There are several reasons why I’m not a professional food blogger, or even one of those consistently ranked into arbitrary Top 10 lists (money, time, the inability to come up with 17 different ways to describe something as ‘salty’), but the main one, I think, is that I am often late to the scene on restaurants. While punters scramble to search for reviews of Pitt Cue, Dabbous and Burger & Lobster, I’m bringing up the rear chatting about last year’s news.
I’ve been wanting to try it out ever since it opened and I spotted it looking down from the top of the 328 bus. It looks almost like a coffee shop from the outside, but then you see the chalkboard set up outside that says pizza (ooh!), cornmeal pizza (huh?). Intriguing to say the least. Nowhere in London does this. In fact, I’m sure it’s out there, but I hadn’t seen anyone do this. Must try.
Fast forward a year and a bit, and I don’t live in the area anymore – a recipe for disaster. But then, I get an email from Otto’s PR advertising beer (they have Blue Moon!) and a slice for a fiver. Reason enough for going back to the old ‘hood, I thought.
Turns out the press release was a teensy bit wrong, and the deal is only if you join a club. However, the owner (or manager on duty, I’m not sure which) decided to give us the deal anyway, which is a lovely gesture (and why I’m mentioning it).
Like any good independent/modern pizza place, Otto’s menu is full of quite a few decent flavour concoctions. Apart from a cheese and tomato for the less adventurous palette, you’ll find slices with toppings like grape and brie (a special they had on the blackboard), BBQ pork and red lentil kofte.
The cornmeal crust makes them much, much, much more filling than a regular pizza. For a shorty like me, one piece actually filled me up quite nicely. I’ll admit it’s a little weird at first (sort of like a cornbread biscuit), but I got used to it quickly. I won’t say that I’d go for it every time as my pizza base of choice, but it didn’t detract.
And while the crust is uber-important, it’s the quality of the toppings that really make it for me. I had the aforementioned kofte, which was nothing short of amazing.Why anyone hasn’t put red curry sauce and lentil koftes on a cornmeal base before? The thing I remember most (in addition to the zesty spice and fresh coriander) was the fact that it was so heavy. This pizza has a little junk in the trunk.
The other two slices were of a slightly more normal variety (think we had the sausage and pepperoni), and were good, but not as good as my little Middle Eastern pizza treat. Even my lovely boyfriend who tends to stick to the
boring stuff classics agreed.
I just wish I lived closer.