It’s All About The Base At Zia Lucia, Holloway

07 Sep 2016

I’ve never ventured over to Holloway Road on my food quests. It’s not that I’ve heard particularly bad things, more that up until recently there wasn’t much gastronomy happening in the area to shout about. It's a little too far to travel from well…anywhere in London that isn't North East. Any reason to go would have to be a very definitive reason.

And then I hear about Zia Lucia, the Pizzeria that has been making waves in the London pizza scene due to its unusual bases. However, being a (self-proclaimed) pizza connoisseur I have tried these bases and the novelty has worn off.

The restaurant when we arrive at 6.30pm-ish on a Wednesday is quietly buzzing, the waiters attentive yet busy. A nice touch is a bottle of tap water filled with mint on our table. It’s very open plan, very small – only a scattering of tables next to the majestic pizza oven.

We kick off our meal with a plate of bruschetta (£3.90). This plate was a perfect example of simplicity done perfectly, and how top quality ingredients can speak for themselves. The tomatoes were slick with olive oil and the perfect level of seasoning had been added. It’s a great start, especially for a dish I would never usually order. Along the same lines is a plate of burrata and parma ham (£8.50) that we fight over, our forks clanging in an attempt to get to the gooey, creamy cheese and salty ham.

We share a perfectly chilled bottle of Le Rive DOC Extra Dry Millesimato (£20) which is absolutely delicious. Prosecco and pizza are made for each other in my eyes – sort of like tomatoes and basil, really.

On to the main event: the pizzas. My companion went for the mysteriously named “Arianna” (£10.80), a melange of mozzarella, fresh sausage, taleggio goat cheese, pecorino cheese and drizzled with a truffle honey. I suggest a gluten free or a multi grain base. She (half Italian) wrinkled her nose, and says, “Why mess with a great thing?” The pizza is pure decadence, the truffle honey giving a zing to the rich cheese.

Having had my choice stolen, I went for the “Broccolosa” (£9.50), a pizza rosso topped with mozzarella, fresh sausage and broccoli with some extra artichokes (£2). Can’t stay away from them. To humour the restaurant, I went for a charcoal base, and sort of wished I hadn’t. I liked the slightly bitter flavour of charcoal, but unfortunately it was quite dry and became difficult to eat. My companion’s dough, however, was light as could be.

My only other moan about the pizza was the broccoli on top of it. It was mushy and a perfect replica of Tesco’s frozen broccoli. Not sure if they’d just run out of the real deal that day, but it wasn’t nice.

We were told we had to try the tiramisu, so we shared. Bizarrely, it was the worst part of the meal – the marscapone gelatinous as anything. Huge shame.

Atmospherically, I can’t fault the restaurant. It’s busy and bustling and the service is charming, if a little stressed. We ate on a Wednesday evening and it was packed to the rafters, with a queue snaking down the road.

And the vital question – would I return? If I was in the area, yes. But mainly for a plate of that bruschetta topped with some burrata, and treat the pizza as an afterthought. Which might, in fact, defeat the object of the restaurant all together.

That said, the guys at Zia Lucia are adding a pink pizza to their menu for October to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a percentage of all proceeds going to charity, so head over and tuck in to do your bit.

Chloe

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