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ShortList's search for the UK's best pizza


By cramming a mountain of cheese, sauce, vegetables and assorted meats into slice after slice of belt-loosening euphoria, pizza rarely fails to spectacularly sate our appetite.

So, after filling our bellies in the hunt for the UK's best burger, we turned out attentions to the UK's burgeoning pizza scene, quaffing slice after slice in the name of journalism, three times a week for 12 months.

Quite frankly, we've never eaten so much pizza and we probably need to sit down for a while - but it's been entirely worth it because now we have the entire list for you in full:

April 1st


Alfie Birds, Birmingham

Address: The Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA

Pizza of choice: Peter Piper's Pulled Pork Pickle

Toppings: Pulled pork, pickles, cheese, bbq sauce

Price: £11

Thoughts: Proportions. Get them right and prepare to look stone baked nirvana square in the face. Get them wrong and your soggy-bottomed greed will be punished. At Alfie Birds - Digbeth's laid back, Eastside dah-ling - the good news is that the dough to topping ratio is bob on, resulting in a crisp base of modest depth, shifting the pressure on to the clincher: the flavour combinations. Toppings-wise, an accomplished handful of pulled pork is kept honest by a tangy BBQ sauce and moreish tickle of pickle, which accentuates the sweetness of the meat without dominating it. And we're not usually down with pickles. All-in-all, a satiating yet refreshingly light slice. And one that is at its happiest alongside a chilled can of Beavertown's Gamma Ray. 

Star rating: ★★★★✰


March 30th


The Birkbeck Tavern, London

Address: 45 Langthorne Road, E11 4HL

Pizza of choice: The Devil

Toppings: tomato, mozzarella, salami, chilli, garlic

Price: £5.50

Thoughts: Considering that the local football team, Leyton Orient, was taken over by an Italian billionaire last summer, we're surprised that it's taken this long for the taste of Italy to also reach the area. But the time has come at last, in the form of the new Italian food range at the Birkbeck Tavern, located 5 minutes from Leyton station and a sprightly 10 minute walk to the ground itself. The Birkbeck is a treasure - a proper, East End boozer complete with boxing memorabilia including flyers for fights involving a certain pair of twins known as Ronnie and Reggie, but has more traditionally associated itself with drinks, rather than the food side of things. However, with a new Italian chef in, we investigated and found a pleasingly hearty - and cheap - dish in the form of the no-nonsense 'Devil' pizza. If you're looking for subtlety and haute cuisine then you'll be disappointed, but it's sloppy, big and big of flavour in the best tradition of pub grub. For a fill up before the big game, you can't really go wrong. With East London becoming increasingly gentrified, get down here for the feel and taste of a real pub.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

The Birkbeck on Twitter

March 27th


Ply, Manchester

Address: 26 lever Street, M1 1DW

Pizza of choice: Artichoke and pig’s cheek 

Toppings: artichoke, tomato, mozzarella, smoked pigs cheek, chilli

Price: £12.00

Thoughts: When you think of disco balls you probably think of a nightclub that hasn't caught up with the times yet. You certainly don’t think of disco ball tiling around a clay-fired oven which fires pizzas for the great and the good of Manchester. Well that’s what we found at the newly launched (the doors officially swing open this weekend) Ply, another sure-fire Northern Quarter crowd puller from the folk behind Kosmonaut. Impressively decked out Scandi-style space, it’s got a good menu to match. We sampled a variety of their pizza creations but were taken by the artichoke and pigs' cheek. At first for its intriguing name alone; then for the flavour. The base was everything you'd expect from a clay fired oven pizza, crunchy crust with a pillowy soft centre and the ingredients worked well together. The sweet tomato sauce, the salty smokiness of the small chunks of pig’s cheek and the subtle heat of the chilli to finish. The only downside was that the flavour of the artichoke didn't really come through. In an area dominated by bars that also serve food it brings a refreshing spin to things and we'd certainly encourage you to give it a whirl.

Star rating: ★★★★✰


March 25th


Brutti Ma Buoni, Glasgow

Pizza of choice: Antipasti

Toppings: Salami Milano, Proscuitto, Olives

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: Situated in the basement of the trendy, boutique Brunswick Hotel, Brutti Ma Buoni (“ugly but good”) is a quirkily decorated cafe-bar with a Mediterranean flavour. Prominent on the menu is its Brutti Bread, misshapen, thin and crispy pizza which encourages gripping around the irregular sides and scoffing with your hands. It might be larger but the antipasti is generously festooned with salami and Proscuitto ham, obscuring satisfying tangy tomato sauce and subtle cheese. Crucial to its appeal are a fantastic smattering of olives, firm, rich and slightly bitter, demanding to be plucked and singularly wolfed rather than consumed on the pie. Solid if not quite special.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰


March 23rd

Aces and Eights

Aces and Eights, London

Address: 156-158 Fortess Road, NW5 2HP

Pizza of choice: Il Bacio

Toppings: Parma ham, asparagus, rocket and parmigiano.

Price: £9.00

Thoughts: Aces and Eights, just next to Tufnell Park tube station, combines a live music venue with pizza because, as everyone knows, adding pizza to anything makes it better. After being told to sit “under Jimi Hendrix” (there are pictures of musicians all over the walls) by very friendly staff we ordered the Il Bacio pizza, which comes with Parma ham, asparagus, rocket and parmigiano. As soon as it arrived we had our reservations: the cheese was the colour of someone in the late stages of jaundice and had the cheapish tang you might expect from Dr. Oetker, not a place specialising in pizzas. The Parma ham was fine but the asparagus was almost entirely flavourless and came chopped up into tiny little chunks that looked like they’d been dropped on by accident. Aces and Eights is a great place to go for a drink - seriously, if there's a better saloon bar in the whole of the UK we'd like to hear about it - but not a place for great pizza.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰


March 20th


The Olive, Liverpool

Address: 25-27 Castle St, L2 4TA
Pizza of choice: Funghi Bianco
Toppings: Truffled cream sauce, field mushrooms, prosciutto crudo
Thoughts: Don’t tell Mario Balotelli, but there is actually one Italian in Liverpool that remains universally appreciated. Olive isn't just the king of Castle Street, it's arguably one of the finest restaurants in the whole of the city, recently picking up something of a growing reputation for a hefty range of stone baked pizza. Deftly moving away from the cheese and meat feasts, we tucked into the Funghi Bianco, its thin base coming topped with a rich truffled cream sauce, fine field mushrooms and finished with proscuitto crudo - a raw and lean meat which got better with each bite. While it didn't offer strictly traditional toppings per se, it proved a spectacular dish, offering a lighter alternative for dinner and great for sharing over a lunch. Just be sure to wash it down with a bottle of Theresianer, a house special dark ale that we’ll certainly be seeking out again. And yes, the olives were fine, thanks for asking.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

March 18th


Italiano Coffee Co., London

Address: 46 Goodge St, W1T 4LU
Pizza of choice: Diavola
Toppings: Chicken, jalapeño, mushrooms, mozerella, tomato, basil, herbs
Price: £6.90
Thoughts: Hanging off the corner of Charlotte Street like a beacon of no-nonsense eating, this sensibly priced pizzeria is a haven from the overtly flash restaurants and chain eateries lying nearby. Shiny thickset metal worktops meet nighthawk ambience that Edward Hopper would appreciate, chunky light-up buzzers almost fool people into believing they're waiting to play Quasar rather than ordering food and, generally speaking, it's arguably the closest you'll get to finding a New York pizzeria in London. Well, until you actually taste the pizza, that is. We had the misfortune of ordering the Diavola, normally such a peppy, spicy number, yet sadly all too tame here. Tearing apart the dusty and admittedly tasty base (we left enough dusty fingerprints on the shiny surface to resemble a CSI scene), once the tongue-melting temperature dissipated it was clear that the jalapeños were bland, the tomato lacking and herbs so deep into the gooey cheese that they barely registered at all. Worse was to come: the mushrooms were runny and the cheese so melted it may as well have come out of a liquidiser. Next time we’ll just stick to the coffee.
Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

March 16th


Pizza Peddlers, Manchester/Liverpool

Address: Various street food events across the North West
Pizza of choice: Pancetta
Toppings: Fire roasted red peppers, goats cheese, Gloucester old spot pancetta (crumbled and strips), mozzarella – optional extras: Rocket, garlic oil and black pepper.

Price: £6.50

Thoughts: According to Joni Mitchell they paved paradise to put up a parking lot. But little did she know that on a cold Manchester night, one car park in town was actually going to provide us with a slice of paradise in the shape of a pizza. Based out of a vintage catering van the chaps at Pizza Peddlers are travelling around serving up some of the finest pizza that money can buy - this time it was at the recently launched Manchester Urban Food Fest. Based on their recommendation we went with the Pancetta and, boy, we were not left wanting. Everything about this wood fired pizza was superb, from the dough with its soft centre and crunchy crust, through to the sweetness of the fire roasted red peppers, to even the spiciness of the rocket and the depth of the goat's cheese. The star of the show, however, was the pancetta, sourced from an award winning local butchers, so you could taste the quality and the crispy meaty salty goodness that kept you coming back for more. Yep, it was so good we ordered up another straight away. We urge you to do likewise.
Star rating: ★★★★★



March 13th


Luna Rossa, London

Address: 190-192 Kensington Park Road, W11 2ES
Pizza of choice: Ricotta stuffed crust margarita.
Toppings: Whole balls of burrata cheese, rocket, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and tomato sauce.
Price: £12.50
Thoughts: Within about 20 yards of Luna Rossa, parallel to Portobello Road, there are five other pizzerias, which means that to have any chance of lasting past the sell by date of their mozzarella, they need to be good. And Luna Rossa is very good. The restaurant itself is lit like a Franciscan monk’s water closet but the pizzas, when they come, are dazzling. When you order two or more they come “al metro” on a raised wooden board. We opted for a simple margarita and a ricotta stuffed crust pizza with rocket and cherry tomatoes. The dough was the right combination of crusty and soft, the cheese was generous and smooth and the tomato sauce full of flavour. The thing that really made the pizza special were the whole balls of burrata cheese that melted to the touch and oozed buffalo mozzarella and cream, giving the pizza a rare richness. You won’t need any desert but if you happen to be the size of a Vauxhall Astra, then they also do a Nutella pizza with chocolate ice cream. We ate the lot.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

March 11th


Box Pizza, Leeds

Address: Unit 3, The Triangle, 2 Burley Road, LS3 1JB

Pizza of choice: Yorkshire Pizza

Toppings: Yorkshire Chorizo, Black Pudding, Garlic Chili and Pepper jam

Price: £8.95

Thoughts: We've all heard the cries ‘Yorkshire! Yorkshire!’ on the terraces at Headingley or during an encore at a Kaiser Chiefs gig but now the Tykes really do have something to shout about as the good folk at Box have created their very own Yorkshire pizza. Unfortunately, after a journey in cardboard delivery box, this pizza is about as attractive to look at as the back end of Elland Road. Even our mega pixel camera couldn't tart it up how we'd like. But taste-wise, by eck, that Yorkshire Chorizo and chilli jam is right good, a proper treat on the taste buds and what could be better to top things off than a slice of black pudding from God’s county? Given the appearance, it’s difficult to assess against some of the UK’s top restaurant pizzas we've sampled in this quest so far. But we'd have no qualms in hailing it as one of the best takeaway pizzas.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰


March 9th

Franco Manca

Franco Manca, London

Address: Unit 4, Market Row, SW9 8LD
Pizza of choice: #2
Toppings: Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil
Price: £5.90
Thoughts: Despite the fact you can’t actually book, we had reservations about Franco Manca. Now festooned across 12 London sites - including well-heeled South Kensington and Chiswick, which really do seem to have sprung up overnight - we were worried the super franchising of Franco Manca would have an adverse effect on the quality of its pizza; that a corporate mentality would stifle the authentic artisan taste. Over at the original Brixton site at least, we needn't have worried. Queues are longer than they ever have been and the pizza, baked using slow-rising sourdough in a wood-burning brick oven at a special blast rate to impound that sticky moisture, remains largely unmatched for flavour anywhere. The owners call the resulting crust ‘easily digestible’, which is a bit of an understatement - we near inhaled it. The base too is genuinely first-rate, with the venue's minimalist approach to toppings only serving to ensure that the dough becomes the focal point of the dish regardless of which one you plump for. Sure, the bubbles of cheese popping up in a tomato lava across the surface tasted sublime, we'll grant you that, but in the immortal words of Megan Trainor, it's all about that base. Oh and speaking of dough, it's still reassuringly well-priced.
Star rating: ★★★★★

March 6th


O Sole Mio, Glasgow

Address: 32-34 Bath Street, G2 1HE
Pizza of choice: Quattro Stagioni
Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, mushroom, cooked ham, artichoke, black olives, anchovies
Price: £9.65
Thoughts: “You weren't there, man. You don't know what it was like!” No, we weren’t present back in 1965, around the time the US deemed it a good idea to send troops to Vietnam, but more importantly when O Sole Mio opened in Glasgow. But here it's remained, impressing customers with pizza forged inside its wood-fired oven, which itself seems to get better with age (the Denzel Washington of pizza ovens, if you will). On our visit, we found the crust to be sublime, softly supple and packing a real sweetness, adding another layer of taste to a pizza already teeming with flavour: the ham almost melted quicker than the mozzarella when hitting the tongue, while the artichoke and black olives provided a much needed tartness to proceedings. If you are in Glasgow and fancy a pizza, this is the place to be.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

March 4th


Arancina, London

Address: 19 Pembridge Road, W11 3HG
Pizza of choice: Carnivora
Toppings: Margherita, spicy salami, wurstel, Italian sausage, Parmacotto ham 
Price: £13.50
Thoughts: A deluge of shimmering puffer jackets competing for space at the foot of the serving counter should have alerted us to the popularity of this Notting Hill pizzeria, attracting homesick Italian tourists by the busloads. One reason for this - aside from the great crusts doled out from the oven - is the sawn-in-half classic car greeting passers by in window display. And fittingly, you can do half-and-half servings: we went one half classic (Margherita), the other half silly (Carnivora), and it was actually the latter that shone through, coalescing juicy salami, fibrous ham, tangy Italian sausage and funnily enough German sausage to provide a dish of slobber worthy proportions. Even the slightly over-charred crust and base went down a treat. While not quite an almighty five stars, this isn't far off.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

March 2nd


Craft & Dough, Sheffield

Pizza of choice: Smoked Salmon & Fresh Water Crayfish
Toppings: Cream Cheese and Capers garnished with Rocket
Price: £9.00
Thoughts: Buried deep in the former industrial heart of Sheffield's steel industry sits a brand new restaurant focused, as the name suggests, on pizza and beer. What’s not to like? The beer list is varied and seemingly endless but that is not what we were here for. The pizza had a thin crisp evenly cooked base, with plenty of topping. The seafood perfectly complimented by the cream cheese and capers. The portion was generous, so much so that we probably didn't need the sharing platter to start, but when the food looks this good it’s hard to resist. The lightness of the dough left us feeling satisfied, not bloated, and the sumptuous taste of the capers lingered long on the tongue. An exceptional pairing of fish and dough, it's simply one of the best pizzas we've ever eaten. And as we exited the restaurant fully content, the Arctic Monkeys blaring out on the speakers, the city's famous iron ruins ahead of us, we knew we'd had a truly Yorkshire treat. So we'll leave any further trumpet blowing to the owners themselves.
Stars: ★★★★★

February 27th


GB Pizza Co, London

Address: 50 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE

Pizza of choice: Lamb special

Toppings: Lamb salami, mint and basil pesto, tomato and mozzarella

Price: £11.00

Thoughts: Don’t worry - Mel and Sue don’t make an appearance halfway through your meal to bother you about the quality of the pesto (which is superb). The Great British Pizza Company (GB Pizza Co) of Exmouth Market has been serving up delicious creations to this slice of central London for just over a year. With their regular offerings a much-discussed local triumph, we went for their weekly special - a lamb salami on a bed of mint and basil pesto. The base is on the crispy side of traditional Italian - more akin to a flatbread on the outter edge, the brittle texture fading into a foldable fare in the centre. While the lamb and mint do work wonderfully together, it's a flavour pairing you may find slightly disconcerting on a cheesy pizza base. It's great to see a pizza specialist experimenting with something a bit "different" - best give their weekly experiments a visit if you're tired of the average pepperoni offering.

Star rating: ★★★✰


Suede Bar

Suede Bar, Nottingham

Address: Heathcoat Street, Hockley, NG1 3AA
Pizza of choice: Special
Toppings: Caramelised red onion, goats cheese, roast sweet peppers, green pesto, balsamic vinegar
Price: £9.00
Thoughts: Offered a special from an upcoming menu, our carnivorous appetite was left dumbfounded by a pizza with minimal animal origin. Coming out wild in colour with lashings of pesto feeling like healthy green markers for where the pepperoni should be, we hesitantly plunged in, clinging to pockets of goat's cheese for some tenuous farmyard connection. We needn’t of pined; a dastardly combination of sweet peppers and caramelised onion has all the power to tame meat beasts. Its blissfully sweet flavours culminating into a zesty veggie surprise which sings from its thin stone-baked base. You can even have at it with the inhibition-free bites it deserves; as the charming, relaxed atmosphere of Suede Bar encourages diners to abandon cutlery in support of messy hands freedom. Film buffs are catered for too via weekly movie nights – so you can even argue the merits of Wes Anderson with a big slice in your hands.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

February 23rd


Vineyard, London

Address: 179 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1RG
Toppings: Pulled pork, red onion, BBQ sauce
Price: 8.50
Thoughts: "Freshly rolled, topped with house sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheese," read the menu. "Stonebaked," said the server effusively. What wasn't explained of the pizza served up in this stylish Islington pub, however, was how spot-on the crust are. Seriously, encircling the goods on top with a real airy, chewy brilliance, we couldn't fault it at all. We were also fairly impressed at how the BBQ sauce was spread, precisely layered in squares as if the chef had been gleaning tips from Premier League groundsmen. Which made it all the more of a shame that there wasn't quite enough sauce to lessen the dryness of the pulled pork, the meat almost marooned on its own in terms of flavour and only slightly redeemed by some tangy red onions. Solid if not spectacular. 
Star rating: ★★★★✰

February 20th


Atomic Pizza, Oxford

Address: 247 Cowley Road, OX4 1XG
Pizza of choice: The Gambit
Toppings: Cajun spice, chicken, bacon, BBQ sauce, onion rings, mozzarella, tomato sauce.
Price: £9.25
Thoughts: Living up to the name on the door, Atomic Pizza is crammed with wall-to-wall pop culture. After ordering The Gambit, we ate in the presence of a life size carbonite Han Solo. Fitting really, as our soft base (you can order thin or calzone) was marvelously chewy. As for the toppings, a delicious combination of tender chicken, bacon, Cajun spice, three huge onion rings and a tangy bbq sauce drizzled around for good measure, ensured we were impressed. Not forgetting the rich tomato sauce and bubbling mozzarella that kept it all together in a great big display of Americanised Neapolitan heritage. It’s also worth noting how great the service was, and not just because we wore our finest Hemingway turtleneck, or because we were scribbling away between bites - they're simply very lovely. Even so, one peek at the menu and there’s little doubt you’ll find something to get start your belly rumbling like a Hells Angel on a Hogg.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

February 18th

Florist Arms Pizza

The Florist Arms, London

Address: 255 Globe Road, E2 0JD

Pizza of choice: Wild Boar

Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, chilli, wild boar chorizo

Price: £11

Thoughts: We can't be the only ones for whom pizza is a drug. No matter how hard you try, you just can't keep away from it (so we suppose this Pizza Search is like an addicts' dream). And this tremendous effort from a hidden away pub in Bethnal Green was like the crack of pizza. Despite being, superficially, quite a straightforward affair, we just couldn't stop eating. A nice, thin base, with a perfect balance of tomato and mozzarella on top, finished with small, chewy drops of wild boar chorizo (and we specifically requested wild, not tame), together with a nice kick from just the right amount of chilli. As we say, nothing groundbreaking going on here, but expertly done, and just so moreish. The pub itself had a lovely ambience, warm and welcoming, so we'd thoroughly recommend it - just don't let Super Hans go near this one, or there'll be some serious trouble.

