Pizza Pilgrims is another example of street food traders that have been so successful they’ve decided to put down roots. In this case, they’ve grabbed a location opposite Pizza Express on Dean St in a sort of tongue-n-cheek challenge to the established pizza moguls. I’ve always enjoyed the Nduja pizza from the pizza oven van so it was with great excitement I finally managed to make it down to the restaurant proper.
The décor and atmosphere is something reminiscent of a 1950s pizzeria and the staff suitably friendly and personable. Price wise, you’re looking at around £10-11 for a pizza roughly the size of a large dinner plate with drinks being about £3-4 for a beer or glass of wine/prosecco. It’s more expensive than the street food but you do get a seat and roof over your head in exchange, as well as a larger menu offering. Worth keeping in mind that there are maybe 20-25 seats in the place with a handful of stools on street level. This is a place for a cosy catch up – particularly as there are no reservations (unless you have a group of 8+) and your whole party must be there to be seated.
There are a number of great bars/pubs around to grab a drink while you assemble your posse. The French House down the street is always popular for an easy half pint (they don’t do full ones) or for a classier option try either Zenna (below the Red Fort) or Kettners. If you are in the mood for a boozier affair, try out Barrio Central for a flaming Zombie that will put some life into you.
What to eat?
I was there for the pizza which is fortunate as there isn’t much else. We opted for the infamous Nduja (pronounced Neh-jew-yah) and the Salsiccia (absolutely no idea how to pronounce that). Both are roughly 12” pizzas on Pizza Pilgrims signature base. I think the best way to describe the base would be a sort of chewy soft flatbread – this isn’t the pizza for those who like the uber crispy thin crust but rather more of the fold and eat variety.
The salsiccia was topped with hefty chunks of its namesake – a fennel sausage – thin stem broccoli florets, presumably buffalo mozzarella cheese, and drizzled with a type of pesto. It was absolutely delicious (despite my initial misgivings) and I demolished more than my fair share of it. The only draw back was the pesto has a bit too much oil content and made the pizza a slightly messy affair.
The Nduja was disappointingly bland and lacked the fiery punch it normally packs. I’m not sure if they’ve changed the recipe or it was just off on that particular day but I found it relatively tasteless.
We did grab a nutella ring and a couple of gelato (made by Gelupo) for dessert. The nutella is mixed with a cream cheese and while I loved the filling I could have done with a higher filling to bread ratio. After polishing off the pizza, I was a bit carbed out. The lemon and blood orange sorbets were exceptional as usual and by putting them in the fruit you end up with two halves that are perfect for sharing.
Whose round is it?
Well at the prices here, I’m happy to stump up for the first one. We went for prosecco (we were celebrating my birthday after all) which clocked in at £14 for 500ml and £27 for 1 litre. It’s very drinkable and goes well with the richness of the pizzas. Not too shabby at all. I can’t quite remember the prices but wine seemed to be around £4 for a glass with beers about £3 each.
Worth the dosh?
I’m a bit torn here. Given the pizza prices are almost double what you get from the van, it’s a bit hard to rationalise. The downstairs is a bit overly loud too (it’s a fairly small enclosed space) so you do lose your voice a bit as well. That being said, £10 is quite reasonable for the area and the drinks are well priced so overall I’d say yes, it’s worth a punt. Go in with the right expectations to the pizza base and go with a small group and you’ll have a great time.
Find Pizza Pilgrims here
11-12 Dean Street
London, W1D 3RP