This pocket-sized pizzeria tucked away on Walcot St started out as a takeaway, but soon found that customers enjoyed the atmosphere so much they wanted to hang around a bit more – so now it’s the cosiest of family-run foodie joints. Regulars are greeted with kisses, family and friends drop by for a quick slice of pizza and a catch up, and staff chat and swap jokes over the counter of the open kitchen.
Once we were installed at a comfy window table, Dani plied us with wine (a lovely light, fruity Primitivo Salento, perfect for lunchtime) and told us we’d have no need of the menu – instead, he’d bring us all of his favourite dishes. It was an offer we couldn’t possibly refuse, so we simply sat back and allowed ourselves to be fed. We started with beautiful light, fluffy pizza dough parcels filled with mozzarella, ricotta, tomato and basil – the balance of flavours was just right, giving subtler tones the chance to shine.
These were followed by a selection of arancini – my absolute favourite was a pork and beef Bolognese with a gooey mozzarella centre, which was gorgeously rich with delectably soft rice, but the Piselli (mushrooms, peas, and provola affumicata) was also rather fabulous, with lovely earthy mushroom flavours. We also tried a potato croquette, which my dining companion swooned over – soft potato, parsley, mozzarella and parmesan, served with a spicy tomato sauce. Our third starter was probably our very favourite – paper-thin cured mutton, with the most incredible wallop of flavour, served with shaved parmesan, lamb’s lettuce, vinaigrette and grissini.
Undaunted, we pressed on to the main event – Yammo’s famous margarita, winner of UK Pizza Chef of the Year’s “Best Margarita” 2014. Named in honour of an Italian queen, the margarita is one of the most venerable pizza recipes, one of only two ‘true original’ pizzas served at the oldest restaurants in Naples. The Yammo margarita is a triumph of making the complex look beautifully simple. The dough takes between 24 and 32 hours to create, with the recipe constantly fine-tuned to take account of atmospheric conditions each day, and the tomato sauce is made only from tomatoes grown in mineral-rich volcanic soils, for an incredibly fresh, sweet taste. The end result is quite simply mouth-watering.
Although we were quite heartily stuffed by this point, you can’t possibly neglect the desserts in a good Italian restaurant. We tried a blood-orange gelato, gorgeously creamy and beautifully raspberry pink, and the house speciality, tiramisu. I’m a serious tiramisu fan, so I’ve tasted a few in my time, but I have no hesitation in giving this one a gold star – a pillowy-soft confection, with the fluffiest of sponges and the lightest mascarpone cream.
To finish off the meal, Dani brought each of us a blisteringly-cold iced shot glass full of limoncello – the only way to wake up all your senses after a heavy lunch. In fact, it doesn’t so much wake up your senses as leap out at them with a bucket of cold water, screaming. Needless to say, my productivity for the following afternoon was a little impaired, but it was totally worth it. I’ll definitely be back.
Images Copyright Sal Godfrey / Sal’s Kitchen