Star rating: ★★★★✰


February 16th

Spectacular Goat

Spectacular Goat, Birmingham

Address: Street food vendor, tracked down at Digbeth Dining Club, Lower Trinity Street, B9 4AG

Pizza of choice: The Mork
Toppings: Mac’n’cheese with maple roasted bacon. Yeh, you heard us.
Price: £8.50
Thoughts: Pasta on pizza. We questioned everything we thought we knew, too, but as our initial reservations abated we started to wonder if we were in fact in the presence of street-food greatness. Spectacular Goat's Mac'n'Cheese is made with four cheeses, double cream, truffle oil and is seasoned with a super-secret spice and herb blend. The magic happens when the team adds into the creamy, comforting mix, smoked maple roasted bacon, all served on a slow-proved sourdough base and blasted at 400c for 90 seconds. Charred and smoky on the outside, the right amount doughy on the inside. What's not to love? Well, other than the immediate need for a carb-induced nap (though we did rather enjoy this), the weight of the substantial toppings moves the Mork more into knife and fork territory than hands only. And street food events aren't known for their prevalence of cutlery. Packed with flavour, the Mork is much much more than a novelty pizza but unlikely to become our 'go to' choice.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

February 13th

Railway Tavern

Railway Tavern, London

Address: 7 Station Rise, London SE27 9BW
Pizza of choice: Sausage & spicy jalapeno
Toppings: Cheese, tomato, jalapeno, sausage
Price: £9 (£5 on Mondays)
Thoughts: One bite. That’s usually all it takes to know whether you’re going to enjoy a pizza or not, as your brain and tongue scramble to figure out how good the dough is and how well that dough has been cooked – the rest of the meal they simply go over the other merits. Over at Tulse Hill’s Railway Tavern, another symbol of South London’s burgeoning pizza scene which also sports a tap-load of great beer, we suggest you actually take two bites before making that snap judgement call - as while our initial instincts over a woefully crispy and overcooked base proved correct, the toppings were sublime: the hot sausage and melted cheese arrived almost as fiery as the jalapenos generously smattered alongside them, making it even more annoying that the base was crustier than a member of The Rolling Stones. One lacking ingredient and we’d have had no issues giving this two stars, but with lip-smacking toppings such as these we’re reluctantly giving three.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

February 11th


Peter, Loughborough

Address: 49 Ashby Square, LE11 5AA
Pizza of Choice: #3
Toppings: Tomato, ricotta fresca cheese, salami, mozzarella, pistachio, white truffle oil
Price: £8.50
Thoughts: Deceiving in its understated exterior, the playful atmosphere of Peter erupts as soon as you swing open the doors. With snooker tables dressed for large parties, Connect 4 on offer for waiting couples and house music to keep the dough-wrangling spirit at maximum; no detail is spared in sticking a smile across your face. Thankfully, the sourdough pizza keeps the grins alive, with their recommendation boasting salami curled around crumbly ricotta cheese and crunchy pistachio creating a ravenous display for the teeth. They also included white truffle oil slipping between the mozzarella for an added luxurious touch. Another showstopper was the Peterella; a dessert pizza covered in Nutella and crushed hazelnuts. Sure, it sounds barking. But dial your imagination to ‘pure’ and you’ll be rewarded with a belt-busting treat worthy of Wonka himself.
Star rating: ★★★

February 9th


Sweet Thursday, London

Address: 95 Southgate Road, N1 3JS
Pizza of choice: Porchetta
Toppings: Pulled pork belly, rosemary, mozzarella, cream, fennel
Price: £11
Thoughts: You know you're in safe, dough covered hands as soon as you enter Sweet Thursday. It's not the wall of choice Italian wines lining the entrance, nor the friendly, Italian welcome from the staff (all smiles and hand waving), it's the sight of the vast pizza oven glowing at the back of the homely, packed out restaurant. The pizza offering is vast - growing even longer on weekends with a special English Breakfast Pizza for brunch - but the chefs will put pretty much anything you ask for on your pizza. We stuck with the regular options and went for the Porchetta: no tomato on this one, the base held together with a creamy mix of mozzarella and fennel. The pulled pork belly is roasted on site; thick succulent chunks of ham swimming in a cheesy sea. If you like your pizza sloppy (really sloppy) with a traditional Napoli-style base, you're in for a treat - otherwise you might find yourself drowning in oils. 
Star rating: ★★★✰✰

February 6th


Jalopy Pizza, Dorset 

Address: Bridport, DT6 and back at various street food events across the region from April

Pizza of choice: Margherita

Toppings: Tomato, parmesan, basil, mozzarella, 

Price: £8.50

Thoughts: Let's face it, French cooking isn't all that synonymous with pizza. And though this is unlikely to change anytime soon, we were nonetheless curious to see how Jalopy pizzas had taken influence from the South of France to create award-winning street food for the South of England, catching them at a private event on the coast last year (thankfully without an escargot topping in sight). Much like the intimate vintage Peugeot J7 vans they serve out of, we opted for a classic: the Margherita, given a real bold flavour thanks to a Ephrem wood-fired oven: the tomato was rich in flavour if thinly spread across the handmade dough, the mozzarella was bubbled to near perfection and the basil held its own against these two gloopy giants. We can't say we were too blown away by the crust, mind you, which possibly arrived crisper than the beautifully soft base, but then you can't always have everything. C'est la vie.
Stars: ★★★★✰

February 4th

Pizza East

Pizza East, London

Address: Venues in Shoreditch, Kentish Town and Portobello Road
Pizza of Choice: Golden Fang
Toppings: Pulled pork, crackling , roasted yellow peppers, spring onions, pomegranate vinegar
Price: £11.00
Thoughts: Here at ShortList.com we're big fans of film. We’re also big fans of pizza (not sure if you’ve noticed that). So when we heard Pizza East had given birth to a limited edition dish celebrating Paul Thomas Anderson’s new dark comedy Inherent Vice, we didn't wait around. Befitting a film which stars Joaquin Phoenix as a stoner sleuth, it arrived as smokey as it was shaggy, messily topped with pulled pork, which tasted a little too dry for our liking, and crackling so cumbersome it tended to get in the way of the dough itself. Fortunately, having reviewed the excellent Pizza East last year, we knew the crust and base itself were going to be sublime, and so they were, providing a moreish platform for the tang of roasted yellow peppers and sweet spring onions to pore through, abetted by an ingenious dollop of pomegranate vinegar. Oh, and if you’re wondering, the Golden Fang takes its name from the shady organisation at the heart of the film, while you can find the dish at all Pizza East restaurants until the end of February.
Stars: ★★★✰✰

February 2nd

Pizza Planet, Bristol

Planet Pizza, Bristol

Address: 187 Gloucester Road, BS7 8BG
Pizza of choice: Saturn
Toppings: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, bacon, herb sausage, pan-fried mushroom, baked beans and egg
Price: £13.25
Thoughts: Planet Pizza is not authentically Italian. But then, it’s not trying to be. The Saturn is best described as an English breakfast on a pizza. But you know what? It works. The freshly-made base was deliciously crispy at the edges – the only gripe would be the hint of sogginess in the middle. Layers of fabulously crispy bacon were sprinkled with meaty sausage offering just the right herby flavour, while spoonfuls of succulent mushrooms and a decent helping of baked beans sealed the tasty deal. All this was finished off with two smashed eggs, oozing their yolky goodness over the top. As a cool gimmick, each pizza is named after a celestial body (yes, even that one sure to encourage a few primary school-esque guffaws) yet it’s all offered up in a chilled, down-to-earth environment. Not quite out of this world but a stellar effort all the same.
Stars: ★★★✰✰

January 30th

Oregano, Brixton

Oregano, London

Address: 15 Tulse Hill, Brixton, SW2 2TH

Pizza of choice: BBQ

Toppings: BBQ sauce, mozzarella, chicken, bacon, spring onions, fresh tomatoes

Price: £11.50 (13”)

Thoughts: Since we began our quest to find the UK’s finest slice last year, you've emailed us in your hundreds, suggesting the best places for us to try far and wide, in turn sending us off to discover swanky new restaurants and tucked away hipster alcoves throughout these fair isles. One place we kept hearing about is Oregano, a rudimentary looking post-beers pizzeria parked a 10 minute walk from Brixton station. We'll be honest, it didn't exactly scream excellence. Then we heard the takeaway spot used a wood-fired oven... we ordered the BBQ. Though the decidedly thin crust wasn't quite as fluffy or yielding as we’d hoped, the taste was exemplarily, comprising a real sweet before you even reach the honeyed tang of the BBQ sauce. Shame then, that while the dough was clearly up to scratch, the ingredients were not: the chicken tasted rubbery and the spring onions didn't so much spring as bury themselves deep down in an over-helping of gooey mozzarella alongside the equally helpless bits of bacon. A cut above the normal high street takeaway, perhaps, but this is miles away from gourmet status.


Stars: ★★✰✰✰

January 28th

Buca, Leeds

Buca di Pizza, Leeds

Address: 27 Wellington Street, LS1 4EA
Pizza of Choice: My Cousin Vinay
Toppings: Onion Bhaji, Garam Massala, Tomato, Paneer, Coriander
Price: £11.50
Thoughts: It’s great to go somewhere with so many original pizza choices – there’s only so many Pepperoni dishes a diner can take. Loosely themed around film titles, the Pizza Moderne range on offer here not only offers a massive choice of flavours but also inspires a heated debate about what to choose. We opted for the My Cousin Vinay pizza. Beautifully crisp onion bhajis and paneer with a few spices on wonderfully cooked base, the rich taste was perfectly balanced out by one of Buca di Pizza’s crisp Italian craft beers. The minor gripe would be that the coriander wasn’t obvious enough (definitely at the spinach end of the spectrum) and adding a few dollops of natural yoghurt would help tie the whole thing together nicely. But don’t let that put you off - to steal from the film theme, just trying these sorts of unusual pizza variants makes for A Life Less Ordinary.
Stars: ★★★✰✰

Ice & Slice

Ice and Slice, London

Address: 24 Jerdan Place, Fulham, SW6 1BH
Pizza of choice: Mortadella and pistachio
Toppings: Tomato, buffalo mozzarella, mortadella and pistachio 
Price: £4.30 per slice; £20 for a 70cm pizza
Thoughts: Fulham might be better known for chaps in red trousers and chapesses in pashminas, but at Ice and Slice over in Fulham Broadway you can get a genuine slice of Italian dolce vita without a pair of mustard cords in sight. Run by the good folk from across the road at Shot Espresso, they are turning out genuine organic pizza with a sourdough base that has been left to prove for 48 hours. Apparently this makes the pizza easier to digest, and while we can’t comment on matters gastric, we put away more than just a couple of slices of our pizza of choice. The rectangular Roman pizzas are a full 70cm long and will feed you and two hungry buddies, or you can go pizza surfing and try a couple of slices from the many options on offer. First up, we devoured a wedge of thin and crispy dough topped with tomato sauce, lashings of fresh buffalo mozzarella, cubes of meaty mortadella and a sprinkling of Sicilian pistachios. Our friendly Italian pizzaiolo asked what we thought: with a mouthful of mozza’ and morta’, we mumbled buonissimo before diving in for another go; this time a pizza bianca of mozzarella, homemade sausage, potato and pesto. And to round it all off, not only are the pizzas top notch, the homemade gelato is the best we’ve had this side of Turin.
Stars: ★★★★✰

January 23rd


Gino’s Pear Tree, Loughborough

Address: 8 Church Hill, Woodhouse Eaves, LE1 28RT

Pizza of choice: Nduja

Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, hot nduja, onions and peppers.

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: Tucked within a scenic pocket of the Loughborough outbacks, Gino’s Pear Tree is a family-run Italian restaurant that houses modern class inside an 18th Century Inn. Don’t let the innocent British village surroundings fool you though - our nation’s typically limp capacity for spice was soon given a cheeky poke by the waiter – spurring our hearts onto their devilish recommendation, the Nduja: a spreadable pork sausage that crackles with chilli-spice and suitably originates from the tip of Italy’s boot. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the meat-triggering heady mercy, but the light, mushy tomatoes and mozzarella circle pits which combined for a firework of hugs and punches. While the finely sliced onions ride the nduja’s sting, the sweet red peppers ensure tastebuds are always nursed for the next Italian bang. From what began as a lofty challenge to our masculinity, we were left unashamedly floored by its softer side. Well worth a trip to the country.

Stars: ★★★★★


January 21st


Goppa, London

Address: 106 Homerton High Street, London E9 6AS
Pizza of Choice: Tuscan Sausage
Toppings: Tuscan sausage, oyster mushrooms, smoked Scamorza cheese, tomato, mozzarella
Price: £8.50
Thoughts: In an unassuming part of Homerton, an increasingly gentrified area of Hackney, we weren't expecting to find a truly great pizza. Despite the hipsterised pubs that have opened close-by, pizza on this stretch is reserved for takeaway joints that also specialise in curry, ribs, kebabs and chicken. So hopes were high for Goppa, which promised Italian authenticity in an area severely lacking. We opted for the Tuscan sausage pizza, which, for the reasonable price, arrived in a generous portion. Rather than other sausage pizzas we've tried, the meat was distributed in meaty chunks, rather than a stingy crumble, and the smoked Scamorza made for a refreshingly different cheese option. In short, an incredibly satisfying and affordable pizza. 
Stars: ★★★★✰

January 19th


Honest Crust, North West

Address: Unit 9-10, Market House, Greenwood St, Altrincham, WA14 1SA & at festivals across the North West
Pizza of choice: Atomica!
Toppings: Tomato, 'Nduja sausage, mozzarella
Price: £4.50 (per slice)
Thoughts: It's been little over two years since Honest Crust began flogging hand stretched sourdough pizza from its wood-fired oven on wheels, quickly establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with on the North West street food scene. They’ve even recently pitched up as a permanent fixture in Altrincham should you be in the area anytime soon, though you'll be glad to know you can still catch them at various festivals. We caught them at last year’s Indy Man Beer Convention where we were fairly keen to experience the hottest dish on its menu. It barely took a few retina-flooding mouthfuls for us to realise it warrants the exclamation mark, the tang of the tomato almost igniting the spice. The enjoyable crust - charred to a tee and a wholesome delight – was less surprising given the name, and our only real foible was a minimal helping of sausage. Still, this is a pizza company well worth seeking out.
Stars: ★★★★✰

January 16th


The London Fields

Address: 137 Mare Street, E8 3RH
Pizza of choice: Pulled pork
Toppings: Slow roasted pork, smoky tomato sauce, red onion, thyme
Price: £10
Thoughts: We’ve seen the future and it doesn’t involve hoverboards, self-tying laces and whatever film props Emmett Brown promised you. Sorry. It involves wood-fired pizza ovens and pubs, together in blissful union, as during our quest for the UK’s finest slice, we've spotted something of a rise in properly cooked dough being sold in those most informal venues. The last to wow us was the The Oak (December 8th). The latest being this laid-back Hackney boozer, firing out crusts that are crisp, clean and mouth-wateringly soft to the bite. That much we expected. What we didn’t consider upon ordering the pulled pork is the kitchen’s refreshingly minimalist approach to the BBQ sauce – there wasn’t any. Not having that usual sugary sauce slathered on the base made for a refreshing change, allowing for the smaller, more subtle flavours to pore through. No more so than the thyme, which worked perfectly with the meat and had us begging for seconds. You should make some time yourself...
Stars: ★★★★★

The Italian Club, Liverpool

Italian Club, Liverpool
Address: 85 Bold Street, L1 4HF
Pizza of choice: Cicciona – Calzone style
Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, salami, parma ham, spicy salami, Italian sausage
Price: £10.95
Thoughts: The Italian Club is a warm, inviting trattoria inspired restaurant. It looks Italian, feels Italian and, in case you were doubting, even has the boot-shaped nation’s 2006 World Cup win on the wall. The restaurant also doubles up as an Italian deli and the menu is even available for take-away, so all the bases are covered. Interestingly, every pizza on the menu can be served calzone style - how could we refuse? The folded bread base was tasty and the filling was packed full of meaty flavour with everything from salami and parma ham to spicy Italian sausage with hints of fennel seeds. The mozzarella was wonderful and elastic, though the tomato sauce, while rich, could have offered more when it came to flavour. Overall, however - no matter what national side you support, where pizzas are concerned, this is the right club for you.
Stars: ★★★✰✰

January 12th


The Bird in the Hand, London

Pizza of choice: Salsiccia
Toppings: Truffle paste, tuscan sausage, porcini, tomato, mozzarella, parsley and truffle oil
Price: £13.50
Thoughts: Sloppy. That’s not a criticism of Bird in the Hand - the demeanour of this inviting British/Italian restaurant in the urban sprawl of Kensington is anything but careless. It’s the Salsiccia that’s sloppy: a beautiful, muddled pizza for those who prefer to finish their plate only to find a second meal clinging to their fingers. The truffle paste and oil lend the pizza a heady, peppery kick, while keeping the melted base of mozzarella and tomato deliciously messy. The chef will add any topping you fancy - with a range to pick from on the extensive pizza menu - but stick with the porcini mushrooms and tuscan sausage for a traditional Italian flavour. A solid four star experience that falls just short of a fifth by virtue of lacking that extra smoky quality only a wood burning oven can deliver.
Stars: ★★★★✰

