Saturday, 13 March 2010

Please don't put potatoes on my pizza.

For a pre-ballet dinner we headed after work to Fire and Stone in Covent Garden. I was a little sceptical about the concept of 'worldwide pizzas' (Peking: Chinese Hoi Sin sauce, shredded aromatic duck, mozzarella & spring onions topped with cucumber ribbons. Marrakech: cumin spiced ground lamb, mozzarella, mint yoghurt sauce, green olives, raisins & sliced red onion drizzled with chilli oil) but the enormous wood-fired oven, the largest in the northern hemisphere apparently, swayed me a little. I was wrong to be swayed by a fancy oven, for if you do not treat pizzas with respect then it doesn't matter where you cook them, they will still be a bit rubbish.

I went for a Lombardia I think, which involved chorizo, POTATO and red peppers on a bit of a McCain base. There was a dollop of aioli in the middle of my pizza too, I'm not sure why. It wasn't very good, it was greasy and not very garlicky and very thick and cloying. It also did nothing for the pizza, which was also greasy, heavy and pretty flavourless. The fact that the staff automatically place bottles of chilli sauce on the tables with your order does not bode well. I had to use both chilli sauce AND salt (oh my arteries) to make my meal taste of anything at all, and then it just tasted like a salty-chilli-biscuit. Potatoes on a pizza should be outlawed, what is the need? 'We've noticed that pizzas just don't provide enough chub-making carbohydrate, what can we do about this? Bung some spuds on the top. For extra coronary delight, let's deep fry the potatoes before we sprinkle the tiny cubes of organ-slaughtering cholesterol onto a pizza base.' I'm just glad I didn't go for the cheese sauce base, or indeed the black pudding topped pizza, or I may have had to be wheeled out of there in a coffin.

Other items on the menu might be better than whatever it was that I ordered, but I'm still of the opinion that you shouldn't muck around with pizza too much: quality dough, stupidly hot oven, decent cheese and a good tomato sauce. Perhaps the novelty value of Fire and Stone will see it through, but really, if you want Thai chicken, you don't want it served on a coconut pizza base.

Fire and Stone
31-33 Maiden Lane
London WC2E 7JS
020 7257 8625

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