I usually feel a bit sad when one of my favourite traders gives up the street for more permanent digs. They seem to lose some of that spark that added an extra dimension to the taste and kept me coming back. Perhaps it’s the need to pay rent on a regular basis or the higher volumes of orders they deal with? Whatever the case, it’s good to know Homeslice doesn’t have any such problems.
Yes, the pizzas have gotten bigger and you can order them by the slice (certain ones only) or entire pie and they serving up some drinks as well. But the main draws – fresh local ingredients, tangy sauces, and a light flavourful base all baked to order in a wood fired oven – still remain. It’s pretty hard not to love it, and even more so when you realise you can have a meal without trading away your first born.
You’re in the middle of Covent Garden and the possibilities for a drink are damn near endless. Apart from the myriad pubs, London Cocktail Club and Covent Garden Cocktail Club are just around the corner and Cork & Bottle isn’t much further. Or if you can’t be bothered moving, grab a seat and order drinks from Homeslice themselves – they don’t seem to mind if you hang out either at a table or outside in the sun.
Homeslice takes reservations for groups of 5-10 for the two sharing tables but all others are walk-in only. At 7pm on a sunny Wednesday evening, the place was busy but we managed to get a spot for two with no problem at all.
You’re here, what to eat?
Well hopefully you’re in the mood for pizza otherwise this is going to be a very short visit. They have about 7-8 pizzas to choose from with two different bases. There is one menu outside and one just past the door – in proper rustic style they are handwritten on massive chalkboards. Most are made with a tangy tomato based sauce (marked with a “T”) but a couple have a white garlic-based sauce instead. Although I didn’t ask, I imagine that you could choose a different sauce base if you so desire given that they make each pizza from scratch (provided you order the full pie). Oh, and don’t worry if you can’t make up your mind as you can get the a half’n’half to combine your picks. This worked out perfectly for Katie B and I so we opted for the pork belly with chimichurri and smoked onions and the courgette & artichoke.
The pizza arrived in almost no time (benefit of the ultra thin base) and it’s a big and beautiful sight. A note of warning, if you’re sitting at the one table outside, it’s a bit precarious to balance you pizza on the thin surface and keep in mind people walking past who may knock into it. Keep in mind this isn’t your crispy Italian style base that is more cracker than bread – instead this felt a bit like a chapatti with a flexible and slightly chewy texture about it. This means a bit of NY style folding of each slice is necessary but there is nothing wrong with that. You do need to cut it yourself (I’m sure they will do it if asked) with the provided pizza slicer which is good fun – just remember if one person slices, the other person chooses the first slice.
Taste wise, the pizza is excellent. The pork belly was tender from the earlier slow cooking but the quick cooking time in the oven meant it hadn’t dried out. I couldn’t quite differentiate the smokiness of the onions for the general smokiness of a wood fired pizza but it was lovely nonetheless. I think I prefer the tangy tomato base to the garlic-butterness of the courgette pizza, but both were delicious. The light dusting of salt helps bring out the sweetness in the base as well.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the courgette and artichoke pizza. Both veggies are thinly sliced into long pieces and retain a good amount of crunch without being too rigid. The garlic base is a perfect complement with a mild and delicate flavour complementing rather than over powering the flavours of the veggies. It almost felt like a healthy pizza if such thing exists!
Something to wash it down?
Staying with the simple menu theme, drinks are pretty basic. You can order beer, red or white wine, and I believe even a prosecco. No brands or names are in evidence with the beer being drawn from the tap in the wall straight to mug and wine arriving in clear bottles. In fact, they give you a full bottle of wine to start and at the end measure the liquid level to see how much you drank and charge your accordingly. From the gasps of astonishment of other diners, I’m guessing the value was a lot better than expected. The beer is a bit of a weak lager but went well with the pizza on such a warm day.
Worth the dosh?
Without a doubt, yes.
£20 for a 20” pizza is brilliant and a pint of beer or glass of wine is just £4. You can’t beat those prices in the middle of Covent Garden and any pub would be hard pressed to match the price let alone the quality.
Find Homeslice here
17 Neal’s Yard
London, WC2H 9DP
020 7836 4604