January 9th

Herb Garden Pizza

The Herb Garden, Newcastle

Pizza of choice: Fillet Steak Pizza
Toppings: Peppered fillet steak, mushrooms, red onion, rosemary, thyme, ricotta, olives, Parmesan and basil
Price: £16.50
Thoughts: Set in the railway arches near Newcastle's central station and appearing like an upmarket take on The Rainforest Café, The Herb Garden is one of the most novel pizza restaurants out there. And when our eyes weren't attracted to its futuristic looking shrubbery, they were fixed on the menu; and for all the greenery and eco-friendly vibe of the place, we knew we had to have the Fillet Steak Pizza - yes, fillet steak on a pizza - nervous that the combination of two independently classic food types may not blend together, ruining both in one dough-filled sitting, but as it turned out the bed of herbs and creamy, stringy cheese matched perfectly with the steak on top. The base was evenly cooked and had a near fluffy texture to it, while the other ingredients like the red onions helped pack a really sweet punch alongside the rich meat. The next time we order a fillet steak in a restaurant we’re asking for a side of dough.
Stars: ★★★★✰

January 7th, 2015

Baby Octopus Pizza

Luppolo, London

Address: 36-38 High Street, Wanstead, EH11 2AA
Pizza of Choice: Baby Octopus
Toppings: Garlic, chili, mussels, baby octopus, squid, tiger prawns, lemon, tomato sauce
Price: £11.50
Thoughts: A newly-opened pizzeria restaurant in the east of East London, this is well worth the trip out to the wilds of Wanstead. For a start, it's within eyesight of the tube station and secondly, there's a host of craft beers available (Luppolo being the Italian word for hops), including its own Luppolo Pale Ale - it's definitely aiming for the hipsters with its minimal decor and vibe. But enough of that, what about the pizza? Well, there's an open oven in the corner, so you can see the chefs going about their work and, while there was a slight wait - it was worth it. We went for the seafood option, with the Baby Octopus pizza being a smorgasbord of fishy delight. It was rich, filling (there was a lot of topping) and nicely cooked, with the base being soft and just the right thickness. There's a further 19 pizza options on the menu so there's something for everyone. Recommended.
Stars: ★★★★✰

January 5th, 2015

Pork pizza

Kilderkin, Edinburgh

Address: 65 Canongate, EH8 8BT
Pizza of Choice: Fairytale of Pulled Pork
Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, stuffing, cranberry, turkey, pulled pork
Price: £8.50
Thoughts: At first glance, the Kilderkin doesn't really look like the sort of place you would imagine tucking into a hand-rolled pizza. Not on second glance, either. This is an old-school boozer, a distinctly no frills environment. But therein lies its beauty. By resolutely refusing to try too hard, the result is a place you'd consider moving house so you could consider it your local. And did we mention they have a pizza oven, capable of churning out 12" of stone-baked joy? First - a word of caution. Pizza here is not for the indecisive - there are more than 30 different pizzas on offer, most of which are named after songs and singers and feature some top-notch bad-punning that's easily worth one extra rating star. Think Beast of Bourbon, Goaty-yeah or Meat is Murder - perfect for veggies and dubiously-opinionated, big-mouth pop geniuses. With all that choice, we decided to choose purely on name alone, and plumped for Christmas special, the superbly-monikered Fairytale of Pulled Pork, boasting turkey, cranberry, mozzarella, stuffing, with pulled pork courtesy of neighbours, hog-roast specialists Oink. It lives up to its name. The hand-rolled bases are super-thin, the edges crisp like crackers, so there's no chewy doughy chunks, just bite after crunchy bite of porky, Yuletide goodness. There's nothing flashy - no ultra-rare sourdough culture bases, no toppings hand-knitted from organic yoghurt, and no artisans are hurt in their making. Just straightforward, tasty, good value pizza. And most remarkably of all, if you head there on a Monday (and manage to fight your way through the throng), you can enjoy the same pizza for an unbelievable £1. Yep, you heard correctly. One of Liz's shiny golden nuggets - just the one, and it doesn't have to be that shiny either - will secure you the pizza of your choosing. That's got to be better than any Tory porridge recipe.
Stars: ★★★★✰


Voodoo Ray's Christmas Special, London

Address: Winterville Festival, Victoria Park, E3 5TB (until Jan 1st 2015)
Pizza of choice: Turk Diggler 
Toppings: Herbed turkey breast, pigs in blankets, bone marrow gravy, mozzarella, leeks and Napoli sauce
Price: £4.50 a (large) slice
Thoughts: Think of Christmas pizza and, if you’re anything like us, you automatically think of Kevin’s plain cheese order in Home Alone. He was a real purist when it came to his toppings, all right, so we can only imagine what the little lad would have made of Turk Diggler (left slice), the festive offering from Dalston pizza-by-the-slice giants, Voodoo Ray’s. He needn't have worried - after a chilly skating session on the Winterville ice-rink, a hot slice of Diggler from the pizza van went down a treat. The base and crust were fine, if lacking the lift and elasticity we've come to expect of Ray's normal sit-in delicacies, but the onslaught of turkey, rich gravy and leek sent us straight back to the Christmas dinners of our youth. And if the Turk Diggler isn’t enough, they have a second seasonal pizza up their sleeves: Deck The Halls comes with a topping of smoked gammon, sprouts, red onion and parsnip velouté (right slice). If you’re after a hipper and less expensive alternative to Winter Wonderland, and also fancy a slice or two of unique pizza named after a Boogie Nights character, don’t hang about - Winterville will be shutting up shop on New Year’s Day. 
Stars: ★★★✰✰

December 19th



Address: 24-26 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AE

Pizza of choice: Funghi

Toppings: Roasted mushrooms, smoked provola mozzarella and tarragon (with sausage meat)

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: Despite being located in the basement of Jamie’s Italian, you'll find no awkward spaghetti twirling here. An entirely separate establishment, the menu is fairly simple – only five pizza options ranging in price from a reasonable £8 to a tenner, with a short but tasty list of sides and extra toppings available according to taste. Our waiter recommended the Funghi with extra Italian sausage, a meat which worked terrifically alongside the mushroom and cheese we found layered atop the thin and ultra crispy base. Famished punters should appreciate not only speedy service but some seriously huge pizzas, best washed down with a neat glass of white from Jamie’s own vineyard. Decanted by Jamie himself. Well, if he's around.

Stars: ★★★★✰


December 17th

Frankie's, London

Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill, London

Address: Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, SW6 1HS

Pizza of choice: The American

Toppings: Pepperoni, fresh chilli

Price: £9.50

Thoughts: Unlike Jose Mourinho, whose Chelsea team talks must resemble a United Nations summit, Marco Pierre White had only two nationalities to work with when curating the menus for Frankie’s - an American-style restaurant owned by Italian race jockey Frankie Dettori. And no sooner had we finished tear-inducing hot wings, arriving in a neat, commendably greasy and generously portioned basket, that we knew they clearly had the American side of things right at this Stamford Bridge establishment. So what about the pizza? Well, as you’d expect with a stone-baked base, it was rigid; really rigid, relying on big thick bites on the outside to make up a lack of subtly and softness in the centre; this overly firm texture also helped by the rich grainy flour coated along the crust, joyfully pouring into the edges of the mouth like dust into the tyre tracks of a Mars Rover. And while the thick chilli goop on top fell some way short of the spiciness we’d found in the wings earlier, it did possess a real sweetness, offsetting the sharp after taste of the pepperoni for a nice finish. Overall, a good pizza in a pretty good venue - despite the match day hubbub, there’s a neighbourhood charm and diner-like authenticity which most UK sports bars lack. Pop in on NFL Sundays for proof of that.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰


December 15th

Copyright: Streatza

Streatza, Manchester

Address: At North West festivals and street food sites
Pizza of choice: Parma
Toppings: Parma ham, wild rocket, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil
Price: £7.00
Thoughts: Nothing puts the ‘kitsch into ‘pizza kitchen’ quite like a vintage Citroen mobile pizza van. Sure, it doesn’t guarantee you a well-crafted pizza, but it doesn’t half promise one. And being regularly parked up at indie festivals and the hottest street food spots across the North West – Manchester’s Guerrilla Eats your best chance of catching them – this counts double for Streatza, who claim to 'make dough go slow'. And how? Using Caputo flour from Naples, the food whizzes leave it to rise for 48hrs before stretching by hand, piling on some straight-from-the-farm-fresh ingredients and sending it into the fiery abyss of a wood oven, making for a spectacular base, enveloping a real chewiness to the thick crust onwards - almost to the point of making the tender Parma ham an afterthought. Though perhaps the generously portioned greens were a little too generous, getting in our way somewhat as we ate it on the go - fine for an indoors establishment, but an impractical amount of rocket to shove in your mouth while queuing up at a drinks stall with a beer already in hand. Still, a tremendous work of foodie art which you should seek out immediately.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

December 12th


Bocconcino, London

Address: 19 Berkeley St, W1J 8ED
Pizza of choice: Bocconcino
Toppings: Stracchino, mozzarella, tomatoes, Parma ham
Price: £14.00
Thoughts: Pizza, by its very nature, is an informal beast - best grabbed with your hands, invariably messy and ideal for eating on-the-go. With this in mind, we’re always curious to see how it’s being served up in more formal settings, and they don’t come much swankier than Mayfair’s newly opened Bocconcino, a dramatic, two floored, Dom Pérignon-dripping hub for the elite now found a stone’s throw from the Ritz and just a few doors up from A-list hive Nobu. It’s the brainchild of Moscow restaraunter Mikhail Gokhner, who, thankfully, takes his influences from Northern Tuscany as opposed to Russia, and it shows in some unwaveringly traditional and minimalist toppings, all baked from wood-fired ovens. Our waiter recommended the Bocconcino, which arrived slathered to the heavens in some outstanding Parma ham, each sliver juicier than the last and offset with a really thin and airy base, remaining on the right side of crispy if slightly making our throats a little dry in parts where the tomato lacked. Overall though, it’s clear proof that when an upscale establishments put its blood, sweat and tears into it (not literally, that'd be wrong) then top quality pizza is achievable. What’s the Russian for bellissimo?
Star rating: ★★★★✰

December 10th


Crazy Pedro’s, Manchester

Address: 55-57 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BQ 
Pizza of choice: Half Pedro’s famous hotdog, half fried chicken and waffle
Toppings: Beer soaked frank, American cheese, crispy onions, fried chicken, waffle, fried chicken, smoked bacon, maple syrup
Price: £14.00
Thoughts: What do you get when you cross an Italian pizza joint with an American diner, a British rock/indie bar, a Mexican drinking den and a Caribbean rum joint? Crazy Pedro’s part-time pizza parlour - that’s what. With so much choice the only sensible thing was to go halves, so Half Pedro’s “world famous” hotdog, half fried chicken and waffle, it was. Crazy, we know. Coming on a superbly crispy 16-in base, the hotdog half was everything you would expect with its meaty slices of frank, cheese and delicious crispy onions smothered in a mix of sweet ketchup and tangy mustard, which, while satisfying, did occasionally overpower the other daft flavours. On the other half we were concerned that the sweet maple syrup may make this too sweet for our liking but we were proven wrong as the peppery chicken and smoked bacon complimented the subtly sweet flavours of the waffle and syrup well. This place may be crazy by name and crazy by nature but, in this case, crazy is good.
Star rating: ★★★✰✰

December 8th

The Oak

The Oak, London

Address: 137 Westbourne Park, W2 5Ql
Pizza of choice: Bufala
Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, cured buffalo carpaccio, wild rocket, fresh buffalo ricotta
Price: £13.50
Thoughts: "You haven’t had a proper Italian pizza in your search", they told us. "You don’t know anything about pizza", they insisted. They might have been right, but that’s all changed now we’ve been to The Oak. With a menu of Mediterranean fare, it’s the reputation of their wood-fired oven pizzas that brings many to this Notting Hill haunt. As far as the menu is concerned, the pizza’s looked pretty ordinary: we went the Bufala, topped with tomato, mozzarella, cured buffalo carpaccio, buffalo ricotta and rocket. You can tell something’s different as soon as the food arrives. It’s thin. Delicately thin. Only two grams of yeast is used in every 40 kilo batch of dough, resulting in a light-as-air, crisp base that doesn't leave you with that over-full feeling in the stomach. The result is that the base doesn't mask the flavours of the toppings, leaving you with a mix of cheese, meat and zinging rocket that smacks you in the mouth. If you haven't got the time for a round trip to the south of Italy, best head to the north of London instead. You won't regret it.
Star rating: ★★★★★

December 5th

The Quarter, Liverpool

The Quarter, Liverpool

Address: 7 Falkner Street, L8 7PU
Pizza of choice: The New Yorker
Toppings: Pastrami, crispy bacon, meatballs, dill pickle, mayonnaise, rocket
Price: £10.75
Thoughts: Sat in perfect view of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, The Quarter is a tremendously cool Italian-inspired restaurant where food menus are clipped to wooden boards, drinks menus are wrapped around recycled wine bottles and the bar is stocked with local drinks. Why it would be plain rude not to try Liverpool Organic Brewery’s Best Bitter, what with its heady citrus notes bouncing off the tongue. But it’s the pizza we swung by for, dammit, and the pizza in question was the New Yorker. The base perfectly balanced itself somewhere between the stonebaked effect of a traditional Italian pizza and the slightly floppy characteristic of its New York equivalent. Though there was no question the toppings, ranging from some pleasantly pungent pastrami to dill pickle, mayonnaise, crispy bacon, moistened meatballs and rocket (more needed in truth), were firmly New York Deli. Combine this with reasonable pricing and the experience at The Quarter? Fuggedaboutit.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

December 3rd

Fields Bar & Kitchen

Fields Bars & Kitchen, London

Address: Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3LH
Pizza of choice: Diavola
Toppings: Spicy salami, chilli tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella
Price: 12.25
Thoughts: Much like beards look better on Italian footballers named Andrea Pirlo, pizzas taste best out of wood-fired ovens. No question about that. And at Fields Kitchen & Bar, a Scandi-style restaurant currently popped up in the forested oasis of Lincoln's Inn Fields behind Holborn station, which also serves up a cracking breakfast, you'll find these ovens turning top quality dough into lightly charred things of beauty. Though in the case of the fiery Diavola (the chilli tomato sauce really did have a mule’s kick) the toppings seemed to be meshed so firmly that the otherwise rich and crusty skin of sauce and meat peeled away slightly too easily, sliding off certain slices quicker than our nose was running. Admittedly, it's not cheap, and the hustle and bustle of lunch times can spell lengthy waits, but if you want a hot and spicy pizza pie to warm you up this winter, swing by when you can.
Star rating: ★★★✰✰

December 1st


Flour & Ash, Bristol

Address:  203b Cheltenham Road, BS6 5QX
Pizza of choice: Ox cheek & red wine ragu
Toppings: Ox cheek, red wine ragu, bechamel sauce, aged provolone. 
Price: £13.00
Thoughts: First impressions here are understated and casual, with picnic tables making up the central seating, and smaller tables for couples or lone diners. And this relaxed vibe at Flour & Ash works well, especially because the food is so ambitious (pizza toppings include beef fillet with watercress & horseradish, or roasted aubergine with ewes curd). You've probably already raised your eyebrows at our choice; well lower them now: the ox cheek proved beautifully soft in the rich red wine ragu, which combined excellently with the creamy bechamel sauce - it was like taking the best bits from a lasagne and slapping them on a pizza. The sourdough base was light and perfectly cooked, with a nice slight char at the edges, proving a world class eat with a superb collection of local beers and ciders to help wash it all down. This isn't the first 5-star pizza we've eaten in Bristol, either. The much buzzed about city, attracting young professionals in waves, is enjoying a real burgeoning foodie scene right now. So don't expect the mass exodus to the West Country stopping anytime soon.
Star rating: ★★★★★

November 28th

Holborn Whippet's Pizza

Holborn Whippet, London

Address: 25-29 Sicilian Avenue, WC1A 2QH
Pizza of choice: New York Hot
Toppings: Spicy pepperoni, jalapenos, buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil
Price: 12" £10.50/16" £15
Thoughts: Every so often in this world of artisan flavours and off-piste combinations, you just need (to borrow from Masterchef parlance) some big, fat simple flavours. And the Holborn Whippet, better known a world class alehouse with 17 on tap, does this splendidly. Situated In a tucked away little avenue in central London, seconds from Holborn station, we opted for a classic New York Hot - the colossal 16" version on account of our hunger. The buffalo mozzarella was supple, smooth and creamy, the pepperoni was gutsy, the jalapenos had a good kick - but not too much to lead to any unwanted eye-watering - and the base was crisp and thin, but able to withstand the party on top. Oh, it was a party, all right. This was a simple, hearty, tasty triumph. If you want a straightforward big fat simple pizza, done expertly, then you won't go too far wrong with this. Just one word of warning: we only managed to get marginally over halfway with the 16", so perhaps keep it real and stick to the 'album version' instead. 
Star rating: ★★★★✰

November 26th

A five star pizza

La Favorita, Edinburgh

Address: 325-331 Leith Walk, EH6 8SA
Pizza of Choice: Napoletana (Salsiccia e Friarelli)
Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, Italian sausage, baby turnip tops, nduja, smoked cheese
Price: £12.95
Thoughts: Three generations of the Crolla family have made authentic Italian pizza their business, and it’s clear they take their heritage seriously. The pizza dough, using flour from Padova and extra virgin olive oil from Abruzzo, is made fresh daily and left to prove and mature for 48 hours before it’s considered ready to be tossed, topped and thrust into the Italian-built log-fired ovens before being served up by genuine Italians. All that attention to authenticity results in some spectacularly thin-based pizzas, with crusts bubbled and blistered, giving off a pleasant hint of smokiness. Praise be to the Master Pizzaiolo – the main pizza dude to you and us - as his topping combinations are inspired: a special of three cheeses, rocket and sticky balsamic glaze was pretty darned good, but it was the Napoletana, a heavenly mix of sweet mozzarella, spicy calabrian spreading sausage and sour, tangy friarelli (via the baby turnip tops), that left us fighting over the last slice. While Italian food generally conjures up romance, this is pizza so good it could easily spell divorce.
Star rating: ★★★★★

November 24th

Princi, London

Princi, London

Address: 135 Wardour St, W1F 0UT
Pizza of choice: Capricciosa
Toppings: Ham, artichoke, black olive, mozzarella, tomato
Price: £11.00
Thoughts: After propping up our recent guide to the UK’s coolest coffee spots, here's further reason to spend half of your day shuffling in and around Soho’s Princi: its pizza pies are top dollar (don't worry, you pay in sterling), and we use the word ‘pies' for good reason. Baked in a large wood-fire oven, sky-high crusts encircle a much thinner base with toppings generously thrown in the middle - which, as we found while gnawing our way around a soaring and soft crust in full pursuit of the Capricciosa's meaty centre, makes for a hell of a dish. A subdued offering of mozzarella failed to make any real impact, though the sweet mixture of slightly honeyed ham and jam-like tomato made amends for that. Best finished with a steamy espresso, obviously.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

