Want to have some fun? PizzaBuzz, just past Finsbury Square, must be the most entertaining pizza place in the city – and the food’s pretty good, too.
It’s a large, warehouse-style space decorated with bubblegum colours and happy illustrations drawn on pillars with felt-tip pens. On entering, diners are ushered towards a colourful counter manned by smiley staff to personalise your pizza with sauce, cheese, protein, vegetables and herbs as you go. Our pizza-builder wasn’t afraid to warn against suspect flavour combinations, and she encouraged us to take our time; after all, there are over 60 ingredients to choose from.
Beautiful wood-fired ovens cook pizzas in under a minute, and order numbers are bellowed out for collection by customers. Drinks are also self-service (try a gladiator spelt beer, or sweet glera sparkling wine on tap) and offer a great opportunity for mischief – the ‘Freestyle coke machine’ in the corner can magic-up over 100 different fizzy drink flavours, including the scarily addictive strawberry Fanta. Yes, it’s sugary and a bit childish, but boy is it fun.
But enough of these diversions; are PizzaBuzz pizzas actually any good? Well, yes. And the best part about them is the dough, which the team spent a year developing. It’s 50% spelt, from a small mill in Oxfordshire, and as such, the crusts have more colour, texture and chew than your average pizza; and they’re lighter on the stomach. In fact, we liked it so much that we had to take a bag of their flour mix home with us.
As for toppings, organic cherry tomatoes popped with freshness; burrata was wonderfully creamy; and courgette flowers made our pizza feel that little bit more special. Some ingredients border on the expensive (a handful of pine nuts for £1.50), and you could end up spending a considerable sum – the record so far is £18 for one pizza. But equally, a quality rossa is great value for £4.25, and the ‘signature collection’ of pre-designed pizzas are all around the £10 mark.
It’s refreshing to enjoy such flexibility – you can go cheese-free (the rossa base, similar to a pizza marinara, is simply tomatoes, garlic, oregano and olive oil); and tomatoes don’t have to play a part either – try the verde sauce, made from pine nut basil pesto, mozzarella and parmesan. There are also gluten-free bases available for a £2 surcharge.
Bottles of chilli and regular olive oil sit on every table, and a green leaf and herb side salad was vibrant and well-dressed. For dessert, a waiter darts round tables with a tray of ice cream around his neck – an odd offering when you haven’t finished your pizza yet, but fittingly quirky. It’s Mamoo ice cream, developed by former Marco Pierre White pastry chef Roger Pizey, which is made from either cow’s, goat’s or almond milk – our favourite was the caramelised orange almond milk flavour, although it took a good five minutes to thaw.
PizzaBuzz would be great for families (goody bags and mini pizzas are available for children), big groups, or anyone who likes to put a bit of fun into their food/fizzy drinks. It’s just the kind of place that would work well as a chain – here’s hoping one pops up near us soon.
By Charlotte Morgan
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