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Test Driving Pizzeria Mozza - top LA chef Nancy Silverton lands in London

roomNancy Silverton has come over to oversee the first few weeks of Pizzeria Mozza's London opening - always a good sign.

What can you tell us about Pizzeria Mozza?

It's the London outpost for famed LA chef Nancy Silverton. Over there, she has two acclaimed spots, Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza and it's the latter she's brought over to London. She's been over a few times checking out the scene and running pop-ups, but this is her first London restaurant.

Silverton won the James Beard award for Outstanding Chef Award in 2014, a very big deal. You can also tell a chef is a big deal when you spot Gordon Ramsay eating at one of the tables with his family - he really doesn't eat at a brand new restaurant for many people (and the similarly lesser-seen Jamie Oliver was there the night before). 

roomThe huge oven in action...

Where is it?

It's on the ground floor of Treehouse London, about five minutes from Oxford Circus. You'll find Mozza just across from the main entrance. 

Where's good for a drink before/after?

In this neck of the woods, our favoured spot is The Wigmore (and indeed, we had a pint there before Mozza). But if you've planned well (as it can get booked up), you'll have a drink before or after at the Treehouse rooftop bar and take in the (weather permitting) view. . 

So - once inside, where should we sit?

It's a big room and if, like Gordon, you don't want to be on view there's plenty of space in the back room. We'd say the best spaces are definitely at the bar in front of the pizza oven, though - we just loved watching the chefs in action there. 

Onto the food - what can we expect?

Pizzas, obviously, but we'll get to those. There are also plates of cured meats as well as a strong antipasti and salad section. So before you get to the pizzas, you'll definitely want to have a few antipasti. They include dishes like Shrimp with melon, mint and chilli lime vinaigrette (£10), Mussels al Forno with salsa calabrese (£7) or White bean alla Toscana with radicchio & saba (£7). It really is a great antipasti section and you could eat an entire meal from that alone.

Holding ourselves back, we tried:

roomCourgette blossoms fritti filled with ricotta (£14)

roomMeatballs al Forno with toasted baguette and herb butter (£12) - just quietly, stunningly good meatballs. 

roomNancy’s chopped salad (£15) which includes iceberg lettuce, radicchio, provolone cheese, finocchiona salame, pepperoncini, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and more - it's one hell of a salad.

So what about those pizzas?

The pizzas at Pizzeria Mozza are famous for their crust - and that's certainly on show here, the pizzas here have a lightly crunchy crust on a chewy dough. It's definitely up there with London's best pizzas and that's saying something because it's become a very competitive game of late. 

You're also going to find pizza toppings that are particularly unique to Mozza. Yes, there's a Margherita or a Napolitana, but those sit against pizzas that include ingredients like courgette blossoms (a quite beautifully constructed pizza), goat's cheese, leeks and scallions or fontina, fior di latte, parsley & chili flake. 

Here's what we opted for:

roomThe Meat Lovers - salame, fennel sausage, guanciale, tomato, fior di latte (£14) - just LOOK at that crust. There's a great variety in this to go above and beyond with what you'd normally expect from a very meaty pizza. 

roomThe PLT - pancetta affumicata, guanciale, onion cream, roasted tomato, rucola & aioli (£13) - a personal favourite as the onion cream and aioli really elevates the pizza. 

And then onto dessert? 

Absolutely (after a short break, you'll need it). They create their own ice cream and sorbet with flavours changing daily, including Peanut Butter, Gianduia or Frutti di Bosco. We managed to fit in two proper desserts, one of which is her signature:

roomButterscotch Budino (£8) - this is the one dessert you'll need to order as it's one of the signatures of the restaurant. We've even seen it referred to as an "iconic" dessert. It's damned good, we will say that. 

roomBanana Gelato Pie (£10) - the pic may not give away how huge this is. It's made from the banana gelato that they create in-house, with a graham cracker base, crerme fraiche, candied hazelnuts and hot fudge sauce. Realistically - either of the desserts between two people is the best recommendation. 

What about drink? 

There's a short cocktails list that's around the £12 mark - the Gold Rush, which brings together Bulliet bourbon, honey, lemon, fennel pollen. Also on offer is a selection of Italian beers and a primarily Italian wine list. It's a little on the pricey side for a traditional pizzeria on the wine side - glasses start at £9 and bottles at £36 - reaching upwards to £350 if you fancy a Sassicaia 2014. 

Overall thoughts

With semi-regular pop-ups over the past few years, Nancy Silverton's clearly been checking out the London scene (even on the night we went in, she was heading out to Holborn Dining Room later). The attention she's brought to this London opening has paid dividends - even on an early visit, the pizzas were truly excellent. It's already getting busy and booked out - a hit for sure. 

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Pizzeria Mozza. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 

 

More about Pizzeria Mozza

Where is it? Treehouse London, 14-15 Langham Pl, London W1B 2QS

Find out moreVisit their website or follow them on Instagram @pizzeriamozzalondon

 

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