Just a year after taking their street food concept to a permanent venue on Dean Street, Soho, the duo is preparing to open a 70-seat site that will feature a broader food and drinks offering.
Still carrying the range of pizza that made the company’s success, the menu will innovate with the Frigittoria – fried Neapolitan specialities including ragu and mozzarella-stuffed arancini and pizza fritta, fried calzones filled with tomato, salami, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta and basil.
“Since the original pizza pilgrimage we’ve been back a few times and every time we go back we discover something new that we want to try. The pizza fritta is absolutely delicious. Personally when I saw it I thought it would be very heavy and greasy and not nice, but actually with the right dough and done properly it’s very light. All the ingredients inside are steamed rather than fired so it’s much lighter, crispier and puffier than you would expect it to be.
“We’ve trialled pizza fritta in the street food world and it’s has a real element of surprise about it. People don’t expect it to be light and airy so they’re pleasantly surprised,” Thom told BigHospitality.
Crispy potato and mortadella croquettes, deep-fried courgette flowers and aubergine and courgette chips will complete the Frigittoria menu.
The new Pizza Pilgrims will also feature a broader drinks offering including the newly-developed Sohocello – a twist on limoncello.
“We spent the last year working with our Chase Distillery on it, and found basically the best lemons in the world [single-origin Amalfi lemons] and made new limoncello which is a bit drier than usual. Sometimes limoncello tastes very artificial and overwhelmingly sweet.
“We found these lemons with this amazing oily skin so you get a lot of that essential oil and lemon flavour, and we use a lot less sugar. It’s still sweet, but much drier than a lot of limoncellos. We’re going to have some fun with that and do cocktails with that, as well as sell it in shops,” added Thom.
The drinks menu will also include products discovered during the Elliot’s latest Italian pilgrimage – craft beers from Lazio’s Birra del Borgo, wines by the Nespoli winery in Emilia-Romagna, as well as Amari and digestive.
In terms of interior, the new site will keep the simple atmosphere that is Pizza Pilgrims’ signature, with some extra elements and features.
Thom explained: “Design-wise we had a bit more of a blank canvas, because for Dean Street we opened on a shoe string and had to do with what we had – for example using the same tables the previous restaurant had used. So we have a bit more room to have fun with it but at the same time we want to keep it simple again. Something we’re really excited about is a four-player old-school 1980s arcade machine which is going to be downstairs, and we’re hoping to have a foosball table.”
The Kingly Court site will also make use of its open kiosk area under a staircase. Serving coffee and sfogliatelle (a Neapolitan cream pastry) during the day, it will welcome a Gelupo gelato cart on sunny days and occasionally host live bands and mini supper clubs. “t will be a constantly changing space with lots of fun stuff happening,” said Thom.
Street food experience
The Pizza Pilgrims co-founder explained that starting out as street food vendors helped the duo become more flexible, as well as gaining valuable customer insight.
“The thing with street food is that you have to be able to roll with the punch. You always have unforeseen things that come up, more so than generally in restaurants. That’s really helpful for catering because it gives you the ability to deal with problems.
“The number one thing about street food is that it’s the only job in catering where you can be the person who makes the pizza, serves it to customers and chats to them, getting their feedback and learning about them. You’re able to do proper research as you go. Nine times out of ten in a restaurant the chef will be in a different room at the back and will never get that face-to-face time with customers.
“We had this plan and started it with a little van and it’s grown from there which is amazing and we’re still kind of blown away by all that,” Thom said.