International Camping Olympia, Cortina d'Ampezzo 08-2020

The view from mini-pod 1 was phenomenal especially for the sunrise and sunset times. At €70/night, the 9m2 was expensive real estate but still cheaper than every other option available in Cortina. I would gladly stay here again for all those reasons.

It does mean the options for food are limited to driving (and parking) in Cortina or eating at the ICO pizzeria. It is just like Italy to have an affordable and good quality pizzeria as a standard in a semi-remote camping site.

The did forget to cook my pizza the first night I was there waiting for takeaway (and took about 1h), whereas the second night they were conscientious and did it in 10min.

Pizza Al Volo, Venice 08-2020

Just before the heat of the afternoon led to a siesta, a local pizza sitting canalside at the Ponte dei Pugni made for a pleasant lunch in the shade. It would be nice if the canal was clean enough to dip into (didn't even want to put my toes in) but you can't have everything.

The pizza at Al Volo was cheap and quite nice, with a crisp base tasty anchovies and very mushy mushrooms. Wasn't sure if the mushrooms are just like that or cooked that way, but I had something similar elsewhere so maybe it's just the type of mushroom.

Santa Maria Pizzeria, London 02-2018

The award winning (I found out later it was a Timeout award for best pizza in London) pizzeria recently opened in Fitzrovia and the 50% off opening special made for a great reason to brave some windy and icy weather and test it out. Many an Italian were also enjoying their fill, using the technique or folding the pizza over into some kind of sandwich. I suppose it's helpful for these pizzas with thin floppy centres.

The pizzas are all unevenly hand shaped and large to fill the plates with puffy, soft crust edges and an ultra thin core. The crust had a little seasoning, a discernible touch of char flavour and bouncy texture. In true Italian fashion they are not precut at all.

San Francesco (tomato sauce, mozzarella, peppers, courgettes, aubergines, parmesan) £9.45 was a simpler pizza with the vegetable flavours standing out. It wasn't overly seasoned/salted and could have used a little. I probably would have preferred the old version listed there with the artichokes.

Santa Rosa (tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, salame Napoli, roasted aubergines) £9.95 was a tastier more savoury version thanks to the salame. The mozzarella didn't have a very noticeable smoke element.

It's a very good pizza. I'll look forward to trying the San Gennaro complete with anchovies and capers next time.

Crate Brewery, London 06-2017

Up near the bridges and next to a big carpark, many a yuppie, their dog and their young family attend this drinking hole for a weekend lunch. It serves pizza and although the bases are crisp Middle Eastern flatbread rather than your standard doughy base, the creative toppings make up for it.

- Middle Eastern Lamb (tomato reduction base, mozzarella, fresh spinach, marinated lamb mince, parmesan, pine nuts, fresh chopped mint, chilli flakes) £12 - probably my favourite with good earthy flavours and textures roaming throughout;
- Proscuitto & Rocket (mozzarella, oven semi-dried cherry tomatoes, parmesan, vincotto, proscuitto, rocket) £11 - perhaps a little less on the creative side for toppings but standard and good;
- Kashmiri Dahl (mozzarella, fresh spinach, dahl, cumin, chilli flakes, crispy shallots, mango chutney, Greek yoghurt, fresh banana slices, fresh coriander) £12 - the weirdest and most creative pizza had a nice spiced element but I have to admit the sweet banana was a bit further along the strange spectrum on this pizza.

I'm not sure if I'll specifically go back to the area as there isn't much else for me there. The bases didn't thrill me even though the toppings did moreso.

Crate Brewery Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Franco Manca, London 04-2017

I'll never forget my first Franco Manca pizza. I had just eaten Honest Burger at Brixton and after being only semi-whelmed, decided to get a Franco Manca pizza to takeaway home. I didn't expect to enjoy the soft doughy crust, the light ting of sourness in the crust and the overall pleasure of eating the pizza both fresh and at home later in the evening.

After that episode, I'd eaten there once ( as it wasn't the most convenient to get to, bought the recipe book and made his version of pizza (with yeast though because sourdough starter is impossible to buy in Australia and longwinded to make) to great success in Canberra.