November 21st


Piccolino, Bristol

Address: Broad Weir, Cabot Circus, BS1 3BZ
Pizza of choice: Pollo Parmigiana
Toppings: Chicken, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil & Parmesan 
Price: £10.50
Thoughts: Piccolino is one of the more opulent restaurant chains in central Bristol, with the standard issue green leather booths, chrome, glass and low lighting. They're definitely going for New York brasserie rather than Tuscan trattoria with the decor. This, paired with the top notch service and small touches such as complimentary nuggets of bread and oil, make you feel quite special from the start. The Pollo Parmigiana arrived bigger than expected, with a firm, light base, a fluffy crust and seriously good tomato base sauce. The chicken was roasted, nicely seasoned and generously dotted across the pizza in bite-sized chunks. The roasted cherry tomatoes and Parmesan shavings also added some extra flavour and texture. We also tried the Tricolore salad (tomato, mozzarella, avocado and basil) and a couple of their desserts, all of which were of a similar high standard, and flavoursome without being too rich or heavy. A solid enjoyable offering, made even better by the surroundings and swish service.
Star rating: ★★★✰✰

November 19th

Rustico, London

Rustico, London

Address: 271 Clapham Road, SW9 9BQ 

Pizza of choice: Quattro Stagioni

Toppings: Tomato, mozerella, ham, salami, artichokes, olives

Price: £7.50

Thoughts: While nearby Brixton and Clapham brag a bevy of independent eating establishments, Stockwell all but remains a dining abyss, barren of even a decent pub within the one mile radius from the tube station. This certainly goes some way to explaining why Rustico appeared to us like a mirage, its cosy glow at odds with the darkened shops wedged next door, drawing in nomadic foodies like a middle class tractor beam. And if these sizable mid-week crowds were anything to go by - not to mention our terrific calamari starter - it’s a top-notch place to grab a Mediterranean bite. That goes for the pizza, too, arriving so gooey and hot we weren't sure if the tomato sauce had been mixed up with lava, and when we plucked up the courage to dig in, that rich and bubbly sauce erupted with flavour, particularly when oozing onto a slobber-some meat selection. We can’t say we were too convinced by the olives, mind, rolling straight off our slice with every bite  to make our plate something of a battleground for space; or indeed the crust, which was perhaps a tad overcooked. Though on pure flavour alone, we might be visiting Stockwell more often.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰


November 17th


Zerodegrees, Bristol

Address: 53 Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5BA

Pizza of choice: Smoky Mexican

Toppings: Spicy Mexican sausage, roasted mixed peppers, red onions, sweetcorn, jalapeño, smoked cheese, coriander, chilli oil and tomato sauce

Price: £10.75

Thoughts: Perched at the top of Christmas Steps, Zerodegrees is a cool microbrewery with a great rep for pizzas. We ordered a Smoky Mexican, electing for their honey-wheat base. After mutilating the pizza with the pitiful knife provided, we found the Smoky Mexican’s base was perfectly crispy but there was no honey coming through – any sweetness was courtesy of the yummy roasted peppers. And despite the abundance of sausage, it just didn’t bring any flavour to the party. This, combined with some disappointingly bland cheese offering none of the promised smokiness, meant that the pizza was only rescued from being unmemorable by the addition of fragrant coriander. The pizza wasn't bad per se – we simply felt that Tesco's Finest range would’ve offered something just as good. The beer, however, is outstanding.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰




November 14th


Obicà, London

Address: 19-20 Poland St, London W1F 8QF
Pizza of choice: N'Duja e Burrata
Toppings: N'Duja di Spilinga salami, burrata, fresh basil
Price: £13.50
Thoughts: Before we set foot inside a "mozzarella bar", we were a little unsure. Does mozzarella really demand an entire venue dedicated to its often questionable charms? The answer is a shouty "YES". Ignore the rather bland stringy cheese you might have suffered in lesser eateries, it's the real deal here. On our pizza of choice, we were lucky enough to sample their burrata, that's a creamier version in case you're unaware, and it was one of the finest we've tried. It was also perfectly matched with some spicy spreadable N'Duja salami, which has become a bit of a trend of late. We were also mightily impressed with the tomato base, which was closer to a bruschetta topping than a standard sauce as well as the semolina crust which made for an extra crispy but not burnt edge. One of the finer high-end pizzas we've had of late.
Star rating: ★★★★✰


November 12th


Black Dog Ballroom, Manchester

Address: Basement Affleck’s Palace, Church St, M4 1PW
Pizza of choice: Jerk Chicken
Toppings: Grilled house marinated chicken and spring onions
Price: £7.50
Thoughts: Venturing into the flagship venue of Black Dog on the cusp of Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter, we weren't expecting to find great pizza. A great beer selection including Goose Island Pale Ale, sure, a glut of pool tables, no doubt, a black dog, naturally (Bruce can regularly be found schmoozing between tables, do say hello), but certainly nothing to suggest we'd be shouting home about the doughy creations whipped up inside. Well listen up, because while far from the traditional, wood-fired types of pizza we've come to behold on our search, if you're looking for some no-nonsense comfort food, this sugar-loaded hangover cure of a dish is the one for you. It had us at the crust, all glistening and glazed - just look at that photo - with one firm bite all that was required to open up its caramel-like texture. The rest of the slice was a bit floppier, dropping downwards as we held the remnants of the crust and inched downwards towards the fiery chicken, which proved a treat alongside some ultra-zesty spring onions, even if the marinade wasn't quite as sweet as the rest of the dish. Nonetheless, the ensuing food coma was well worth it
Star rating: ★★★✰✰

November 10th

Crate Pizza

Crate, London

Address: The White Building, Unit 7, Queen’s Yard, E9 5EN
Pizza of choice: Middle Eastern Lamb
Toppings: Tomato reduction base, mozzarella, spinach, marinated lamb mince, parmesan and pine nuts
Price: £12.00
Thoughts: The thin, crispy bases and inventive variety of toppings make Crate, a brewery-cum-pizzeria planted right next to the canal in Hackney Wick, a must-visit for any pizza connoisseur. With a menu that changes monthly, prepare to be delighted by pizzas loaded with Middle Eastern lamb or sweet potato, stilton and walnut. The former was our choice, and while pizza puritans may feel lamb atop of dough is lunacy, we found the perfectly seasoned and rich meat a sure-fire winner. Pine nuts added a sweet crunch the longer the marinated minced lamb melted in the mouth, making for an unexpectedly awesome combination, which we’ll be desperately trying to recreate. Another reason to visit the brewery? That's self-explanatory, with many home-brewed delights flowing from the tap. Be warned though, wait times can be up to 35 minutes and service can be laid back, so it might be wise to order two pints at a time.
Star rating: ★★★★✰


Sheffield Pizza


Address: 383 Abbeydale Road, S7 1FS
Pizza of choice: Squash, Red Onion & Sage Special/Nduja & Salsica Napoli 
Toppings: Squash, Red Onion, Sage/Nduja & Salsica, 
Price: £5.50
Thoughts: Perched next door to a ping pong hall, and located down in the basement of a 1920s cinema, The Picture House Social, if not Sheffield's finest pizza place, is certainly the most hipster-strewn. But what else do you expect with retro golden sofas, vintage mirrors and ingredients sourced from local butchers or directly from Italy? The special we ordered gave the Nduja and Salsica Napoli a neat twist with some squash, red onion and sage and cicchetti (Italian tapas type food – originally from Venice). The pizza dough uses ‘Tipo 00’ flour and fresh yeast, packing it with incredibly fresh taste and just the right amount of chewiness, while the sauce, whipped up by Sanmarzano tomatoes – qualified because they grow with 20km of Mount Vesuvius, though we're sure the trendy patrons will tell you they knew that all along - had us begging for more. With a drinks menu boasting vermouth, fortified wines, Italian aperitifs, local beers and a cocktail list curated monthly, who knew Sheffield was so close to Naples?

Star rating: ★★★★✰





Address: 61 The Cut, SE1 8LL
Pizza of choice: Campagnola
Toppings: Chorizo, ‘nduja sausage, buffalo mozzarella, mascarpone, rocket and tomato sauce
Price: £11.50
Thoughts: The way they go on about it, you’d have thought the Italians had invented the pizza. While they didn’t (Wikipedia informs us the Sardinians, Greeks and Egyptians have pretty good claims), they’ve certainly perfected it - as Olivelli’s chefs can attest. There’s nothing to draw attention to the Campagnola on their menu, filled as it is with tempting Italian fare, but we’d underline it with a red Sharpie if they’d let us. Peppery chorizo and spicy ‘nudja sausage supply a satisfying kick, balanced out by impossibly fluffy buffalo mozzarella and mascarpone. The secret to the pizza’s success isn’t the rocket and tomato (fresh as they are) – it’s the flour, caputo. Shipped in from Napoli, it transforms an otherwise good pizza base into crispy perfection. Sloppy, rich and simple, this is the sort of pizza that gets you excited about food. Bellissimo. 
Star rating: ★★★★★


Fumo, Birmingham


Address: 1 Waterloo Street, B2 5PG
Pizza of choice: Calzone
Toppings: Folded pizza with tomato, cheese and ham
Price: £6.75 (you'll need more dishes, though)
Thoughts: We hate to go on about it, but charring of a pizza is absolutely vital. Burning is unforgivable, but charring is a must. What you see here is charring. Delicious, smoky, complimentary charring that marries with the contradictory light, herby, zinginess of the fresh tomato sauce hidden within. This was a really strong calzone from Fumo, an Italian restaurant with tapas-style portions who don't specialise in pizza, but just happen to make a really superb one. Calzone isn't our normal order, either. They all too often come packed to the rafters with stodgy volumes of cheese and mountains of pork sausage of varying flavours and qualities pulling your taste buds and jaw this way and that. The simplicity of the dish and attention to the filling to casing ratio (which we'd like to think they worked out with a calculator) is what won through. In short: really delicious.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

October 31st

York And Albany

York & Albany, London

Address: 127-129 Parkway, Camden, NW1 7PS
Pizza of choice: Grilled chicken 
Toppings: Grilled chicken, peppers, red onions, tomato, smoked cheddar
Price: £11.50
Thoughts: Adjoined to the hubbub of fancy dining and post-work drinks in Gordon Ramsay's sweeping Camden gastro pub the York & Albany, this on-site and decidedly more rustic bistro sits largely undiscovered by the masses. More fool them – the doughy wares rustled up in the room’s wood-fired pizza oven are terrific, and even worth quite a long wait (some pungent cocktails helped abate our appetite). You won't find an original menu, nor a traditional one, but the grilled chicken pizza, or, as Ramsay would call it, the ‘f*cking grilled chicken’ proved a shrewd choice, its thick red onions dripping in sweetness while entangled with the moist smoked cheddar. And we'll admit, the chicken looked the sort you'd get on a frozen pizza, but thankfully it tasted straight-from-the-animal fresh, and though the crust could have been a tad more airy (the fluffier the better in our opinion) it was the complete opposite of a kitchen nightmare. Here's a bonus: go on a Tuesday and the pizza is 2-for-1. A steal.
Star rating: ★★★★✰




Address: Avenue North, 18-22 Bridge Street, M3 3BZ
Pizza of choice: Pulled pork
Toppings: Pulled pork, roasted apple, sage, grana padano and rocket
Price: £11.00
Thoughts: With its upmarket shops, trendy bars and ever increasing selection of restaurants, Spinningfields has quickly become one of the hotspots of Manchester's high-end social scene. But amongst all the glitz, glamour, footballers and stars of Hollyoaks you barely remember the names of from back when you watched it on T4 – the question remains: can you get a decent pizza? We went to Artisan, one of the area's most talked about haunts, to find out. From the outside we had no idea of how big this place would be, but we were soon greeted by a large, industrial, New York lofthouse style space, somehow managing to be both impressive and a bit overbearing, especially if busy. The extensive menu contains a host of wood-fired pizzas to choose from, ranging from your classics to the slightly out of place donner kebab option. We went for the pulled pork, which arrived on a crisp dough. Although enjoyable, it was perhaps a little too crispy. Lucikly, the toppings had a heady flavour with a real sweetness given to it all by the tomato base and apples; saltiness from the pork and cheese; and peppery taste from the rocket and basil. And while the overall experience was perhaps style over substance, if a fancy evening out and a good eat is what you're looking for, then you’re in the right place.
Star rating: ★★★✰✰


Grand Union

Grand Union, London

Address: 123 Acre Lane, SW2 5UA 
Pizza of choice: The Carnivorous 
Toppings: Spicy pepperoni, BBQ chicken and ground beef
Price: £9.00
Thoughts: Not for nothing is Grand Union Brixton one of the premium mid-week drinking spots in London right now. Just one of many Grand Unions richly sprinkled across the capital, offering Gastro pub ambience with a more student-like vibe, this south-of-the-river outpost has informal charm on tap. And if one thing here offers more comfort than the snug sofas and moderately priced drink (the Happy Hour is well worth taking advantage of), it’s the food; specifically the 'foot wide' pizzas, catering to the sort of crowd who want something robust, spicy and sugary to help soak up an evening drink or three. The Carnivorous is one such beast. Almost creamy in taste on account of thick tomato sauce and sweetly coated BBQ chicken, it took a while for the actual flavour of the meat to register, which, considering the meat, though fine, isn't quite in the same class as the sauce, was no bad thing. In fact, we didn't even mind too much that the crisp crust was at direct odds with an unevenly soft centre, because, for an unapologetically no-nonsense eat, it’s unapologetically good.
Star rating: ★★★★✰




Tapped, Leeds

Address: 51 Boar Ln, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 5EL

Pizza of Choice: 12” Bit of Blue

Toppings: Gorgonzola, Walnut, Rocket, Cherry Tomatoes

Price: £9.00

Thoughts: Amidst the homebrew equipment of the beer Mecca that is Tapped lurks the unsung hero that is the pizza kitchen. With only pizza on the menu and quite a limited selection at that, the chefs are able to concentrate on getting the food just right and the Bit of Blue does not disappoint. Beneath the verdant layer of rocket the relatively simple palette of creamy Gorgonzola, crunchy walnut and sweet cherry tomatoes is perfectly balanced on a fine base - made with the house wheat beer to deliver a soft centre and a crisp outer. There’s no need to invent brand new combinations when you get these classic just right. 

Star rating: ★★★★✰




Pizza East

Pizza East, London

Address: 5 Kingly St, W1B 5PF

Pizza of Choice: Veal meatballs

Toppings: Veal meatballs, proscuitto, lemon, cream

Price: £12.00

Thoughts: While Pizza East might have started in, yes you guessed it, East London, it’s now become available in Finsbury Park, Notting Hill and, ermmm, Chicago. As much as we’d have enjoyed a trip to the Windy City, we felt it was more “authentic” to go back to where it all started. We opted for one of the old classics of the menu because it sounded like a mixture of ingredients that we’d never put together on a pizza. Veal meatballs, prosciutto and cream. Mmhmm. But these guys know what they’re doing. The absence of a tomato base AND CHEESE was made up for rather wonderfully by a creamy sauce and an indulgent amount of high quality meat. Strangely satisfying.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



Peacock, Liverpool

The Peacock, Liverpool

Address: 51 Seel Street, L1 4AZ
Pizza of Choice: Margherita with fresh Chillies
Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, basil, fresh green chilli
Price: £5.00
Decked out with benches, leather sofas and wallpaper funkier than a Jimi Hendrix LP cover, The Peacock has no real need to serve up hot doughy circles to throngs of hungry punters on Liverpool’s trendy Seel St. It could well survive on booze and easy-eats alone. But this establishment isn't afraid to buck the trend, and we're mightily glad they do. Whipped up by an Italian chef who prepared the dishes not too far from us, there was a real home-cooking vibe on our visit, translating straight into the end product itself. The crust was perfectly crisp (although we wish the base had been a bit firmer), the tomato and mozzarella meshed together smoothly, and the chilli? Well  that was akin to a spicy grenade exploding in our mouth. Overall, it's a very good pizza, and priced at a lowly £5 - we repeat, just £5 - you'd struggle to find a better deal anywhere else.
Star rating: ★★★✰✰

October 17th


La Porchetta, London

Address: 147 Stroud Green Road, N4 3PZ
Pizza of choice: Bufala
Toppings: Buffalo mozzarella D.O.P, parma ham, cherry tomatoes, rocket
Price: £10.95
Thoughts: With a motto that loosely translates as 'The right taste', this traditional Italian restaurant – which has four other outposts dotted around the city - certainly lives by it. There’s the option to upgrade the mozzarella on any pizza for the fresh Buffalo mozzarella DOP, but we went for the only creation the cheese is a native to: the Bufala. As we were sat right next to the kitchen, we could see the beauty take shape from an anonymous ceiling-flung piece dough to a bubbling monster that arrived hanging off the edges of the plate. They make a big deal of the DOP mozzarella for a reason; it will likely melt in your mouth – handy, as your chewing strength will be needed for the unapologetically robust crust. While not quite show-stopping, it’s everything a pizza should be. 
Star rating: ★★★✰✰

October 15


Cornerhouse, Manchester

Address: 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH
Pizza of choice: Tea smoked duck
Toppings: Tea smoked duck, wild mushrooms, truffle oil, buffalo mozzarella
Price: £10.95
Thoughts: In a world…(yes, you should be reading this sentence in the voice of a movie trailer voiceover guy) of multiplexes and mediocre pizza, one Manchester institution is making a stand, and this time - it’s personal. Wait, we mean personable. Yes, personable. From the creators of one of the Coolest Cinemas in the UK comes Cornerhouse’s pizzas. Offering a wide selection of Napoli style stone baked pizzas, as well as a great vantage point over Manchester’s bustling Oxford Road, Cornerhouse takes ‘pizza and a movie’ to dizzy new heights. We decided to go with the more sophisticated gourmet option of tea smoked duck, arriving on a beautiful base with soft centre and crispy edge. The toppings didn’t let us down either, with the buffalo mozzarella, wild mushroom and truffle oil almost creamy in unison, proving perfect foil to the great flavours of the duck breast, our only minor niggle being an occasional dry spot. At the risk of furthering the clichéd film analogies - we’ll certainly be back.
Star rating: ★★★★✰

October 13th


Exeter Street Bakery, London

Address: 1 Argyll Rd, W8 7DB

Pizza of choice: Tomato & salami

Price: £3.60 (per double slice)

Toppings: Salami, mozzarella, tomato

Thoughts: A slice of paradise for bread lovers and Kryptonite for those with yeast intolerance, Exeter Street Bakery is a plush back-street Kensington hotspot specialising in home-made Italian bread, with the best creations used for its small but mighty minimalist range of pizza. Needless to say the base of our chosen pizza was tasty, collapsing with the symmetrical implosion of a wet Ryvita cracker after one particularly large bite; just the right side of chewy and the sort of fresh that makes you want to buy another immediately. Despite the toppings not quite living up to the same heady standard (the tomato could have been slightly richer), it’s a very good pizza. And if Kensington’s a bit of a slog, it’s well worth paying a visit to their newly opened Finsbury park branch, too.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



October 10th

NY Slice

NY Slice, Glasgow

Address: 369 Sauchiehall St, G2 3HU
Pizza of choice: Meat Packer
Toppings: Pepperoni, Roast Ham, Spicy Italian Sausage, Red Onion
Price: £15.50
Thoughts: On Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow's main drag of bars and pubs, NY Slice offers superior fast food for the countless drinkers crossing its threshold. Potato wedges and buffalo chicken wings in a sharp sauce are lip-smackingly good but the pizza is clearly the main draw. You can tell by the sign, for one. For groups or the greedy, you can't argue with the 18" monster of the Meat Packer. With a thin but firm, crispy base, the cheese is a little oily but has a tangily flavourful sauce and generous toppings of piquant Italian sausage, thick and mildly caramelised ham and red onion, as well as sizeable tranches of powerful pepperoni.
Star rating: ★★★✰✰

October 8th


Malletti, London

Address: 176 Clerkenwell Rd, EC1R 5DD

Pizza of choice: Frankfurter & onion

Toppings: Frankfurter, onion and chilli

Price: £3.50 (per double slice)

Thoughts: Drawing the great and the good of Clerkenwell’s creative sector away from their stale Pret sandwiches for some time now, Malletti is a hip gourmet gaffe selling pizza by the double slice. We joined the modishly dressed lunch queue, instantly feeling as if we were auditioning to appear on Grand Designs; although the only designs we had were on some Frankfurter and onion pizza. Its fiery aroma erupted before we’d even finished peeling back the wrapper, stinging the nasal passage as we dug in to discover a sweet tang of onion and gratifyingly hard aftertaste of chilli. For such a wafer-thin crust there’s a real thickset bite to the slice, too - and though we were not overly impressed by the slightly taste-lacking sausage (reminding us of one left out on some breakfast buffet of a three-star hotel) we wolfed it down with joy. If you don’t work in the Bloomsbury area, change jobs immediately, this is your new favourite lunch option.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



October 6th

Oscar & Rosie's Das Kino, Nottingham

Address: 22 Fletcher Gate, NG1 2FZ

Pizza of choice: Meat Sweats

Toppings: Pepperoni, smoked bacon, fennel and black pepper infused pork, mozzarella.

