If you cast your minds back five years or so, I bet you were all chowing down on anaemic, dry, thin-crust pizza from various chain restaurants thinking that is exactly how it should taste. Unless you were Italian or spent a considerable time in Naples, you were blissfully unaware that what you were consuming was utter rubbish.
All of a sudden, however, we just got it and much like the real Renaissance, it seemed to come out of nowhere. Someone, somewhere had enough of us Brits eating ‘pizza’ and dragged (I like to think they dragged it) a huge clay pizza oven from the centre of Napoli and dumped it somewhere in the UK to show us how it is really done.
From then on in, Neapolitan pizza is everywhere and the thing is – it’s good. Like really good. So good in fact that it often becomes hard to taste the difference and pick a favourite. As long as it has a chewy, puffed crust, a base with real tomatoes, foir de latte mozzarella and little pearls of burnt crust- I’m a happy girl. Long live the pizza revolution!
Or at least that is what I used to think.
I have sampled all the pizza offerings in town, Ancoats, Didsbury and even Altringham, but one place I hadn’t been to was Double Zero down in Chorlton. I had heard plenty of good things so I got myself down to check it and it is safe to say it is up there with some of the best pizza I’ve ever had- Italy included.
But let me tell you, it isn’t just the pizza that makes this place special- it is its sense of authenticity. Buzzing on a Tuesday night and filled with the same, loud, animated chatter you would find in a pizzeria in Naples.
The interior was intimate and simplistic with wooden tables, tiled walls and paper menus. I loved the genuine quality this place had as I often get tired of the numerous ‘style over substance’ establishments that saturate our city’s food scene. Double Zero was everything you need from your neighbourhood pizza joint and nothing more.
Oh yeah, and it was BYOB which I am a big fan of. There is nothing quite like pizza and a fairly priced beer of my liking to put a grin on my face.
Back to the food, I cannot really fault it. The crust had all the aforementioned desired qualities and the choice of toppings was wide and diverse coving both the classics and a few more imaginative offerings.
I must say, I got pretty excited about the DIY aspect of the menu. It made me think of making all sorts of pizza creations at restaurants as a child. The only thing that was missing was the tiny paper hat, but I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point.
I went for gorgonzola cheese, artichokes and mushrooms aloft a Margherita base in an attempt to recreate a pizza I had on holiday in Puglia a couple years ago, and I have to say it was delicious and even better tasting that the original. My partner enjoyed Prosciutto di Palma, balsamic onions and extra mozzarella which was equally moreish.
I have to say, Double Zero really know the power of fine ingredients- which is why they trust their customers enough to make their own combinations. With ingredients as fine as these, every combination will be more delicious than the last.
As a rule, I don’t like picking favourites and I’m not very good at eating at the same place over and over again, but I think I may have just found my exception with Double Zero. I could see myself grabbing a bite with friends every Friday for the rest of my life with each trip feeling like the first- and if that isn’t a whacking great big recommendation, I don’t know what is.
Clear your diaries and get yourself down to Double Zero as a matter of urgency.