Pizza fan Stacey Black visits the award-winning pizza restaurant Purezza
Since its creation in 2015, pizza restaurant Purezza has been steadily gaining traction as the pizzeria to watch. Winning some serious awards such as National Pizza of the Year and Vegan Restaurant of the Year in 2018, plus emerging as prize winners in the World Pizza Championships, these guys clearly know their onions. Or dough, rather.
A friend and I visited the restaurant on a warm Saturday evening with grumbly bellies and high hopes. My friend had eaten here before and was full of compliments about her previous visits, so I was excited.
It had also been an age since I last ate proper pizza in a proper restaurant as opposed to scoffing my own cremated, lopsided creations over the sink during lockdown.
The space is slick without being pretentious, mixing industrial grates as shelving, displaying countless plants above with glossy green tiles on the walls. The huge pizza oven dominates the back corner, and I was able to watch the chipper chefs turn dozens of expertly-adorned circles of raw dough into well-puffed, well-blistered pizzas.
The staff are attentive and knowledgeable and set us up with menus and fresh water for the table.
I was genuinely spoilt for choice when I checked out the menu. Did I want something classic, or a bit different? Rich or spicy? The menu here has a lot going on. A straight-up Margharita is my usual favourite pizza-child, but although I fancied something with red sauce, I also wanted extra veggies.
I chose The One With All The Seasons on a wholegrain base, while my friend went for The One And Only, Parmigiana Party (which was my very close second choice) and we nibbled on delicious marinated olives while we waited.
Our pizzas arrived and they were just gorgeous to look at. I had to whip my phone out really quick to snap some pics before I hacked at it with the pizza-cutter.
Mine had a heat-swollen thick crust and a smear of very fresh-looking tomato sauce, then was loaded with grilled artichokes, wild mushrooms and Kalamata olives and topped with smoked beetroot carpaccio.
I’d never actually eaten beetroot on a pizza before and was pleasantly surprised by the way the candy-sweetness worked well with the home-made mozzarella (which by the way, is unbelievably cheesy and melty).
My friend was also well-impressed by her pizza. Again, a perfectly chewy and blackened crust enclosed more of that rich sauce, marinated slivers of aubergine, crumbled sausages and smoked mozzarella with a little basil-leaf flourish.
In between chowing down on chewy, savoury slices of pizza, we dove into the melty, cheesy dough balls. These are pretty special, and the cheddar is as close to real dairy as I can remember.
Also on the side, we had a garlic sourdough and this was the most garlicky garlic bread I’ve had in a while. It was pretty moreish, especially with the addition of rosemary.
Wholesome & hearty
Absolutely beaten by the sheer amount of flavour and dough, my friend and I decided to forego dessert and try to walk off the feast we had just eaten. We skipped off into the night with our boxed-up leftovers (because last-night’s pizza is truly food of the gods), top buttons undone and planning our next trip back.
Purezza really is that good and I was inspired by the choice on offer. They have a clever knack of offering toppings that are inspiring, wholesome and hearty without relying on meat-substitutes as a draw.
Head to Gloucester Road to fill the pizza-shaped void in your life. You won’t be sorry, but you will be full.
79-81 Gloucester Road