Homeslice Pizza, Neal’s Yard, London
I’m not often compelled to review restaurants. between them, Clerkenwell Boy, Jay Rayner and Cheese & Biscuits seems to have written about every restaurant in London so what could I possibly have to add? But, I had such a fantastic time at Homeslice Pizza the other week I wanted to give them some air time on my slice of the internet.
Homeslice Pizza have been around for a while now, and the original store in Neal’s Yard is about to become one of three as they open their latest restaurant in Shoreditch.
In my opinion, the key to Homeslice Pizza’s success is that they have found a winning combination and stuck to it. The menu is simple made up of ten different pizzas. 3 of these you can order as just a single slice for £4, or you can opt for a whole 20″ pizza to share for just £20. And that’s it.
The focus is on serving up delicious, authentic pizza that has been cooked to perfection. There are no gimmicks, just good food that you want to get around a table and enjoy with friends or family. (Or even the strangers next to you as we found out!)
We came a little late for lunch. We’d been out late the night before for a friends birthday and ended up sleeping in until nearly midday (woops!) After a wander around central doing a little sight-seeing I was absolutely famished and a 20″ pizza was starting to sound very, very appealing.
Because we’d come late we were able to get seated pretty quickly and we soon found ourself at a long table with a date to my left and a rather raucous threesome to our right. Sitting at the long, canteen style tables you get serious food envy. As the two pizzas arrived either side of us my stomach was audibly growling. The lovely lady next to me was kind enough not to point this out but did give me a cheeky smile every time it got louder!
Jon and I decided to go half and half. Just one slice wasn’t going to shut up the monster in my belly but there was no way either of us was going to attempt a 20″ pizza to ourselves! My eyes are often bigger than my stomach but even I knew 20 inches would defeat me.
Jon’s half was the Aubergine, Cauliflower Cheese, Spinach and Harissa (yum), my half was the goat shoulder, savoy cabbage and sumac yoghurt (super yum). After a short wait the pizza came out and we knew we had chosen well. The group beside us gawped as it was put down in front of us and a conversation was struck up about how jealous they were of our pizza. (Pizza envy is a terrible thing!) It would seem there had been some debate about whether or not they should get the goat shoulder and once they’d seen mine they all wanted a slice! If they hadn’t already devoured their pizza I think they probably would have ordered more!
The aubergine and harissa pizza was earthy and the char-grilled aubergine and crisp pizza crust had a delicate bitter taste which cut through the rich cauliflower cheese and spinach. But before you could relax into the creamy melted cheese the harissa came and punched you in the mouth. It. Was. SPICY. And I mean REALLY spicy. But the pizza needed it. Without the harissa cutting through the rounded flavours of the aubergine, cheese and spinach it would have all been a bit same-y. The harissa really livened up that party!
The goat shoulder on my half of the pizza just fell apart. Strings of meat separated effortlessly as I cut into the pizza and took a bite. There was no clumsy attempted to chow down on the toppings on this pizza. The cabbage was also perfectly shredded. When the slices are so large it’s difficult enough to eat as it is, so toppings that lend themselves to being eaten in delicate bites are always welcome.
If Jon’s pizza was spicy, mine was salty. The goat shoulder must have been marinated, or brined in some way because on top of the rich, almost game-y taste of the meat there was definitely a salty taste which I loved. The cabbage was soft and slightly bitter helping to balance the saltiness of the meat. But what really finished the pizza off was the sumac yoghurt. The sharp, tangy sumac yoghurt not only balanced the flavour of the pizza perfectly, meaning that my half of the pizza slid down incredibly easy, but it also added a fantastic cooling, soft texture to the pizza. Crisp pizza, stringy but tender meat and soft pillow-y yoghurt is one hell of a combination that you really have to try!
I’ve had my fair share of pizza in London and I think there are broadly two types: (1) those doing authentic thin crust pizzas with very simple toppings and (2) those which do more American style pizzas with thicker bases, large in size (perfect for sharing) and offer interesting toppings. For me, Homeslice is the best mix of both and that’s what keeps people coming back!
Have you been to any of the Homeslice Restaurants? I’d love to hear what you thought. Or perhaps you have another favourite Pizza restaurant in London? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me your suggestion @KitchenGoddess.