It wasn’t long ago that the only choice you had with a pizza was either what topping to have on it, or whether it was deep dish or thin crust. Pizza used to be as generic as a burger. Not any more.
Perhaps because it originates from Italy, we are now starting to see regional variations and, with pizza hailing from Naples, it perhaps wasn’t too surprising that the original is a little different from the fare we’re used to being served up over here.
Priding itself on its authenticity — after all it’s run by a bonafide Neopolitan and its pizzas are hand pulled by pizzaiolos from Naples with Italian “OO” flour and the exact same ingredients they use back home — NuPosto is leading the way in educating Brighton’s pizza lovers that not all pizzas are the same. Coincidentally, they’re not the only ones on a mission, as another new arrival, Fatto a Mano make pretty much the same claim.
With its prime West Street location, NuPosto has the higher profile. Some six months after opening, many are already claiming its pizza Napolatena are the best in Brighton. To find out if that was true, I went there not once or twice, but three times. Its aforementioned location round the corner from the Brighton Centre made it just so convenient for a pre-gig pit stop, as did the speed in which a pizza arrives on your table so soon after ordering.
But let’s begin, not with the food, but with the ambience. NuPosto is spacious and stylish. When you walk in, you’re struck by the surroundings. This is a place that someone has spent time designing. There are lots of visual details, from the interesting lights above your head, to the contemporary graffiti-like illustrations of Naples that line the walls. It shouts modernity, not nostalgia.
On the left is a bar area and at the back, an open kitchen with not one, but two ovens, one spelling out the name Brighton in mosaic. With light blue being the predominant colour, the place feels as much like it belongs to Brighton as it does Naples.
The menu is short, which one should always take as a sign of confidence, rather than parsimony. When it comes to pizzas, the choice is simple: there are seven regular pizzas, one calzone and four white pizzas — pizza bianche — as they’d say in Naples. All are hand-formed and so have an artisanal look to them — like mama had made them.
The ultimate test for any pizzeria is the margherita, with so few ingredients, there’s no hiding place. It’s simply a fusion of the best quality dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella, olive oil and basil. If a pizzeria can’t get this right, they can’t get anything else right.
NuPosto gets theirs bang on. The pizza itself is bigger than you may be used to elsewhere, almost the same size as the plate. It looks a little different too. The tomato sauce is bright red and the dough is crisp around the outside, with black, leopard-like spots, yet soft and moist in the middle. It’s this interplay of smoky, slightly bitter notes that comes from the charred edge and the soft, pillowy dough inbetween that gives a Neapolitan pizza its great complexity.
Unlike other pizzas, the ones from Naples don’t come sliced, and as they’re so moist you have to have to eat them with a knife and fork. I have to say mine tasted superb. It wasn’t stodgy, but its generous size meant it was pretty filling. You could really taste the mozzarella and there was no skimping with the freshly torn basil leaves. And, at just £6.50, it’s also exceptional value for money.
If, like me, you fancied spicing it up a bit, NuPosto offer several home-made flavoured oils, I tried the garlic oil which certainly added an extra pizzaz to the pizza. I washed it down with a Peroni and vowed I’d return again soon.
On my next visit, I was running late and had even less time, But remembering how quick the pizzas took to cook — literally one minute — I sat at the bar and ordered a Napoli. This was basically a margherita with the addition of capers, anchovies and olives. As before, they were generous with the ingredients, especially considering they only charge £1 more for it. For me, the anchovies were a little too plentiful and far too salty.
They say less is more, and on this occasion, I’d have to say the margherita was actually tastier. It’s not something that NuPosto say they do, but while I was there someone ordered a pizza to go and asked for different ingredients on half their pizza. Of course if you order takeaway, you won’t have to wait long. A couple of minutes later, she was leaving with a fresh from the oven pizza. Whilst mopping up the sauce with my crust, I also noticed Deliveroo can collect from NuPosto.
On my third visit I was tempted to order another margherita, but Pasquale the owner suggested I try something different. He recommended one of their speciality white pizzas that he said were the most popular in their Naples restaurant. I’ve never had a pizza without tomato sauce before and was curious how it would taste when you omitted one of the key ingredients. I was more than pleased I took Pasquale’s advice.
The Amalfi that arrived on my table looked quite different from any other pizza I’d had before, and it tasted quite different too. Not surprising as one of its ingredients was something I’d never heard of, let alone tasted. It turns out that friarelli is Neopolitan broccoli, a vegetable that’s only grown in the Naples area. It’s renowned for being the perfect accompaniment to sausage and as Italian sausage and scamorza affumicata (a lightly smoked mozzarella) were the only other ingredients, I can only concur it does.
I added some garlic oil to mine and devoured it in no time. It was a revelation, completely different in taste to the pizzas I’ve been used to. The sausage was flavoured with fennel and on its own was delicious, mixed with the slightly bitter, dark green friarelli and the smokiness of the cheese, it was without doubt the most memorable pizza I’ve eaten. At £9.50 it’s also the most expensive on the menu, but at under a tenner, it was still great value for money.
I’ve never been to Naples, but I have eaten many pizzas in other parts of Italy and in America. Nothing I’ve had before comes close to being as good as those at NuPosto. If you’ve got a taste for authenticity, you really need to try it for yourself. For me, it was l’amore al primo morso!
And, if you were wondering what the name means, NuPosto is Italian for New Place.
NuPosto is at 14 West Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 2RE
Follow NuPosto at @Nuposto
*Menu prices correct as of November 2015, photos: Images Out Of The Ordinary