Price: £14.00

Thoughts: Joining the ranks of the hottest bars in the city, the German cinema-inspired Das Kino houses cocktails, hearty pizzas and, for the post-meal workout, a neon lit corner packed with ping-pong tables. You’ll need it too after the stone baked ‘Meat Sweats’ which arrived on the owner’s recommendation. Covered in grandstand meats and meshed together by hand-cut mozzarella, each topping performs its own solo before sinking into the gullet. From the instant spice of the pepperoni to the cleansing aftertaste of the smoked bacon, it’ll satisfy as many hangover cravings as evening dinner gluttony. It might become a little top heavy for some, but if you’re prepared for a weighty meat fiesta and enjoy tussling with composure against delightfully thick mozzarella, you’ll be well catered for here. Don’t skimp out on the extraordinary cajun-spiced potato wedges, either. While they possess the daunting size of a tugboat, they’re twice-cooked to perfection and serve as a pleasing swan song once the sweats take a bow.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



Bite Me, London

October 3rd

Address: 95 Westbourne Grove, W2 4UW

Pizza of choice: La Napoletana

Toppings: Friarelli and mozerella and Napoli sausage

Price: £7.00

Thoughts: 'One TRILLION combinations', read the menu at Bite Me, both ramming home the novelty of being able to choose from up to 30 different toppings, and forcing us to read the line again in our best Dr Evil voice. One man clearly set on world domination is the young Swiss entrepreneur Chris Manessis, whose newly-opened Notting Hill venue already has the air of a successful chain thanks to its mechanical, Pret-like sleekness. Rather than suggesting we build our own, took his Italian chef’s advice and picked a minimalist special: La Napoletana. Rigidly crisp on the outside, the further we got down the slice the wetter it became, mounds and mounds of soft mozzarella becoming near drinkable as it landed on the tongue. This was no accident, the chefs use only the softest mozzarella for this reason, which, mixed with the pungent and richly flavoured Friarielli turnip greens, creates a luscious creamy effect. The meat, on the other hand, proved quite tough, jarring with the gooey cheese and vegetable mix and slightly impairing the overall experience. Still, it's a rocking start. Grab some napkins and get stuck in.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



October 1st

Revolution, Manchester

Address: Arkwright House, Parsonage Gardens, M3 2LF

Pizza of choice: The Bad Boy

Toppings: Chorizo, fennel sausages, spicy pork n’duja, meatballs, BBQ sauce, Roquito peppers, peppers, red onions, mozzarella. Served with a trio of dipping sauces; big easy, blue cheese and suicide.

Price: £12.95

Thoughts: Pizza probably isn’t the first thing that enters your mind when you think of a Revolution bar. The ‘I love vodka’ drinks menu and ‘world of vodka’ wall art suggest it’s more a shot of Russia than a slice of Italy. But don’t let the perception put you off…the revamped food menu hosts a number of stone-baked pizzas to tempt you as much as a few drinks. We went with ‘The Bad Boy’ due to its name alone, and it didn't let us down. Just like a layered shot, the flavours develop over time, from the sweet BBQ sauce, Chirizo and red onion, to the salty meatball, sausage and cheese, through to a nice heat of the spicy pork and peppers. If you wanted to add another layer it also comes with 3 dips for the crust - the best being the Big Easy which reminded us of a burger sauce with added gherkin. In short, it's a good eat, though if you're after added reason to make the trip then this coming Saturday marks the two millionth Vodka bottle being poured in Revolution bars, meaning you'll get a free glass of the good stuff to boot.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



September 29th

Verdi, London

Address: Door 12, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, SW7 2AP

Pizza of choice: Gamberoni

Toppings: King prawns, courgettes, mushrooms, tomato, mozzarella

Price: £12

Thoughts: Right now, the Royal Albert Hall is attracting a younger, trendier and noticeably cummerbund-less crowd than has previously been associated with the iconic dome. There have been concerts by the likes of Foals, special events to rouse the next Zuckerberg (Ted X Talks), and, for another major cool factor, this newly opened restaurant, benefiting from a £1m refurbishment and now arguably the most heavyweight Italian in residence since Pavarotti was turning purple in the face. We found it impossible to look past the Gamberoni in its rich range of stone-baked pizzas. A good job, too - lathered with smokey mushrooms and a thick bed of tomato, unlike most pizzas which dare to add seafood, it excels: the king prawns are regal, packing some excellent texture. Which sadly wasn't quite the case of the middle of the base, which we found it a little dry and too robust if we're nitpicking, but overall we enjoyed it so much we've not ruled out returning for an encore.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



September 26th

CC's Wood Fired Pizza Pie Company, Glasgow

Address: 685 Clarkston Road, Netherlee, G44 3SE

Pizza of choice: Piri Piri Chicken

Toppings: Piri Piri Sauce, Cajun chicken, red onion, mozzarella

Price: £8.75

Thoughts: This hallowed Glaswegian pizza joint is a lot like Nando's. Firstly, you'll walk in, sit down, all nod in agreement and quickly get up again to go and order at the counter; and secondly, it offers piri piri with chicken on its menu. We were sold. A truly fiery pie that'll leave your mouth burning (in a good way), CC's wood-fired oven affords this pizza a light, crispy taste despite not stinting on the toppings. The homemade dough and tomato sauce are low on salt but the latter retains a rich and full flavour, even with the marinated chicken slathered in an especially peppery piri piri. Red onion adds some tangy sweetness while the mozzarella is evenly distributed and creamy. A valiant effort.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



September 24th

The White Hart, London

Address: 367 Norwood Road, SE27 9BQ

Pizza of Choice: Panchetta

Toppings: Diced Pancetta, goats cheese, red onion, mozzarella and parsley

Price: £9.50

Thoughts: You’re probably not expecting to find decent pizza in Tulse Hill, or a decent anything for that matter. That’s because there’s not a lot around the area at the moment. It’s currently a bit of a no-man’s land, with most heading to the yuppified Brixton village or Herne Hill for fashionable gastropubs/street food/pop-ups. Thankfully, in the White Hart we’ve found a solid pizza place. While the menu isn’t exactly extensive (they don’t offer any calzones, which is a star off in our books), there’s enough choice for both meat lovers and veggies. We opted for two pizzas – the panchetta and the funghi. The former came with a smattering of goats cheese, red onion, and mozzarella – the goats cheese perfectly balancing the sharpness of the tomato and red onion. The latter, which came with a sprinkling of truffle oil, was a little greasy but definitely worth it if you like your toppings slightly gooey. Both of which came on a base that was still slightly doughy in the middle but charred around the edges (the only way a pizza base should be). Now go quickly, before you find yourself queuing with the hipsters and kids on scooters.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



September 22nd

Bare Bones Pizza, Birmingham

Address: Streetfood traders [find their next spot here]

Pizza of Choice: Bonfide

Toppings: Pepperoni, n'duja Italian sausage and buffalo mozzarella

Price: £6.00

Thoughts: See that? That's how a pizza should look. Anything rounder just isn't real. We want wonky, handmade irregular pizzas where time goes into flavour and cookery, not mastering a 360 degree base. Hats off to Bare Bones for a crispy, lip-thwacking bite with the perfect level of spice. A good price for a filling, authentic, thin, moreish dish. Perfectly cooked, the cheese had bubbled and married with the meat juices, but been taken out of the woodfired oven before any sign of the cheese browning. We thought it was perhaps a little sparse on n'duja and pepperoni, and the tomato sauce could have been a pinch sweeter, but Bare Bones have only been going for six weeks, so we're splitting hairs here. Give it another six weeks and this could easily be a five-star success. We'll be back for more way before then.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



September 19th

Cafe Football, London

Address: Westfield, Stratford City, E20 1EN

Pizza of choice: El Clasico

Toppings: Chorizo sausage, red onion, peppers, chilli olives, mozzarella

Price: £13.95

Thoughts: We have to admit, we were hoping for a little more football-related merchandise to be dotted around this restaurant - owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs - sadly, an impressive boot selection on entrance was about all we saw, rather than some Fergie hairdryers, framed Giggs chest hair or Villa Park-goal shirts. But, nonetheless, this is a solid sports bar affair and, pleasingly, football punnery is on offer, with the pizza menu offering The Goal and Zola, the Early Kick Off, and El Clasico. Naturally, we went for the feast that was the latter and we weren't disappointed. This pizza was like a 4-4 draw, packed to the gills with 'stuff' - weirdly, it reminded us of a particularly filling Sunday roast dinner. There wasn't much subtlely, but it was hearty and enjoyable. The Frank Lampard of pizzas then.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



September 17th

Gusto Didsbury, Manchester

Address: 756 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury M20 2DW

Pizza of choice: Caprino

Toppings: Goat's cheese, pine nuts, caramelised onions, roasted red peppers, pesto, mozzarella and rocket

Price: £10.25

Thoughts: Should you know your Latin, you’ll know the name Gusto originates from the Latin word for tasting, and should you know this Mancunion haunt, sat amid the hustle and bustle of Manchester’s Didsbury Village, you’ll know it more than lives up to the name hanging above the door. First introductions - large clay oven, open kitchen, friendly staff, solid selection of pizzas for both meat eaters and vegetarians - were strong. We selected the Caprino, which offered a real variety of taste: the sweet caramelised onions, crunchy pine nuts and tangy goat’s cheese combined superbly on top of a base which would have been perfect had it not been slightly too moist in the centre. Try washing it down with a few cold cocktails, like the non-alcoholic (a direct result of too much booze over the summer) Honey Dew, with its heady mix of ginger, lime and fresh mint sure to help make room for dessert. And as far as that's concerned, the espresso-covered affogato is an absolute treat.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



September 15th

Salento Green Life, London

Address: 51 Goodge St, London W1T 1TE

Pizza of Choice: Stracciatella

Toppings: Stracciatella cheese, cherry tomato

Price: £7

Thoughts: There are several overt hints that Goodge Street's Salento Green Life is a haven of all things Italian. First there's the café/deli's website - written exclusively in Italian. Then there's the warm greeting from the staff - in Italian, rapidly switched to English once you mumble an apologetic "Hello". And most importantly, there's the food. On the recommendation of the owner, waiter and couple who were just leaving, we plumbed for the stracciatella pizza - and so should you. The tomato base is an exceptionally rich, flavoursome foundation for the thin-based pizza - made with tomatoes from the south of Italy. A fresh mound of fibrous stracciatella cheese sits atop the pizza; a gorgeous, mouth-watering flavour not unlike mozzarella, with an incredible string-like texture. It's simple, basic, Italian and one of the best pizzas you'll find in the capital for under £10.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



September 12th

Brewdog, Edinburgh

Address: 143 Cowgate, EH1 1JS

Pizza of Choice: Spicy Monster

Toppings: Chorizo, jalapenos, nachos, mozzarella

Price: £9.00

Thoughts: Beer and pizza. Pizza and beer. It just sounds right, doesn’t it? The two go together like, well, two things that go really well together. And it's a pairing that the folks at upstart independent Brewdog have embraced. While beer is undoubtedly king here, they recognise the value in providing a measure of sustenance to soak up the suds, opting to keep it simple, the aim being to do one thing well. And, boy, do they do pizza well. There’s no doubting that the Spicy Monster is a good-looking dish. Handsome even. So irresistible in fact, that upon returning to the table to find that the pizzas had arrived in our absence, we also discovered that a slice had mysteriously disappeared without trace, the only clue to its whereabouts a softly shimmering jalapeno-induced sheen on our co-taster’s otherwise ‘oh-so-innocent’ face. But any indignation at this flagrant breach of etiquette (not to mention a spoiled photo opportunity, sorry) was soon tempered by a sense of understanding, for it tastes as good as it looks. Covered in juicy chorizo, with just enough jalapenos to tickle the tongue without scorching the tastebuds, it also comes with a secret weapon: a scattering of crushed nachos. They come hot from the oven, adding extra texture and wonder to proceedings, a truly inspired addition to a pizza that also boasts a good dose of molten mozzarella and a rich tomato base. The only teeny quibble is that it could have benefited with another 20 seconds in the oven to perfect the crunch of the crust, but that really is nit-picking – this is not far off pizza perfection. It’s also deviously clever, acting as an upmarket equivalent of a bowl of nuts on the bar, forcing the necessity of another draught of brew to deal with the thirst created. At least, that’s our excuse anyway.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



September 10th

Stephen Street Kitchen, London

Address: BFI, 21 Stephen St, W1T 1LN

Pizza of Choice: Spicy Salami

Toppings: Salami, basil, cherry tomato, mozzarella

Price: £11.00

Thoughts: Firstly, we need to clarify that this is not a kitchen run by Blur and Smiths producer Stephen Street, which is slightly disappointing. But it is a lovely restaurant situated within the BFI, gaining you access to its private screening rooms, which more than makes up for it. Cooked in an open kitchen using a wood-fired oven, the Kitchen doesn't serve a big variety of pizzas - essentially a straightforward tomato and mozzarella New York pizza; a pepper, aubergine and courgetta pizza; and the classic spicy salami being the options available. We went with the latter and it was immaculately done, with the salami packing a serious punch, the dough crisp and the whole thing nicely cooked. We wouldn't head here specifically for the pizza, but it's a lovely quiet, relatively hidden space right next to the busiest part of London, so if you're in the area and want a well-earned rest augmented with a quality pizza, then it does the job nicely.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



September 8th

No. 51, Bristol

Address: 51 Stokes Croft, BS1 3QP

Pizza of choice: Stokes Squash

Toppings: Roasted squash, garlic & herb soft roulade, toasted pine nuts

Price: £7.50

Thoughts: There are few better things to load up on before a night out than pizza, and No.51 Stokes Croft, sat on one of Bristol's hippest streets, has quite the selection to get you going. We went al fresco in their sunny courtyard with a local cider (of course) and a 'Stokes Squash'- the menu also includes the puntastic 'Living on the Veg' (topped with a selection of roasted veg) and 'Smokey and the Bandit' (smoked bacon & garlic mushrooms). The base on our pizza was light and crisp, and the tomato sauce was rich and herb-y - all the better to go with the perfectly roasted squash and soft cheese, what there was of them. That was our only gripe - that the toppings could have been a bit more generous, as even the mozzarella on our pizza was a little on the thin side. Even so, it tasted great and you can't argue with the value at £7.50 for a sizeable pizza, or their 2 for £12 deal before 8pm Mon-Thu (or before 4pm Fri-Sat) and all day Sunday is a bargain. In terms of cheap and tasty refueling, or lining your stomach before hitting the bars of Stokes Croft and beyond, you're onto a winner here.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



September 5th

Mayfair Pizza Co., London

Address: 4 Lancashire Court, New Bond St, W1S 1EY

Pizza of choice: Bloody Mary

Toppings: Celery leaf, cherry tomatoes, wild rocket, tomato base made from Belvedere Bloody Mary Vodka, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, Horseradish, celery salt and smoked peppercorns.

