an authentic Italian restaurant.
If you like pizza, visit Pizza Pilgrims pizzeria and will love it! Be prepared to queue (they won’t take reservations) as I am sure James and Thom Elliot are going to have another big success! They deserve it!
Disclaimer: I was kindly invited to the Pizza Pilgrims press launch. All opinions on my blog are my own.