Last Friday the final independent eatery on Bedford Street, Barbarossa, opened its doors to the public for the first time. The wood-fired pizza kitchen and bar serves up authentic sourdough and wholemeal pizzas using quality ingredients which can be washed down with a selection of independently sourced beverages. On Saturday me and my mam went to experience the Orange Pip Market on Baker Street before popping across to Bedford Street to try the new pizza place for ourselves.
When I first read an article in the Gazette about the new pizza place on the block, it tugged at my heartstrings a bit. Headed up by 29 year old Scott Pawson, he wanted to recreate the type of pizzas he experienced whilst on his travels abroad. I loved that his head chef, 68 year old Elia Tavernese, was born in Sicily and was running his own pizza school in London before he moved to the North East specially for the new venture.
Upon arrival, the restaurant was chocka! Luckily one of the waiters managed to quickly clean up a table for us so we were soon seated at a barrel-based table with a wooden circular top. Although busy, the turnaround of customers was pretty speedy so the wait time wasn’t too bad. Whilst my mam had a comfy old-fashioned armchair to sit on, I had a stool where I struggled to fit my knees under the table. Personally, I would have preferred a normal chair to sit and eat my food on as I felt like I couldn’t relax properly.
What’s great about Barbarossa is that you won’t find your usual soft drinks such as Coca Cola and Schweppes Lemonade. Instead, the drinks are locally sourced where possible to help the economy. Me and my mam both sampled a bottle of Square Root soda which is handmade in Hackney; I got lemonade whilst my mam tried rhubarb. The soda is made using only fresh, seasonal ingredients and they contain around a third less sugar than your average fizzy pop which is really impressive! Unlike most fizzy drinks, Square Root doesn’t give you that bloated, gassy feeling, instead it provides a crisp, refreshing drink full of taste. At £3 a bottle is quite expensive but I think it’s totally worth it. I could drink it all summer long!
What really appealed to me was the option of a wholemeal pizza base, I’m all for trying to make naughty things a little bit better for you so I was happy for the choice between sourdough and wholemeal. I ordered a pepperoni pizza with red chilli oil which was so tasty, I ate the entire thing! The wholemeal base was delicious and the base was thin, the crust was nice and fluffy which is how I like it. My mam ordered a chicken pizza topped with peppers, cherry tomatoes and rocket; for someone who isn’t much of a pizza-eater, she really enjoyed it and only left one slice.
Unfortunately due to the restaurant being so busy, there was a slight mix up with tables and a couple who arrived after us got to order their food and drinks before us which was a bit annoying but understandable due to the fact it was their opening weekend. Despite that, Barbarossa is definitely a place I’ll be visiting again.
What is your favourite pizza base? Does Barbarossa sound like a place you would like to visit?