Price: £13

Thoughts: Eagle-eyed readers of Shortlist.com should have already picked up on the fact we reviewed the Mayfair Pizza Kitchen back on April 28th, awarding the succulent BBQ pork shoulder a whopping 5 stars (scroll down for that treat). So when we heard the outfit is now also serving up a Bloody Mary pizza, we didn't need to be asked back along twice. Such was the abundance of greenery on top, requiring the machete skills of a Gurkha to hack through those celery leaves and decipher exactly what's going on underneath, our first impression was exasperation. When we eventually reached its base, however, our opinion changed in the course of a mouthful, discovering that tart combo kick of the Belvedere vodka and Worcestershire sauce, rolling our tongue superbly with some fresh tomatoes and sweetly crafted homemade horseradish, all on a base as crisply cooked as we remembered. It took us a few more bites to truly appreciate the Tabasco though, which is arguably the strongest part of the cocktail’s mule-kicking flavour and perhaps slightly lacking here. Nonetheless, it's a brilliant effort and, perhaps the ultimate compliment to its flavoursome quantities, lovers of meat might not even realise it's missing any until they've given the menu some closer inspection. As for veggies, getting to order something bloody should make for a nice change.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



September 3rd

Little Pizza Kitchen, Liverpool

Address: 39-41 S Rd Waterloo, L22 5PE

Pizza of choice: Meat Feast and Smoking Pig (half-and-half)

Toppings: One half salciccia picanta, salami, parma ham, and sliced meatballs; the other 24-hour pulled pork, red onion, corn, pineapple, smoked cheddar and pea shoots

Price: £11.95

Thoughts: On the cusp of Liverpool (Waterloo, to be exact, and never visited by Napoleon to our knowledge) lies Little Pizza Kitchen – a modern eatery from the exterior, with a homely decor and welcoming atmosphere on the inside. Boasting an Italian-American menu, the tender BBQ chicken wings - delicious - are an ideal precursor to their super-thin crust pizzas, which come in various, intriguing combos. For hungry carnivores, the Meat Feast will likely suffice, yet the offer of a half-and-half is also tempting. Combo your salciccia picanta, salami, parma ham, and sliced meatballs with Smoking Pig: a tasty blend of 24-hour pulled pork, red onion, corn, pineapple and smoked cheddar for a lighter, sweeter experience. While we found the aforementioned toppings really worked, and in the case of Smoking Pig, excelled, the crust was slightly too thin and rigid at times, shattering with every bite. Still, the pizza is presented impeccably, and thanks to its truly excellent staff, we can think of few better places to take friends for a casual Saturday night of pizza-eating.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



September 1st

Bianco 43, London

Address: 7 Northumberland Ave, WC2N 5BY

Pizza of Choice: Calzonpizza

Toppings: Ricotta cheese, mushrooms, ham, mozzarella, basil and tomato

Price: £11.50

Thoughts: We don't know the exact origin of this slightly wacko idea but we picture a dark stormy night, a manic pizza chef in a lab coat and lots and lots of cheese. The Calzonpizza is a margherita pizza which has a section devoted to a calzone, in case you're struggling to decide between the two options. It's not an awful idea on paper but in reality, it feels like a bit of an afterthought, as if one part of crust has been stuffed but the rest was forgotten about. There's nothing wrong with the toppings, in fact they were mainly delicious but the concept didn't work for us. Plus, the base of our crust has far too blackened, read burnt, for our liking...

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



August 29th

Rossopomodoro, Birmingham

Address: The Foodhall, Selfridges, Birmingham B5 4BF

Pizza of Choice: Massese

Toppings: Spicy spianata salami, tomato and mozzarella

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: So often on this search for the UK's best pizza we've been forced to say that had we been reviewing on the basis of more than just the pizza (i.e taking into account location, view, staff etc) then a pizzeria may have scored higher, but we are committed to reviewing the pizza and the pizza alone, not the entire restaurant. It's for that reason that Rossopomodoro is, absolutely, a wonderful pizza. Sat in the incredibly busy Selfridges food hall, the location is far from perfect, but the pizza is superb. Made by Neapolitan chefs from Neapolitan ingredients in a traditional wood burning oven, the ingredients are so fresh that you can taste every single one of them, all marrying together brilliantly. We ordered the Massese on the advice if the Sicilian manager - the heat of the sausage is spot on, giving a slight kick, but taking nothing from the mozzarella and tomato sauce. With a slightly charred crust (just how we like it) the base softened perhaps a little too much, making this is a knife and fork - not fingers - pizza.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



August 27th

Bravi Ragazzi, London

Address: 2a Sunnyhill Rd, Streatham, SW16 2UH

Pizza of choice: Maradona

Toppings: Mozzarella, tomato, Italian sausages, sweet peppers, black olives, capers and extra virgin olive oil

Price: £9.95

Thoughts: A revolution is raging in South London. A pizza revolution, to be exact - so put down the pitchfork, disassemble your angry mob and get yourself down to the small and unassuming restaurant currently magnetising hip foodies and homesick Italians in their droves. Bravi Ragazzi, translating to 'good boys' or 'Goodfellas', and ran by a group of good natured young Neapolitans exhibiting more tattoo to skin ratio than a middling Premier League team, is exactly that - in fact the owner, Luca, splits his time between serving up wood oven sourdough treats here and his native Italy where he’s a fairly successful rapper. Keen to crack on, we started with the Saltimbocca flatbread sandwich which we were told would "jump in the mouth". Not far off in truth - we inhaled it. Next to wow us was the Maradona (everything is a love letter to Naples here, with the city's erstwhile footballing hero still held in high regard), our tongue barely getting chance to register the sweetly cooked dough such was its melt-in-the-mouth make-up. The sausage was far juicier than our napkin allowance had planned for, and the sweet peppers complimenting offering some real punchy flavour against the smoked cheese. Be it for us to say the owner should give up the rap game, but if we gave out platinum records for pizza reviews, this would go double. Outstanding.

Star rating: ★★★★★



August 22nd

San Carlo Cicchetti, London

Address: 215 Piccadilly, W1J 9HL

Pizza of choice: Basilicata

Toppings: Spicy sausage, chillis, tomato and buffalo mozzarella

Price: £7.95

Thoughts: We'd never usually send you into the depths of a tourist trap in search of a good meal - but it's worth dodging (ruining) a few family photos to make it through the door of San Carlo Cicchetti. An all-Italian heaven just off the melee that is Piccadilly Circus, this is classy joint (it's got a marble bar, for one) that knows its way around a pizza. The Bascilicata is a take on the classic Italian thin-base - a tablet of not-quite-crispy dough topped with tomato and buffalo mozzarella. Rather than overpowering your tongue, the spicy sausage and chilli are well balanced, giving the pizza a satisfying zing. And it's the perfect size - you won't be rolling down the stairs of the Underground after this one.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



August 20th

DAT Bar, Newcastle

Address: 11 Market St, NE1 6JN

Pizza of choice: Tallulah Mae

Toppings: San Marzano tomatoes, Fior Di Latte mozzarella, Calabrian spicy cured sausage, dried baby plum tomatoes

Price: £7.00

Thoughts: This newcomer to the Newcastle bar scene is not only known for its extensive real ale selection but also its tasty menu, heavily focused on burgers and pizza. No guesses which food we opted for - and the Tallulah Mae, as with all pizzas here, consists of a sourdough base cooked in a wood-stone oven at a minimum of 700f. Service was speedy, and the flavours did not disappoint as the rich meaty flavour was perfectly balanced by the sweetness from those semi dried baby plum tomatoes. Our only real quibble was that the crust was unevenly cooked, only slightly but enough to ensure some bites were crunchier than they should have been. However, at £7.00 for what is a very classy pizza, who are we to complain? One tip worth remembering: don't try to get through all 20 beers on tap - the pizza will end up being a distant blur.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



August 18th

Apres, London

Address: 31 Duke St, W1U 1LG

Pizza of choice: ‘All the trimmings’

Toppings: Jalapenos, mushrooms, black olives and turkey bacon

Price: £9.50 (toppings 50p - £1.50 each)

Thoughts: Nestled between Selfridges and other wallet-emptying outlets, this might not be the first area you associate with a hot slice of the good stuff, but then you might not know it's home to Après. Delectably, the method behind the mozzarella stood out before the pizza even landed on the table, as we were told the tangy sour-dough mix (pineapple is one element used) is left to chill in a fridge for three days, all done to give it a real crunch upon cooking. Add some roasted tomato sauce, fresh vegetables (or turkey bacon if you’re feeling carnivorous), and a 360 degree oven, and finished with a blow torch, believe it or not, and its makers are left with an ultra thin labour of love. Though with all that extra crispiness, we can't deny that it does leave for a rather dry finish, which is aided by salivating vegetables and succulent meat, making this doughy customer one for the books. Try the cocktails, too. Outstanding.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



August 15th

Sela, Leeds

Address: 20 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 6NU

Pizza of Choice: The Sesame

Toppings: Pale Ale ricotta, spinach and stout caramelised onion, beer glazed ham

Price: £8.00

Thoughts: There’s a bit more to this than just the obviously admirable achievement of getting no fewer than three different types of booze onto a pizza. The ale in the ricotta makes it the fluffiest you’re ever likely to taste, the stout adds an extra sweetness to the caramelised onion and the beer glaze to the ham keeps it nice and moist out of the oven. Add a sprinkling of sesame seed to the perfect combination of crisp crust and soft inner and you have a damn fine pizza. That’s not to say that it’s still not worth trying some of the excellent Erdinger on draught to wash it all down with.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



August 13th

Polpo, London

Address: 41 Beak St, W1F 9SB

Pizza of choice: Cured pork shoulder

Toppings: pork, pickled peppers, jalapenos,

Price: £8.00

Thoughts: An unfussy Venetian bàcaro crammed with fussy creative media types, Soho's Polpo is the sort of place where the best plan to attack is to mount up on mini plates and embrace the elbow-to-elbow intimacy. And seeing as we love pizza of all shapes and sizes, we had no problem asking for the pizzettes - specifically the Bianca and the Pork Shoulder, which turned out to be a masterful dish. Okay, so the flakiness of the sauce-less Bianca was more crusty than crunchy, but, boy was the pork shoulder full of juice, its meat mouth-melting. What's more, small and hot-headed thanks to a strong hit of eye-watering jalapeño, it's basically the Joe Pesci of pizza. Furthering this Italian American analogy, the close quarters dining and rustic ambience evoke a certain downtown New York Little Italy vibe which should ensure you visit again. Oh, and the delicious fried stuffed olives? Fuggedaboutit.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



August 11th

Rosso, Manchester

Address: 43 Spring Gardens, M2 2BG

Pizza of choice: Salumario

Toppings: Tomato Sauce, garlic, mixed cured meats, smoked mozzarella

Price: £13.00

Thoughts: Some among you may already know this sleekly upmarket restaurant as belonging to Rio Ferdinand, who as far as we're aware never pulled on an Azzurri jersey. On the basis of the delicious pizzas being whipped up in the kitchen, however, you'll wonder why he never did. There's a truly authentic Italian look, taste and feel to the dishes: we found the smoked mozzarella worked a treat with the tomato sauce, giving the amply-sized base some real finesse, though the real match winner on this beauty was its array of mixed meats, with pepperoni, mortadella and finocchiona delivering hit after hit of fizzing flavor. Perhaps a crust of more substance would have worked better, but, as it was, we found it a very fine effort from Rosso, and one of the best in the city. It's also worth keeping an eye out for the filoncino bread. So good you'll be back for that starter alone.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



August 8th

Yard Sale Pizza, London

Address: 105 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP

Pizza of choice: Slap Ya Mama

Toppings: Slap Ya Mama pulled pork, apple sauce, crackling

Price: £11.00

Thoughts: Brand spanking new hipster joint Yard Sale has the proud title of being the only pizza place to have been opened by Macaulay Culkin's pizza band. Quite the claim to fame. But beyond the gimmick, there's thankfully a lot more to enjoy. Styled like an '80s teen movie location, a varied menu offered up essentially one choice to us: the special, a strange combination of pork, apple sauce and crackling. But rather than just being a novelty, the combination of tender pork, salty crackling and sweet apple on a pizza was an absolute doozy. If they can make apple sauce seem like a dealbreaker of a pizza ingredient then we look forward to what else they have in store.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



August 6th

Peel & Stone, Birmingham

Address: Arch 33, Water Street, Jewellery Quarter, B3 1HL

Pizza of choice: Margherita with anchovies

Toppings: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies

Price: £5.50

Thoughts: New bakery Peel & Stone is the dream team work of The Soul Food Project and pop-up foodie pairing Clarke & Lee. It's taken the city by storm and they'll soon be launching a weekly pizza night. For the time being, however, you need to follow them on Twitter to find out where their wood-fired pizza wagon will be. That's worth doing, because their pizza is exquisite. Those who have read the Birmingham chapter of this pizza search know that we West Midlanders place a lot of stock in tomato sauce, and this one is as fresh and flavoursome as we've ever found. A perfect amount of mozzarella sits atop the crisp exterior and soft interior base, ballooned and charred with aplomb. The saltiness of the anchovies lifting the sweetness of the tomato into a simple but stunning pizza heaven. Great value, too. Incredible.

Star rating: ★★★★★



August 4th

Vapiano, London

Address: 84 Wardour St, W1F 0TQ

Pizza of choice: Diavolo

Toppings: Spicy Italian sausage, peppers, red onions, tomato sauce, mozzarella

Price: £8.95

Thoughts: Vapiano, if you’ve yet to visit one of its branches, has something of the US mall food court about it. You grab a tray and choose between various thronging ‘stations’ serving everything from salad and appetizers to pasta and pizza, all freshly made by chefs before your very eyes. There’s also an Oyster Card-esque payment system wherein you touch a card to a reader on each station you patronise, before picking up the tab at the end. Anyway, that’s the introductions out the way - let’s get down to the pizza. We were pointed in the direction of the ‘Diavolo’, which, we can report, packs considerably less throat-scorching punch than its name and ingredients might suggest. The base was superbly crisp, but the meat not hugely succulent, and the onions and peppers didn’t do a whole lot to boost the overall flavour, either. Diavolo probably won't win any gastronomic awards, but in terms of value for money, it’s a decent, and fairly tasty, bet.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



August 1st

San Carlo’s Flying Pizza, Leeds

Address: 60 Street Lane, Roundhay, LS8 2DQ

Pizza of choice: Pizza Bianca

Toppings: Smoked Scottish salmon, red onion, soured cream and chopped dill

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: Despite the alfresco dining and hub bub of genuine Mediterranean accents, for some reason, call it too much time watching The Commonwealth Games, we thought we'd choose the Scottish salmon. However, this white pizza offered a very rich flavour where the sweet smoked fish and red onion were each finely balanced with the soured cream. Ultimately, the richness was the main shortcoming of this one – believe us, we are as gluttonous at they come, but there’s a limit to how much soured cream and salmon anyone can consume in one sitting. It seems less is more with this one, and it might have just been one topping too much. Otherwise great.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



July 30th

Pizza Union, London

Address: 25 Sandy's Row, E1 7EZ

Pizza of choice: Carne

Toppings: Beef, chicken, pepperoni and onions

Price: £6.50

Thoughts: While we might have dabbled with some of the more 'non-traditional' toppings during our pizza quest, sometimes all you want is a meat pizza topped with meat and some extra meat for extra meatiness. The Carne definitely delivers for its impressive price. Bittersweet then that the price is ultimately the biggest reason to recommend this solid and wallet-friendly effort, perhaps just lacking a punch in flavour but certainly worth checking out. It's not the very finest pizza you'll come across in the capital, but it's a fine effort nonetheless. Also, try the nutella and marscapone dough ring if you're going - it's delicious.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



July 28th

Peter's Yard, Edinburgh

Address: 3 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LU

Pizza of choice: The Special

Toppings: British asparagus, lemon ricotta cheese, lemon zest, garlic oil and chopped parsley

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: From the outside, there's not much to suggest this Swedish artisan bakery-cum-deli also offers a handful of excellent pizza options, apart from the out-the-door queue and steady stream of punters emerging clutching pizza boxes, that is. With space for only a dozen or so inside, takeaway is a good back-up plan, although ideally you'll be able to bag a table and munch through the pizza, which comes served pre-cut, in a basket, along with a complimentary side of a delicious pickled cabbage salad. We digress. Well, where to begin? With the long, steaming hot spears of asparagus, all fresh and field-y? Or the handfuls of creamy lemon ricotta crumbled over its surface? Perhaps the aromatic combination of parsley, lemon zest and garlic oil that tastes like a burst of summer? How about the sourdough base, with its crispy consistency and satisfying chew? They'd probably be good places to start, certainly. The only drawback? By the end it becomes a little dry without any molten mozzarella to help cheese things up and take it to the upper echelons of pizza mastery. Still, not bad Sweden, not bad.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



July 25th

L'antica Pizzeria, London

Address: 66 Heath Street, NW3 1DN

Pizza of choice: Cristoforo Colombo

Toppings: Tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, mussels, clams, prawns, squid, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: A charming location – just a minute’s walk from the tube in North London’s leafy Hampstead - and a cosy venue with a very homely feel, it was immediately clear that this would be an authentic experience. L’Antica boasts a Neopolitan-made wood oven tucked away in the corner which cooked the thick, soft base to perfection. Out of a range of brilliantly-named pizzas (including the Sofia Loren, Galileo Galilei and the Giuseppe Verdi) we were feeling adventurous so, naturally, opted for a Cristoforo Colombo, which boasted the cast of Finding Nemo – presumably picked up on one of Cristoforo’s voyages - for its toppings. There was plenty of nicely-cooked action on top, but not too much; nonetheless, we were stuffed by halfway through. A pleasant, homely experience, real neopolitan pizza and a seriously hearty portion – but you can always walk that off with a stroll around the Heath afterwards.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



July 23rd

Yammo, Bath

Address: 66 Walcot Street, BA1 5BD

Pizza of choice: Friarelli, Salsicce & Provola Affumicata

Toppings: Friarelli, sausage, smoked mozzarella

Price: £12.95

Thoughts: A little bit of Naples in Bath’s trendy artisan quarter of Walcot Street, Yammo is on a mission to bring high quality Italian street food to the people of Bath, without any pretentiousness. The restaurant is chilled and colourful, the back garden has table football and ping pong while the menu has an equally sociable variety of snacking antipasti and sharing plates perfect for splitting with mates. But of course the centrepiece here is the pizza. We opted for one of their traditional bianca pizzas which come without tomato sauce; the smoky and creamy mozzarella worked perfectly with the herby chunks of sausage and soft stems of friarelli (found only in the region of Naples, this looks like broccoli but tastes more like spinach). In the interest of research (not greed, you understand), we also tried one of their pizzas with a tomato base – the Alla Norma, which was generously topped with sweets nuggets of roasted aubergine and creamy local ricotta. The crusts were also well balanced – thick enough to be sturdy and chewy, but not at all heavy; leaving the toppings to do all the talking.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



July 21st

Goat, London

Address: 333 Fulham Road, SW10 9QL

Pizza of choice: 'Nduja

Toppings: Nduja, oregano, mozzarella, tomato

Price: £12.00

Thoughts: Goat is unlike Chicken Cottage for two vital reasons. Firstly, the food, service and general decor of this Chelsea-based restaurant is of a vastly superior quality, to the extent that you'll struggle to bring yourself to leave. Secondly, there's none of their titular animal in the food (though there is a goat's cheese and beetroot salad). While we'd wondered if their 'Nduja pizza might contain a little Billy, we were relieved to discover it's actually a spreadable spicy pork sausage from Italy - which does a wonderful job of lending a meaty kick to this gorgeous pizza. The combination of mozzarella, tomato and meaty juices made for the perfect sloppy pizza experience. Be sure to ask for extra napkins.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



July 18th

A Cappella Café & Pizzeria, Bristol

Address: 184c Wells Road, Bristol, BS4 2AL

Pizza of choice: Allegretto

Toppings: Homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, smoked pancetta, caramelised red onions, Brie, sautéed mushrooms, free-range egg and fresh basil