It was by chance I was able to eat at one of the many many vast expansions of this place that have happened since 2013. This time was in Chiswick. It was nice to see the prices hadn't gone up too much in that time.

I ate 1.5 pizzas comprised of a special sausage/potato/chilli/mozzarella and the old favourite tomato/garlic/oregano/capers/olives/anchovies/mozzarella. The former was overall lighter in flavour with an occasional big hit of hot chilli, whereas the latter remained my favourite with the lovely salty flavours I adore in pizza. The crust was still relatively soft and spongey but didn't have any of the slight tang I recall.

Nonetheless I'll happily try again at the Brixton mothership or elsewhere. And it'll be with anchovies.

Franco Manca Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Al Cuadrado, Salamanca 03-2017

Some students took me to a pizza place in Plaza Mayor. Usually eating in a plaza would be a bad idea given that's how tourist traps work. However at least this place was a mixture of enticing and some imaginative interior design. It's a pizzeria and a cerveceria meaning night may be even more atmospheric.

Pizzas are shown in the window but different ones are available inside. They are about 22-27€/kg which works out to be about 3-4€ for a 140gram slice that they approximate, which makes 10€ per lunch or so. Of course you can ask for mas o menos or try more range.

The best part is that before serving, they put it in an oven/grill which crispens the oily base and also melts and chars the toppings, particularly the cheese. It's an excellent method and one I will now adopt to home cooking.

I tried 6 types of pizza in 2 sittings and all were good. My favourite would have to be one with zucchini and provolone with anchovy running through it - excellent flavour. Others include in that same photo pumpkin/panceta and cherry tomato/basil, and in the second photo mushoom/pesto/tomato, 4 cheese and anchovies/mozzarella/red peppers.

Of the pizzas I've sampled from Australia, London, Italy, NYC and Argentina, I'd probably say it resembles deepdish NYC or Argentina the closest. Very impressed.

Homeslice, London 02-2017

I distinctly remember going to the original Homeslice in Covent Garden a couple of weeks after it opened back in 2013. I hadn't tried the foodtruck before, but sometimes you just feel like a 20" pizza to yourself.

In my opinion the pizza quality itself wasn't in the realm of Franco Manca, but what they did have was an excellent creative bunch of toppings that was quite left field. Back in 2013 it was a half bone marrow/spring onion/watercress and half pork belly/chimichurri/smoked onions.

This time is was a half chorizo/corn/coriander and half xo pigs cheek/collard greens/crackling furikake. The 20" size and thin floppy crust means that each 1/8th slice is easiest eaten almost folded over into triangular sandwich. The toppings are nice and a little sparse for the size. The crust is reasonable but without much intrinsic chewiness and salt to it.

It still looks mighty impressive. Even though the toppings are different, I can't say I enjoy them more than the standards or even standard gourmet pizza toppings. I'll wait to go back to Franco Manca to pass my judgement first, but I can't see Homeslice being my go-to pizza place in London.

Homeslice Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Slice Girls West, Melbourne 01-2017

The award of most obscure alleyway in Footscray (that you'd actually want to visit in the evening) has to be the one behind Conway, where halfway down a doorway leads you to a pizza place and a bar above it. There's no sign from either end of the street - you have to brave your way down and hope for the best, or wade through the smoke of people outdoor polluting the air.

Nonetheless it's pizza and drinks. With a Spice Girls theme.

Wannabe Warrick (napoli, shaved ham, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, olives, mushrooms, baby capers & oregano) $13 reads well but the flavours were quite mild. The crust is crisp like flat bread and could use a bit more thickness and chew. The ingredients were also skewed so one side had clearly more than the other - I wonder if this is because a large one was made then split between several orders.

More interesting (and disappointing) was the tabouleh $12 which I expected to have a large amount of parsley to turn it into the salad accompaniment. Instead it was filled with bulgur wheat and mixed with a few things but no (or barely any) discernible parsley. It was confusing.

Overall I don't think I had the best food experience here. If I were to go back, I'd try the Zig A Zag Ah with salami, fired peppers, chilli flakes and jalapeños (why didn't I get that this first time?)

Slice Girls West Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato