A thin crispy crust, a tender but chewy dough and a thin layer of tart, but sweet, tomato sauce garnished with the regular accompaniments. Sounds like a pizza standard you’d get in Naples right? But you’re so wrong. In fact, the pizza I’ve just described can be found in an Arab grocery store just off Church Street market.
I was made aware of this hidden gem by a coworker and in the last few months, they’ve revamped their recipe with exceptional results.
Located in a corner of the Great Nile Supermarket alongside shelves of washing up liquid and jars of pickled gherkins you’ll find London’s best pizzaiolo (at least I think so anyway), a smiling Egyptian man waiting to fulfil your pizza desires.
Ahmed told me he had worked in Italy making pizza and pasta for over 12 years and that the dough was made by himself every day. Perhaps this is the reason why the pizza is so well done.
The first thing you’ll notice after making your way past a crate of water bottles and bags of onions is the exceptionally low price. Of the pizza sizes available you can get a 9” pizza for £3, 12” for £4 and a 15” for £6. From personal experience, if you’re ordering for yourself a 12” would do just fine and for anything more I’d suggest going for the 15”.
Now to the pizza.
The pizza style is thin crust, reminiscent of a pizza express pie (but just a whole lot better). You’re also not going to get any of that thick, drenched in oil “pizza” here either.
The options for toppings do tend to change depending on availability but some of the options include, salami, chicken, tuna, peppers, mushroom, sweet corn etc, so your standard options. The last time I visited they also had pineapple (for all you sacrilegious heathens). The toppings are probably the most average part of the pizza but that can be excused considering the small scale of the place. If you’re a Margherita lover that shouldn’t be an issue anyway.
After choosing your toppings you’ll probably be asked whether you like it “crispy”. That just means it’ll be cooked a little longer. Personally, I like it done a little more but that’s down to personal preference. Now to the pizza checklist.
Glorious. You won’t get a “pizza avalanche” either as the toppings aren’t heavily added (not unless you request it that is).
"Leopard spots" are those lovely dough bubbles that rise once a pizza is cooked. The number of spots is dependent on how long it’s baked and testament to the great dough and baking skills the spots are not acrid or bitter, adding another tasty dimension to the pizza.
The balance is done well and is perhaps the best part of the pizza. I think this is due to the fact the toppings and sauce aren’t heaped on. The crust has a crunch but is also a little chewy, a perfect balance in my opinion.
I have yet to be disappointed in the quality of the pizza here. Aside from the above-mentioned toppings issue, the dough seems to be made on a daily basis and the craftsmanship really does shine through. The best thing about this pizza is that it won’t give you that heavy feeling in your stomach which you often get after gorging on typical takeout pizza.
I’m not sure if this place even has a name but it’s a true hidden gem run by an independent business. I would highly recommend checking this place out. If you happen to visit this place be sure to let Ahmed know Muhammad with the long hair sent you.
Address: 131 Broadley St, Marylebone, London NW8 8BA
Do you know of any hidden halal spots that we should check out? Let us know in the comments below!
Author: Muhammad Yousuf Shuwekh
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