Price: £11.45

Thoughts: The tiny A Cappella pizzeria achieved the kudos of being Trip Advisor’s best UK independent pizzeria in 2013, so we thought it was worth a dabble. We were far from disappointed. The melt-in-the-mouth bases are extremely light and crisp – perhaps owing to the Naples-sourced flour – and diners can watch the chefs expertly twirling freshly made dough in a way that only they can. The homemade tomato sauce brings some real punchy flavours to the table, sweet caramelised onions cut through the intense savoury taste of the pancetta, while Brie and a free-range egg (with a dippy yolk - Yes!) injected extra zing. Spoiler alert: the owner isn’t Italian (could’ve fooled us) but was trained in Naples, meaning that true authenticity still shines through. While you might be eating on a busy road in Bristol, the taste transports you straight to boot-shaped country.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



July 16th

Sodo Pizza Café, London

Address: 126 Upper Clapton Road, E5 9JY

Pizza of choice: Lorena

Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, butternut squash, rosemary, feta and pine nuts

Price: £8.00

Thoughts: While plenty of our focus in this pizza search thus far has been paid towards the myriad selection of toppings offered up throughout the UK, here’s an East London pizzeria which pays close attention to one part of the pizza in particular and, yes, you can probably guess which part that is. A refreshingly small menu gave us a number of appealing options but we picked the a meat-free option for a change to our normally carnivorous ways. The unusual combination of butternut squash, feta, pine nuts and rosemary was notable in its own right but as predicted, the dough was a major selling point. Substantial without being overly heavy, it made for crusts that demanded not to be left on the plate. But the real surprise was the sauce which was arguably the standout. Our mouth still waters at this very thought. An excellent pizza from the dough upwards.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



July 14th

Ecco Pizza, Leeds

Address: 93 Otley Road, LS6 3PS

Pizza of choice: Marrakech

Toppings: Moroccan spiced lamb, red onions, aubergine, peppers, olives on San Marzano tomato and feta base, fresh parsley, mint, pomegranate seeds

Price: £8.45

Thoughts: Ecco’s speciality is serving mixed-topping ½ metre sharing pizzas. That’s a great idea but if you come from a big family you don’t leave things to chance – you get your own 12” pizza. Besides, there’s no way you'd want to share any of this beauty. A genuine Neapolitan base from hand thrown dough and perfectly charred in the wood burning oven (which incidentally bears an uncanny resemblance to Yoda’s home from The Empire Strikes Back), the modern twist comes courtesy of the sweet and crunchy pomegranate and fresh herbs, expertly accompanying the subtly spiced and slow-cooked lamb. The force is strong with this one.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



July 11th

GB Pizza Co., London

Address: 50 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE

Pizza of choice: The Special

Toppings: Truffle, wild mushroom salami

Price: £8.00

Thoughts: After trying our fair share of pizzas that boast a range of authentic imported ingredients from Italy, it's quite refreshing to try one that aims to do the exact opposite. A simple yet charming pizzeria on Exmouth Market, the GB Pizza Co. also offer simple yet charming pizzas, utilising the finest homegrown ingredients available. Our pizza was thin and crispy, arguably a little bit too crispy, with the crust crumbling in our hands as we tried to eat. The truffle was plentiful and the wild mushroom salami made for a slight change but, dang it, the brittle crust held it back from being something that bit better.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



July 9th

Dogs N Dough, Manchester

Address: Bow Lane (Cross St), M2 4JW

Pizza of choice: Triple Threat Pizza

Toppings: Tomato base, cheese, mini burgers, bacon, fries

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: Perched down a small alley, this underground establishment might as well be owned by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles such is its off-piste placement and unorthodox US-styled pizza on offer. One such number is the Triple Threat, loaded with bacon, cheeseburgers and fries - seriously, we wouldn't have batted an eyelid had the bacon been cut into stars and the fries arranged into stripes. And it's exactly as you would expect from something so heavy in US inspiration, with the base crunchy and toppings royally filling - albeit perhaps a little too salty, but then this may be exactly what you're after. As for us, we went hard, went home satisfied and fell into a food coma. But we'll be back.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



July 7th

Earlham Street Clubhouse, London

Address: 35 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LD

Pizza of choice: Super Mario

Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, spicy homemade meatballs and pecorino cheese

Price: £10 12-inch/£18 20-inch

Thoughts: Sensibly, there wasn’t a mushroom in sight as the Super Mario landed on our table, drawing us in with a heady aroma of sizzling meat melted onto a slender, cheesy base - just one of many meta-named pizzas you can order ironically but eat utterly seriously inside Earlham Street Clubhouse, a preppy pizzeria and cocktail bar in the up and coming Seven Dials area on the edge of Covent Garden. Ours being hotter than a power-up fireball, we had to leave it for a minute before tucking in and discovering the smooth pecorino cheese a perfect match for the tangy, moistly succulent homemade meatballs, each one better than the last as we dug into the wholesome base. And while the tomato did lack a certain punch, perhaps overawed by the cheese, it didn't deter from what was an otherwise tremendous pizza, best washed down with a cocktail called Show Me The Money - a dangerous blend of five white spirits, mountain dew, lemon and sour apple liquor. But just one, mind - too many of these and it'll be Game Over in no time.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



July 4th

Portofino, Birmingham

Address: 21 Frederick St, Jewellery Quarter, B1 3HE

Pizza of choice: Marco's

Toppings: Beef, chillies, onion, peppers and cheese

Price: £9.30

Thoughts: Immaculate interiors, good staff, cool location. Alas, those three things all fall way below "taste" on your pizza checklist, right? Ours too. This pizza was sad-making. The crust was wonderfully crisp to the bite and soft to the chew (as it should be) but the toppings were utterly forgettable. The tomato sauce (for our money the lynchpin to any good pizza) went missing like Wayne Rooney at the 2014 World Cup, while the chillies, if there were any on there at all, were weaker than a Roy Hodgson pep talk. Best not to dwell. Onwards!

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰



July 2nd

Harrods Pizzeria, London

Address: Second floor, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, SW1X 7XL

Pizza of choice: Poached salmon (special)

Toppings: Poached salmon, dill crème fraiche, chives

Price: £17.95

Thoughts: Adept at holding court as naturally he can a base of dough, Giuseppe Silvestri, former chef to Princess Diana and affable master pizza maker who’s been drawing the great and the good to this Harrods hotspot for some time now, believes that good flour is sacrosanct. He told us this himself, as only a Neapolitan could (hand gestures aplenty), explaining how he uses only a small amount of yeast but high humidity to allow his wares to rise well in the wood-fired ovens. Seconds after our palate hit the high rim of the crust, its blistering softness at once apparent, its sweet texture not long after, we knew he was onto something, while the lip-glistening poached salmon (a dish which almost dissolved on the tongue) only served to bolster our opinion. Sure, the prices might be as steep as the postcode suggests, and additional toppings superfluous (an extra £22 for some Canadian lobster, anyone?), yet by your last bite you’ll be wondering why you’d never ventured here earlier.

Star rating: ★★★★★



June 30th

Maguire's, Liverpool

Address: 77 Renshaw Street, L1 2SJ

Pizza of choice: Hey Pesto

Toppings: Bacon, chicken, mushrooms, spinach and pesto

Price: £2.10 (per slice)

Thoughts: On the off chance you’re into heavy metal, being draped in leather and partying with a few drinks, this is your place. With unusual cocktails on offer along with some tasty side dishes, it's unfortunate to say that pizza, which it champions, was a bit of a let down at this rocky bar. Scanning the wide range of vegan options, we almost went with one until our inner meat lover won out and we asked for the Hey Pesto, which seemed a beast on paper. Disappointingly, it came with a lack of meat, the bacon was tasteless and the tiny slices of chicken were hardly identifiable under thick slabs of pesto. A good fall in after a few beers, perhaps, but nothing special while sober.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰



June 27th

Foxcroft & Ginger, London

Address: 3 Berwick St, Soho, W1F 0DR

Pizza of choice: Slow Cooked Pork

Toppings: Pork, jalapeno, mozzarella, smokey tomato sauce

Price: £7.50

Thoughts: Something a bit different here for a pleasingly low price. The pizzas at café Foxcroft & Ginger (there's another one in Whitechapel) aim to bring something more to the table than just mozzarella and tomato sauce - and while this one might contain those ingredients, there's a twist. The tomato sauce is smokey, making it taste like a less sweet barbecue sauce while the tender slow cooked pork and hot jalapeno peppers help to give it an interesting Mexican taste. Those with delicate tastebuds, ensure there's water at hand.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



June 25th

Firebird, Glasgow

Address: 1321 Argyle St, G3 8TL

Pizza of choice: Blue Cheese

Toppings: Blue cheese, spinach, pear and walnut

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: A relaxed, West End eatery with large windows and stripped stone walls, Firebird's pizza arrives lightly charred from its wood-fired oven, with a colourful blend of sweet and tart flavours instantly catching the eye. On a thin, crispy, white sour dough base, met by tangy tomato and mozzarella, the rare presence of the yellow pear, fresh and juicy as opposed to Caramelised, is supplemented by creamy, classy blue cheese, making for a filling pie even without any meat. Liberally sprinkled walnuts add occasional crunch. No bad thing as it turns out.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



June 23rd

The Honest Italian, London

Address: 13 Balham Station Rd, SW12 9AZ

Pizza of Choice: Zucca gialla

Toppings: Roasted butternut squash, fior di latte mozzerella, chilli and red onion

Price: £10.30

Thoughts: Whether The Honest Italian's minimalist logo (a single slice slightly loose from a circle) was purposely designed to resemble Pac-Man as well as pizza is unclear. Our lovely waiter was nonplussed. The only surefire thing we knew, seconds after coming into nasal contact with the aromas emitted from the nearby wood-fire oven, was that we had an appetite worthy of the famous ghost-guzzler himself. Liking the sound of a roasted butternut squash base, we opted for the Zucca gialla, subtle on flavour but given the right amount of kick by some shrewdly sprinkled chilli. The red onion was almost toffee-like to the taste, while butternut squash gave a good amount of sweet. Our only squabble is that it lurched on the wrong side of crispy - folding a slice required much more effort than it should have done - which we'll put down to an honest mistake.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



June 20th

Croma, Manchester

Address: 1-3 Clarence Street, Albert Square, M2 4DE

Pizza of choice: Chilli Salsiccia

Toppings: Tuscan Sausage, red onion, roasted red and yellow peppers, mozzarella, chilli jam

Price: £7.95

Thoughts: Those who ensure a glass of water is on hand before attempting anything with the word ‘chilli’ in it will be left pleasantly surprised. Although there was a slight kick through the extra black pepper we added, the jam-based sauce was perfectly balanced with some caramelised onions and roasted peppers, all making for a tangy twist. The Tuscan sausage was the true standout feature, despite the fact there could have been slightly more of it. But maybe that’s just greediness on our part - and the creamy mozzarella topping was superb. There was an element of smokiness to the base, char on the crust and a great sauce to cheese ratio. Definitely worth delving right into the heart of Manchester for.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



June 18th

Addomme, London

Address: 17-21 Sternhold Ave, Streatham Hill, SW2 4PA

Pizza of choice: Prosciutto & Funghi

Toppings: Mozzarella, tomato, Italian ham, mushrooms, parmesan, basil and olive oil

Price: £8.50

Thoughts: Step into Addomme, with its exposed brick walls and ridiculously pleasant staff, and you might think you're actually in trendy Williamsburg. But wait! Calm down. You're just in Streatham, a little down the road from Brixton. Remember? You got the 159 bus. South West London's gradual metamorphosis into an exciting, vibrant hub for excessive quantities of food and alcohol wouldn't be complete without this small, cheery Italian. We opted for the classic pairing of prosciutto and mushrooms, a decent mix of saltiness and chewiness, with oozing puddles of mozzarella and sharp notes of basil dotted throughout. The tomato base was sharp, sweet and full of flavour (it also could've done with more sauce). Not the most adventurous topping, sure, but when you get the classics this right, why would you want anything else? A solid effort. In the name of investigative journalism, we also tried the dessert pizza; fried dough smothered in Nutella and dusted with sugar. So good we're still full, actually.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



June 16th

The Victoria, Birmingham

Address: 48 John Bright St, B1 1BN

Pizza of choice: Audrey Hepburn

Toppings: Garlic butter, goats' cheese, onion marmalade, rocket

Price: £8.50

Thoughts: Staff admitted there's no woodfire oven in the kitchen, which worried us, but it needn't have. Perfectly crisp on the exterior and base, but still soft slap bang in the middle of the dough, the garlicky zing is what really makes this pizza superb. Another misplaced fear was of the goats' cheese, which can often overpower, and did nothing of the sort here, working wonders with the rocket and onion marmalade. Is this the best pub pizza in Birmingham? Quite possibly. Try their chocolate brownie and espresso martini, also, if you're so bold.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



June 13th

Sandy's, London

Address: 14 Seymour Place, Portman Village, W1H 7NF

Pizza of choice: Sampieru Corsu

Toppings: Crème fraiche, gruyere, sausage, porcini mushrooms, oregano, truffle oil

Price: £13.50

Thoughts: “There’s no tomato on it”, said the waitress. “Instead of tomato, we use crème fraiche.” We’ll be honest, we were worried. Thankfully, though, our worries were allayed within milliseconds of the first mouthful; this Corsican speciality – named after one of the island’s most famous soldiers – is a highly unorthodox beauty. The tang of the crème fraiche worked perfectly with the rich, heady scent of the truffle oil, and the Corsican sausage was cooked to perfection and bursting with flavour. Just like Sandy’s itself - a Corsican pizza place amidst Edgware Road’s shisha bars and Middle Eastern takeaways - the Sampieru Corsu shouldn’t work, but it very much does.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



June 11th

Slice, Manchester

Address: 1a Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter, M1 1DN.

Pizza of choice: Prosciutto, fig and Gorgonzola

Toppings: As above

Price: £2.95 (per large slice)

Thoughts: The Italians have treated us to many great exports down the centuries: straight roads, baths, Gianfranco Zola, and of course pizza. But when it comes to pizza, one element we seem to have neglected from its creators is ‘pizza al taglio’ or pizza by the cut. Which is exactly what the guys at Slice in Manchester are doing, and boy are they passionate about it, even going to the length of going to Rome to learn their craft. Set in the heart of the city’s trendy Northern Quarter this continental café style pizza bar serves up a mix of traditional flavours with bolder options and because it’s by the slice you don’t have to just choose one! We went with a range of options and all were superb, we especially enjoyed the prosciutto, fig and gorgonzola, which perfectly combined sweet and salty flavours on a delicious base going from a soft, melt in the mouth centre to a crispy crust. But don't stop there - it's also worth exploring the banana and nutella sweet calzone dessert.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



June 9th

Cucina Asellina, London

Address: Me Hotel, 336-337 The Strand, WC2R 1HA

Pizza of choice: Spianata piccante

Toppings: Spianata piccante, onion, smoked scamorza, basil

Price: £15.00

Thoughts: When your waiter makes a point to warn you that the pizza you've ordered errs on the spicier side, if you're anything like us, you'll smile politely and assume he's perhaps being a tad overdramatic. But on this occasion, he was right to tip us off. Not that it was a bad thing; in fact, the kick that came with the spianata piccante, a hot salami, is what really made the pizza a standout, and when combined with the smoked flavour of the cheese and the sweet caramelised onions, the taste was as moreish as it gets.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



June 6th

Del Villaggio, Birmingham

Address: 175 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DT

Pizza of choice: Fiorentina

Toppings: Garlic base, mozzarella, spinach, parmesan, egg

Price: £10.50

Thoughts: This was a strong pizza and we would return, just a slight shame it's situated on the ailing Broad Street area of Brum. If you do find yourself there though, after a movie at the neighbouring Cineworld, perhaps, it's a good option. A crisp, garlicky base, perfect volumes of cheese and egg with light spinach. White pizzas tend to be crying out for tomato sauce but this one didn't miss it at all. There was a smokiness to it, a nice degree of char to the crust and a perfectly plentiful serving. No qualms from us.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



June 4th

Ping, London

Address: 180-184 Earl’s Court Road, Kensington, SW5 9QG

Pizza of choice: Sao Paulo

Toppings: Pulled chicken, crispy pancetta, taleggio cheese, san marzano tomatoes and mozzarella

Price: £11.00

Thoughts: Ping is one of the few venues you'll attend to provoke a sense of disappointment when your food arrives. That's not a statement about the quality of the dish - it's because you'll likely have to abandon your table tennis game at a crucial match point. Mercifully, the Sao Paulo is worth that break in play. The sour dough base is excellent: a perfect thickness to soak up the pleasant spill of the oven-cooked tomatoes and mozzarella. While the pulled chicken and crispy pancetta pork work well together, much like our serve, they lack any real punch. Be warned - you won't be as nimble around the tables after finishing one of these off.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



June 2nd

The Old Ball, Leeds

Address: Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth, LS18 5SB

Pizza of choice: Spanish Chorizo and Prosciutto Crudo

Toppings: Cherry tomatoes, red chilli & rosemary

Price: £8.95

Thoughts: Sat in what otherwise is a pretty normal looking pub, itself sat in a pretty normal suburb of Leeds, lurks a metal beast of a pizza oven which spawns delectable and unusual dishes. The ‘pizzaluna’ dough, freshly made on the premises, is a talking point in itself – unusually light and slightly cheesey, giving it a consistency more akin to a scone base than a standard pizza. The salty meats and sweet cherry tomatoes combine nicely but it’s the subtle rosemary flavour which gives this pizza another unusual twist. Take note: the toppings are perfectly balanced with exactly the correct amount of red chilli present when the pizza arrives, so adding extra chilli oil, as we fatefully did, isn't the best course of action.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



May 30th

Whole Foods Market, London

Address: 20 Glasshouse Street, W1B 5AR

Pizza of choice: Pink vodka

Toppings: Butternut squash, pink vodka sauce, mozzarella, green pesto and broccoli.

Price: £3 per slice

Thoughts: Those fearing returning to the office sozzled after a slice will be relieved to hear the pink vodka sauce is a creamy tomato sauce with just a little infusion of vodka. It’s sharp and similar to Marie Rose sauce, but also distinctively different, and we applaud the innovation. The dough is hand-tossed in store in front of you to give the pizza a thinner, crispier American-style base – a delight – and there’s fresh, hand-torn mozzarella. It’s a shame the toppings weren’t as exciting as the sauce and its base, but worth a try, for sure.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



May 28th

The Plough, Birmingham

Address: 21 High St, Harborne, B17 9NT

Pizza of choice: Chorizo, roasted peppers, cajun chicken, caramelised red onion and black olives

Toppings: As above

Price: £13.25

Thoughts: They use a stone-baked oven to make their pizzas and we can't help but wonder if they are a wood-fired oven off cooking one of the best pizzas in Birmingham. Apparently they're thinking about buying one. It's superb, even without. At £13.25 it may seem pricey but it's easily big enough for two diners and despite ordering the pizza with the most toppings, none of them seemed out of place. Flavoursome, fresh, utterly moreish, the ratio of sauce to cheese was perfect. Time your visit for when the weather's nice because their beer garden is simply stunning. Oh, and they sell Pips Hot Sauce - the best chilli sauce in Birmingham. Heat-heads should try it on everything - but mainly pizza.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



May 23rd

Fire & Stone, London

Address: 31-32 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7JS

Pizza Of choice: London

Toppings: Cumberland sausage, streaky bacon, chunks of roast potato with roasted cherry tomatoes and roasted field mushrooms

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: As any budding sleuth may have already deduced from the clues above, the pizza we ordered in this sleekly informal setting (futuristic looking couches strewn across the sides of this roomy venue give it the look of a 22nd century sixth form) takes on a British institution every bit as iconic as old Sherlock himself. London, just one of a smattering of global city-themed doughy creations, you see, is essentially an English fry-up in pizza form. And while we're sure pizza minimalists may label it high treason, it's rather good: the roast cherry tomatoes are so loaded with juice they're like tangy miniature grenades going off in your mouth, the rich and chewy sausage truly is some cumbersome Cumberland, the bacon wasn't overly salty and the potatoes were, well, very pleasant. The only real drawback is that it all felt slightly overpowering - there was just a little too much going on atop the gently singed base. Still, a dish of patriotic proportions such as this is well worth seeking out.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



May 21st

The Stable, Bristol

Address: Canon’s Road, Harbourside, BS1 5SU

Pizza of choice: The Lamb Roast

Toppings: Marinated local lamb, mint, Ford Farm goats’ milk cheddar, thyme-roasted sweet potato, roast onions, tomato and mozzarella.

Price: £10.50

Thoughts: West Country-based mini chain The Stable serves only pizzas, pies and cider (what more could you want?). Above all, however, it has swiftly garnered quite the rep for its award-winning pizzas which feature fresh, local, responsibly sourced ingredients – and rightly so. Bubbly sourdough bases and tomato sauce are freshly made on site; this results in a deliciously crisp crust that works with the innovative creations rather than overwhelming them. No doughy stodge here. Of all the slobber-inducing, totally unique toppings, the standout was The Lamb Roast. “Lamb on a pizza? Heathens!” These were our first thoughts, too, but let us assure you, the bleaty meat is lovingly marinated so there are no greasy kebab moments, while sweet potato, mint, goats’ milk cheddar and roasted onions work hard to complete the mind-melting flavour. A masterpiece, which also goes down a treat with some Bee Sting cider, which, at 7.5%, has quite the sting.

Star rating: ★★★★★



May 19th

Santa Maria, London

Address: 15 St. Mary’s Road, Ealing, W5 5RA

Pizza of choice: Santa Rosa

Toppings: Tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, Neapolitan salame, fried aubergines, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, fresh basil

Price: £9.95

Thoughts: The closest you'll get to fiery Naples taste without grabbing your passport, this intimate pizzeria at the end of London’s Central Line remains a mecca for Italian authenticity. With all ingredients flown in from Italy, quality is never compromised here. Eager to sample such hype, we opted for the Santa Rosa. Not necessarily the most extravagant on their reasonably priced menu, less was definitely more with this pizza. Set on a stage of springy, thin dough, the humble marrying of flavorsome smoked mozzarella and melted parmesan with fresh tomato juices and oils, proved a master class in true pizza craftsmanship. This steadfast quality control has even led owner Pasquale to reject a million pound offer to expand, ensuring the establishment remains a beacon for those after the real deal. That is if you can get a seat, of course.

Star rating: ★★★★★



May 16th

Mo-Dough, Birmingham

Address: 145-147 Alcester Road, B13 8JP

Pizza of choice: Peaky Blinder

Toppings: Homemade tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, tandoori chicken breast, scotch bonnet chillies, caramelised onion.

Price: £9

Thoughts: Moseley Village has long been crying out for a decent pizzeria and the recently opened Mo-Dough (owned by the people behind The Prince Of Wales) massively fits the bill. The Peaky Blinder, named after the Birmingham-based, BBC Gangster hit, wouldn't normally be our first choice, but we had heard great things. Featuring tandoori chicken, the fear was that it's trying to be both a pizza and a tandoori dish, and the two would compete. Not a bit of it. It's a delicious marriage of flavours, well thought out and well executed. You can even watch your pizza get cooked in the giant wood-fired oven. Their cheesy garlic bread is ace and the hummus is the best we've ever eaten. Go visit.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



May 14th

Il Baretto, London

Address: 43 Blandford St, W1U 7HF

Pizza of choice: Panpizza

Toppings: Parma ham, burrata, rocket & cherry tomatoes

Price: £17

Not wanting a list of 150 margheritas, we're keen to include the full spectrum of pizzas available across the country. So while visiting this upscale Marylebone Italian, we eschewed the more traditional options and went for the 'Panpizza''. Yes, we had to ask what it meant as well. It's actually a thick base that's then been sliced in half and filled with toppings. On paper, it sounds intriguing but sadly, the gamble didn't quite pay off. The ingredients were tasty but there was no sauce and given the crisp, somewhat tasteless dough on top and bottom, it wasn't an easy eat.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰



May 12th

Salvo's, Leeds

Address: 115 & 107 Otley Road, Headingley, LS6 3PX

Pizza of choice: Focacce Farcite Prosciutto Crudo

Toppings: Cured ham, buffalo mozzarella, rocket and olives

Price: £10.75

Thoughts: It’s unusual to get a type of pizza you’ve never tried before – we’ve all done the rounds of stuffed crusts, folded calzones and deep pan. However, this variant is pretty unique: a sauceless white pizza where the base is first baked in olive oil then the toppings added afterwards. The result is wonderfully fresh, a bit like an open sandwich, and in this case, graced with some of the finest mozzarella and ham we've ever tasted. The negatives? Well you’d better go armed with strong wrists and a sharp knife as the pre-baking makes the base hellishly difficult to cut – definitely not first date material. (Though in fairness the service was so good the staff would probably cut it up for you should you be inclined to ask), while the quantity and bitterness of the olives overpowered everything until we rightly quarantined them to the side plate while finishing the remaining pizza.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



May 9th

Bounce, London

Address: 21 High Holborn, EC1N 2TD

Pizza of choice: Spicy pork and fennel

Toppings: Plum tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, fresh chilli

Price: £13.50

Thoughts: Disbelieve your eyeballs for a second: the pizza you see above is not radioactive, nor has it been given luminous like qualities via Instagram. We snapped it au naturel during a sit down in Bounce, an establishment which specialises in table tennis, and, as we soon discovered after ordering one, radiant pizzas. In fact, the only thing brighter than this concoction has to be the genius who first whipped it up, meshing drool-inducing tomatoes with the freshest of chill and basil to make your five-a-day seem like a blessing. More than that, the fennel provided a welcome aniseed taste against the chilli and sharply spiced pork, the base was chewy without outstaying its welcome, it was all on the right side of oily and slighted only by underwhelming mozzarella – simply put, it got a lot right.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



May 7th

Cal's Own, Newcastle

Address: 207 Chillingham Rd, NE6 5LJ

Pizza of choice: Cheese pie with hot Italian sausage

Toppings: Pepperoni, nduja, chorizo, grana padano, basil, mozarella

Price: £10

Thoughts: From the moment you walk into this wryly-titled Newcastle haunt you could quite easily believe you were in Brooklyn or Naples, such is the authenticity of the place. Cal, the owner and chef, is very much a real person (though we wouldn't blame him for lying to get that glorious pun above the door) and with his dough proofed for 3-4 days and variety of toppings sourced from far and wide, it's clear he's passionate about these 'pizza pies'. Ours combined a hint of spice with meaty flavour on some feather-light dough, leaving a delicious taste on the tongue and no bloatedness in the belly, handily leaving us room for desert. We picked the lip-smacking home made mud pie, but, well, that's another review altogether...

Star rating: ★★★★✰



May 2nd

Lardo, London

Address: 205 Richmond Rd, London E8 3NJ

Pizza of choice: Lardo

Toppings: Lardo, Spinach, Egg

Price: £11

Thoughts: The hipster surroundings at Lardo tipped us off that we wouldn't be getting a plain pepperoni pizza for dinner. Okay so there's a black anise pepperoni one on the menu but you catch our drift. We decided to go with the one which actually contained Lardo, which we discovered isn't the Italian for larder. Rather, it's a unique type of salami made from curing fatback (that's the fat from the back of a pig...). It's not like any salami we've had before and together with spinach and egg, it made for a nice change. Perhaps not quite distinctive or flavoursome to truly haunt (as a good pizza really should) but a curio for sure.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



April 30th

Republic Bier Halle, Glasgow

Address: 7-9 Gordon St, G1 3PL

Pizza of choice: Quattro Stagioni

Toppings: Chorizo and onion, rocket and Parma ham, chicken and wild mushroom, artichoke and red pepper

Price: £13.95

Thoughts: A meaty take on Italy's most popular pizza, this stonebaked four seasons benefits from a sweetly tangy tomato sauce and a salty, none-too-thin-sliced Parma ham, complementing a soft, nutty-tasting artichoke that leaves one desirous of one of the many world beers available at Republic Bier Halle. Lightly seasoned tranches of chorizo, neither crumbly or fatty but still tasty, sit alongside juicy, flavourful wild mushrooms and fleshy, torn chicken, all atop satisfyingly stretchy cheese. With a thin, crispy base that's soft and doughy at the outer edges, it's a little pricey but reflects the fact that every pizza menu is available on a two-for-one offer.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



April 28th

Mayfair Pizza Co., London

Address: 4, Lancashire Court, New Bond St, W1S 1EY

Pizza of choice: Pulled Pork Shoulder

Toppings: Pork shoulder, onions, crackling, barbecue sauce

Price: £13

Thoughts: Blink and you’ll miss it. Keep your eyes peeled and, well, you'll probably miss it anyway. So is this plush Mayfair pizzeria firmly tucked down a windy lane just off Old Bond Street and up a flight of stairs worth the faffing about on Google Maps? You bet. It takes two days for chef Michael Lecounteur to cook his pork, brasserie style, in a water bath with apples; and after bruising our appetites with a sterling crab and mac starter, we found out why his method yields results. A pizza of pupil-dilating proportions thanks to a barrage of onions meshed sweetly with a rich barbecue sauce on a freshly-soft-in-the-middle base, the Pork Shoulder contains some show-stopping meat, every single piece dripping in flavour as our tongue tried to decipher crackling (a nice touch) from less crunchy substances. More like this and we won’t need Google Maps, we’ll be following the queues.

Star rating: ★★★★★



April 25th

Pasta Di Piazza, Birmingham

Address: 11 Brook Street, St. Paul's Square, B3 1SA

Pizza of choice: Vesuvio

Toppings: Tomato, Italian sausage, meatballs, mushrooms, chilli, olives and mozzarella. Lots and lots of mozzarella.

Price: £9.45

Thoughts: Any review where you have feel the need to mention the positives first, hasn't gone brilliantly. The place is immaculate and the service was nice. Now, we may have caught them on a bad day (midday on a Monday) and we hear the food is usually very good, but we cannot vouch for that opinion. Look how much mozzarella is on this pizza. Honestly, at points the cheese was almost a centimetre deep. It was like a plush version of a bad takeaway pizza. Giant hunks of mushroom, colossal meatballs (which actually tasted good) and rubbery hunks of sausage fought in vain to try and stem the endless flow of cheese. Pick a slice up with one hand and everything, bar the cheese, would flop clumsily back onto your plate. Thick crust at the rim contradicted floppy, crisp-less dough in the middle. It was like a GCSE project pizza. No smokiness, no char. It was filling, with tasty elements, but altogether disappointing.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰



April 23rd

Pizza Pilgrims, London

Address: 11 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3RP

Pizza of choice: Margherita with Nduja

Toppings: Nduja (a spicy, Calabrian pork sausage), fior di latte (cow's milk) mozzarella

Price: £9

The pilgrims started life by operating a mobile pizza van (our favourite type of van) out of Berwick Street Market before graduating to open a restaurant in the heart of Soho in 2013. The venue gives a welcoming, homely feel, with its roots very much in the Neopolitan style – chequered kitchen-style tablecloths aplenty give this a nice Italian touch. The sausage topping, with simple sauce, is simple and neat, complimenting the cow's milk mozzarella superbly, but it’s the bread which is the real matchwinner here: it's delicious; the perfect thickness and not a hint of grease. Frankly, with a base that good, you could have any pizza and you’d walk away happy. Add in the extremely reasonable price for the location and this gets our napkin-stained seal of approval.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



April 16th

Pizzaface, Brighton

Address: 35 St Georges Rd, BN2 1ED

Pizza of choice: Cuca

Toppings: Mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, shitake and oyster mushrooms, caramelised onion, rosemary and finished with Napoli salami

Price: £10

Thoughts: Is over an hour too long to wait for a pizza delivery? Of course it flipping well is. We'd been forced to eat half a tub of coleslaw and an out-of-date mince pie by the time our Cuca had arrived. That aside, it wasn't a bad effort. The base was thin with a decent crunch to the crust and the salami had a good porky kick to it. But we couldn't detect any smokiness from the mozzarella and there was too much cheese overall. Less is more when it comes to pizza toppings - it's science.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



April 14th

Hunter 486, London

Address: 50 Great Cumberland Place, London W1H 7FD

Pizza of choice: Sicilian Hunter

Toppings: Field Mushroom, cured Italian meats, rocket and shaved Gran Padano cheese

Price: £15.50

Now we wouldn't mention this, or even be aware of it otherwise, but the press release for this hotel-based restaurant specifies that it's opposite Madonna's house. Looking back, one of the main reasons for this might be that the pizza itself needs a bit of oomph to make it stand out from the rest. Sure, there's some fine cured meats on the top but aside from that, there's not a lot else to elevate this from simply being a pleasant meal, which given the high price, isn't quite enough...

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰



April 11th

Tribeca, Liverpool

Address: 15 Berry Street, Liverpool, L1 9DF

Pizza of choice: Hogg Roast

Toppings: Slow roasted shoulder of pork, stilton, watercress & Bramley applesauce, finished with pork crackling

Price: £7.95

Thoughts: Home to chefs trained in the heart of that country shaped a bit like a Prada boot, and one of the most popular eateries in Liverpool full stop, this pizzeria offers a unique menu sure to sate everyone’s taste. On our visit the staff recommended the Hogg Roast; a festivity of flavours, apparently - and how right they were. The slow roasted pork (cooked to perfection) was teamed terrifically with Stilton and a rich applesauce, making for a world class infusion of strong yet sweet flavours on its moreish thin base. Even if you don’t live in Liverpool, this beautiful creation is worth the trip to Merseyside alone.

Star rating: ★★★★★



April 9th

Soho Joe's, London

Address: 22-25 Dean Street, W1D 3RY

Pizza of choice: Capricciosa

Toppings: Joe's home roasted ham, mushrooms, tomato sauce and mozzarella

Price: £10

Thoughts: We'd prepared our wallet for merciless hammering upon entering Soho Joe's - no one gets a cheap nibble in the West End. The tut died on our lips the minute we saw the menu: £10 for 12 inches (behave). We plumbed for the Capricciosa (Italian for capricious, but you totally knew that), sold by the notion of whimsical British ham roasted in Joe's glowing ovens. The mushrooms were fibrous while the meat was pleasantly smoky - it's an uncomplicated, fresh affair. You'll struggle to find a better priced pizza in theatre land.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰



April 7th

DoughBoys, Leeds

Address: Belgrave Music Hall, 1-1a Cross Belgrave St, LS2 8JP

Pizza of choice: The Paul & Linda

Toppings: Artichoke, Sicilian olives, pimento, caper berries, smoked mozzarella, salsa verde

Price: £2.80 per slice (quarter pizza)

Thoughts: Great news, vegetarians: here’s a pizza that’s a step above your bog-standard cheese and tomato; so good in fact, carnivorous colleagues may even be tempted away from more meaty alternatives. Created by northern street food specialists DoughBoys, currently in residence at Leeds' Belgrave Music Hall, their Paul & Linda features a super-light dough with minimal tomato base, meaning the all-singing all-dancing toppings get centre stage. Caper berries (the less tart, more amiable big brother of a standard caper) combine with zesty gloops of salsa verde as the perfect counterpoint to the earthier tastes of the artichoke and molten smoked mozzarella. As an added bonus, the beauty of the slice portion is no need to plough through that unwanted final quarter of pizza just because you’ve already bought it (when you really should be watching your waistline). Or conversely, in our case, you may like it so much that you can take on a mathematics-defying five quarters.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



April 4th

HomeSlice, London

Address: 13 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP

Pizza of choice: Pork belly

Toppings: Pork belly, chimichurri, smoked onion

Price: £20

Thoughts: Like a lot of London’s greatest new finds, HomeSlice grew from a humble food van. It's now taken up residence in Covent Garden and offers up an usual set of killer pizzas. We opted for their pork belly pizza, mainly because a) we love pork belly and b) we were unsure how it would work on a pizza. Thankfully, it worked rather well. The pork was still tender and, drizzled in chimichurri, it was delicious. The smoked onion was also a nice addition, giving a genuine smoky taste. One of the most promising new pizza restaurants in London.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



April 2nd

Dough, Manchester

Address: 75-77 High St, Northern Quarter, M4 1FS

Pizza of choice: Duck and Brie

Toppings: Pieces of slow cooked duck leg, creamy brie, crispy duck skin, plum pieces, garnished with rich plum sauce, spring onions and parsley.

Price: £9.95

Thoughts: For a pizza establishment with such high a reputation as Dough, you’re bound to expect something special, and that's exactly what they deliver (please note: they don't actually do delivery). Freshly prepared bases provide the perfect combination of crispy outer crust and soft centre, while the varied menu, pushing the boundaries with their range of signature dishes right through from a Moroccan-inspired lamb pizza through to the 'breakfast pizza', will doubtlessly leave you asking your server for "another few minutes" before finally plumping for your own topping. After much deliberation on our part, we opted for the Duck and Brie, and were not let down thanks thanks to some sumptuously sweet meat, crispy skin, Brie and a rich plum sauce that complimented its tangy tomato base beautifully.

Star rating: ★★★★✰



March 31st

Machiavelli Kitchen & Dining Room, London

Address: 69 Long Acre, London, WC2E 9JS

Pizza of choice: Rocket & Parma

Toppings: Fresh rocket and Parma ham

Price: £13

Thoughts: A pizza-toss from Covent Garden tube, this Italian food specialist doubles as a kitchen and diner - beware that your "quick bite" might turn into an unexpected food shopping trip. The rocket and Parma ham pizza is a no-nonsense Italian affair: the thin, crispy base is grease-free, not a hint of cheese in sight. The toppings are excellently fresh and sprinkled liberally, making for a satisfying flavour combination, but it won't transport you to a bustling café in sunny Rome. One for the pizza minimalists, this.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰


(Widget image: Flickr User - Inside A British Mum's Kitchen, Aurel Dunca Photography]



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