“It’s not the kind of place you go for a cheese-laden, greasy kind of pizza, you know?” – my friend’s passing comment on Homeslice as she balanced her oversized slice in one hand and Vinnaturo’s organic sauvignon blanc in the other.
And she’s right. It’s definitely not. Their Fitzrovia residence is all about exposed brick walls, low hipster lighting and carafes of organic natural wine. Huge 20-inch pizzas, served by the slice or on wooden peels almost as big as the table, stand well apart from your standard go-to Italian comfort food. There’s no ham and pineapple in sight (although the humble Margherita does get a look in). Instead, ox tail with horseradish and sorrel cream; aubergine, harissa and cauliflower cheese; and wild venison with kale, reign supreme.
To make the most of their unusual toppings, we decided to half our pizza. Down one side we went for the peppery venison with crisp kale and dukkah on a ricotta and red wine base. On the other, a smooth spread of puréed butternut pumpkin topped with crunchy broccoli and a scattering of salty pecorino and crispy onions.
Homeslice pizzas are quite floury and you won’t get any drip from the sauce or satisfying pull-apart stringy cheese action. But when it comes to the venison, you don’t need any of that. The contrast between the cured, spicy meat and sweet caramelised onions is pleasing. And the red wine base, through strong, isn’t overpoweringly tomatoey.
Our butternut pumpkin half, on the other hand, wasn’t as exciting. These are flavours that should compliment each other, but until you bite into a bit of broccoli, they don’t harmonise and come together. Good luck with that though because the topping is so sparse that half the time you’re sans broc. Perhaps it could be improved by the addition of more cheese or some crunchy pine nuts?
Despite the squash, we’d still go again. With it’s laid-back vibe, Homeslice is the perfect setting for an after work pizza party. There’s no pointless frill or faff. The pizzas are prompt to arrive and, given that there’s no cutlery or proper plates involved, it’s accepted without judgement that you’re going to make a mess.
It’s also surprisingly affordable. One of their giant pizzas only costs £20, and each one can serve up to three people (third wheels rejoice!). Cocktails are around the £7 mark (we had a warm and wintery spiced clementine and szechuan sour) and £28 for a litre of white or red wine isn’t bad at all.
52 Wells Street
London W1T 3PR