What: A buzzy pizzeria in Marylebone. Within the same Paddington Street building that’s home to Chotto Matte, Alley Cats Pizza joins a relatively small number of restaurants flying the flag for authentic New York pizza in a city that remains dominated by Neapolitan pizzerias (those behind it will doubtless have been encouraged by the success of Homeslice and the more recently launched Crisp Pizza, which also take their inspiration from the Big Apple).
Who: The kitchen at Alley Cats Pizza is headed by Francesco Macri, a Sicilian-born pizza specialist with a CV that includes Pizza Pilgrims, Santa Maria, Caravan and Princi. The restaurant is owned and operated by ATFC, which is also behind Angus Steakhouse, Muriel’s Kitchen and the National Gallery’s Ochre restaurant.
The vibe: The 50-cover restaurant pays homage to NYC pizza joints. Design details include wipe-clean gingham tablecloths, exposed concrete walls, church-pew style seating and an open kitchen that runs into the bar.
The food: Macri has developed a slow-fermented dough made with very high-gluten Canadian wheat and a 30-year-old starter. The olive oil-enriched dough proves for up to 72 hours making for a pizza that’s light and easy to digest. The pies are cooked in an electric oven for 315°C for six minutes until crispy and starting to blacken in places (but not nearly as well-done as those at Crisp Pizza). At 14 inches, the pizzas are a big meal for one and could conceivably be shared by two people that want to eat lightly. In a break with New York pizza traditions, Alley Cats Pizza does not offer its pizza by the slice. Starting at £17 and topping out at £21, options include Pepperoni (aged mozzarella, smoked pepperoni, habanero and honey); Vodka (buffalo mozzarella and cream tomato sauce with vodka); and Vegan ‘N’ Fire (roasted bell pepper, vegan nduja, crispy potatoes and pesto). Customers are encouraged to apply dips to their crusts, with options including ranch, barbecue and scotch bonnet. Alongside the pizzas are a handful of starters - candied bacon; meatballs; and cheese and garlic bread knots - a couple of salads and a few desserts.
To drink: The drinks list is tight offering a small choice of beers, wines and soft drinks and the full-range of canned cocktail brand Moth. Still wine starts at £24 per bottle and a pint of beer costs £6.
And another thing: Restaurant understands that a second site is already being lined up for Alley Cats Pizza in Chelsea.
22 Paddington Street, London W1U 5QY