Some days, I just don’t feel like cooking. I might idly trundle through the supermarket aisles looking for an easy fix, but my end solution always seems to be pizza. You’d think the decision-making ends there but then there’s that choice: frozen or fresh? Frozen can mean a cheap night but good luck if you want an even distribution of already sparse toppings. And when I say ‘fresh’, I mean the ones in the chilled section, and these can certainly vary in quality. By the time I pick out the best looking one to trick my taste buds into thinking there’s an authentic takeaway pizza in my mouth, for the price you pay, you may as well have just ordered the real thing.
So, instead of aimlessly fiddling through the shelves (post-swim I might add so there’s the added embarrassment of the stark shop lights accentuating my goggle imprinted face), I make the decision to scarper home, soggy swim bag in hand and quench my now built-up appetite by calling Pizzaface.
In 2009, Woody and Bertie started Pizzaface. Enlisting the help of friends and family, they transformed a run-down pizzeria in Kemptown into a simplistic but tasty alternative to the big takeaway chains that dominate the market. Introducing a six-pizza menu, they set out to make the best they could using fresh ingredients, good quality meat, Sardinian ‘00’ flour and a stone-based oven. Now thanks to the support of the Brighton & Hove community, who has a penchant for authentic tastes, they have another shop in Hove and are praised for their range of flavours and vegan/gluten free options.
So, with an insistent stomach and partner, we chose two pizzas and two beers for the perfect night in. It was [Only Connect] night as well after all. To avoid food envy, we picked two that we wanted to share: the Albore (pork and wild boar salami, pancetta and fresh rosemary, £9) and the proper ham and pineapple (fresh pineapple and dollops of mascarpone cheese finished with slices prosciutto ham, £10). To try not to completely negate the 30 lengths swum that day, I chose a wholegrain spelt base for one of them, suitable for many people with wheat intolerance too for an extra £1.
After undercutting their estimated delivery time by 10 minutes, we had two steaming hot pizzas and two delightfully cold beers on the table. Mine was the Hiver Honey Ale (£3.50) made locally at Hiver Beers in Horsham while my partner supped on their Pizzaface Ryepale (£3.50). The Honey Ale was soft and light with a sweet aftertaste, careful not to overpower the flavours of our food. The Ryepale tasted fruity with a hint of citrus; a flavour that was distinctive and separated itself from any other pale ale.
The pizzas were downright delicious. Both had thin and crispy bases – even the spelt option assured me that my days of having the special dietary option of dry, cardboard artificial dough were in the past. I even delighted in eating the crusts, which are usually rendered pointless with other average takeaway ones. The prosciutto ham was silky and salty, which married perfectly with the fresh juicy and sweet pineapple. The addition of the smooth mascarpone made this pizza feel indulgent and I liked it. The Albore was consistent in its quality, apparent in the flavour of the salami and the pancetta. The rosemary also gave it a nice touch, adding to the whole experience with its fragrant aroma. Each pizza was light but deceptively filling, allowing me to save a couple of slices for the obligatory leftover lunch the next day (they passed that test with flying colours).
The ingredient combinations certainly tell a story of individuality and help to set Pizzaface apart from the world of mass produce; both the handpicked beers available from local breweries and having one of the UK’s favourite ice cream shops – Brighton’s Boho Gelato – providing the sweet relief amplify this. Over their seven years, Pizzaface have become successful through a mix of simple hard work and being considerate to the delicate tastes of the Brighton & Hove community – and we love them for it.
Pizzaface Brighton is at 35 St George’s Road, Brighton, BN2 1ED
Pizzaface Hove is at 1 Coleridge Street, Hove, BN3 5AB