After all most of the staple ingredients – cherry tomato, salami, mozzarella, parma ham, and rocket – can be purchased at your local supermarket, but not the sourdough made from caputo flour especially imported from Naples and then left to prove for 48 hours, to improve the flavour and aid digestion.
Upon entering Firebrand, I was immediately struck by the sheer enormity of the wood-fired oven, which was seemingly taking up the whole of the restaurant – fortunately there’s an adjoining room for diners. This enables the Italian pizza chef to cook pizzas in under 90 seconds at temperatures reaching 400C, so there’s no excuse if you have to wait long to get served.
Ignoring the antipasti and the pasta I headed straight for the pizzas – as this is the reason most customers will come here – opting for a buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato, rocket and parmesan (£12). The dough was thin and crisp with sufficient crust to satisfy those who like plenty of bread on their pizza. What amazed me, was how the distinctive flavour of the sourdough came through, followed swiftly by that blissful sensation as the buffalo mozzarella balls land on your palate. This is a pizza worthy of Naples.
At 12’’ in diameter the pizzas are large enough for a solitary diner, and the restaurant has individual stools specifically designed for that reason. Alternatively, you could share one between two and accompany it with a salad or non-pizza dish. Both the wild mushroom risotto (£14) and the gnocchi with gorgonzola, rocket and parmesan (£14) looked good. The menu is uncomplicated but it ticks all the boxes.
Firebrand is not the place for sophisticated dining – it’s a cosy pizza parlour – and the décor with its black and white chequered floor and wood-panelled walls is appropriately low key. Judging by the clientele on our lunch-time visit, the restaurant is already attracting a relaxed, relatively youthful crowd, although perhaps the music could do with a bit more consideration – I know that Abbey Road is a few hundred metres away, but is the Beatles soundtrack the right call for pizza?
For dessert, I opted for the salted caramel cheesecake (£6.50), which came beautifully presented in a small pot. Despite the wonderful bitter sweet flavour of the caramel, this proved slightly disappointing as the base was a little too smooth for my tastes. Perhaps it would be better to stick to the mains.
Firebrand is a welcome addition to an area that is already well served with pubs and a great fish and chippy, representing great value for money, it should prove a great success.
Need to Know:
Firebrand Pizza (0207 724 6764)
41- 43 Lisson Grove