Restaurant Review: The Real Italian Pizza Company

This is a charming little independent place on York Street – so independent, in fact, that it doesn’t have a website to which I can give you the link, so you’ll have to make do with the phone number (01225 330121) and trust my verdict.

The restaurant itself is cosy and full of chatter, with tables packed in to maximise takings, and the decor is sort of harmlessly funky – large colourful daisies on each table, chunky furniture, matching abstract art providing splashes of bright colour on the plain white walls, you know the sort of thing.

The staff were friendly and cheerful, especially given that it was Saturday night and the place was packed to the rafters, and, in the circumstances, the service really was heroically fast. Both our starters and our mains came within about ten minutes, and there was no evidence of panic in the kitchen. We shared some garlic bread to start, which was clearly made from scratch rather than plucked from the freezer, and was rich and full-flavoured without being too greasy.

The pizzas are wood-fired and prepared with lovely fresh ingredients – in fact, you can watch them being prepared if you sit on the ground floor, because the kitchen is open to the room. This isn’t the sort of gimmick you might expect though – there are no plastic tubs of pre-prepared ingredients, just a group of chefs working with slapdash efficiency and a huge oven full of greedily flickering flames. The Pizza Milanese I ordered was delicious – with a very thin, crisp base, beautifully seasoned tomato sauce, rich salty salami and a generous sprinkle of rocket. My boyfriend went for a Pizza Pollo e Funghi, prepared with beautifully tender and juicy chicken, which had clearly been freshly roasted for the purpose.

Each of our pizzas cost about £10, and pasta dishes were slightly less, so the prices are pretty reasonable. Finally, and I must admit we didn’t get organised enough to test this, The Real Italian Pizza Co promises to take vouchers from other Italian restaurants (for example, Pizza Express’ Orange Wednesdays deal) – so it’s not only scrumptious food but also brilliant value for money. What more could you ask for?