Pi Pizza founder Rosie Whaley has brought her refreshing take on the well-worn pizzeria genre to Clapham.
Founded in Winchester, 2014, Pi marries the traditional with produce-driven creativity, bringing their second restaurant to Battersea Rise via Italy and Hampshire.
Pi Pizza take pride in doing things the right way- after being warmly greeted at the door and shown to a table, our waiter explained that the dough is made in-house using their own recipe and a 72-hour fermentation process.
It’s often forgotten that good food begins with good produce so it’s reassuring to see a restaurant that is so proud of its ingredients.
The flour, burrata, mozzarella and charcuterie are from Italy, the tomatoes are organically grown on the Isle of Wight and the meats, gelato and English cheeses are from Hampshire.
Aesthetically Pi is simple, rustic and uncluttered, the kitchen is cleverly left open – pizza making is, after all, a spectacle – while a stunning living tree leans its way through the wood-tabled, mood-lit, relaxing dining room.
We started with our waiter’s recommendation of cauliflower and Old Winchester arancini- a firm customer favourite- and burrata with caramelised black figs.
The cauliflower cheese meets arancini was comfort food updated – warming, delicious and not the rich carbohydrate overload you might expect.
The burrata and figs were creamy and sweet, just crying out for a good hit of black pepper and some salt to balance the richness.
We drank a Montepulciano recommended by our helpful waiter which was full-bodied and berry-flavoured without being too sweet or overbearing.
Over the course of the evening the service was consistently excellent, all the staff were attentive, friendly and full of knowledge about the menu.
We were regularly checked on, a nice touch that thankfully at no point crossed the line into the kind of over-the-top service that can become irritating.
Pi’s menu describes their pizzas as ‘The Main Event’ and it’s a fitting title; we shared a 20-inch pizza in three different styles.
Sharing is Pi’s greatest strength, it looks right to see spectacular, colourful, enormous pizzas coming out of the impressive brick work, woodfired oven, and at £24 per dish could comfortably feed three.
For main course, we were instantly attracted to the Lebanese lamb with yoghurt and fresh parsley while juggling with a few other tempting ideas from the varied menu.
We decided on a recommendation, a balancing rosary goats cheese, kale and caramelised red onion addition with a white base, before returning to Old Winchester and cauliflower, this time with chorizo and spinach.
I can’t fault the pizza, the dough was light and crisp and crucially the Lebanese lamb packed a singular punch, further fuelled by the house extra hot chilli oil.
White bases were new to me and they need to be well handled but, in this case, they served as a great compliment to the spice.
For pudding we stuck with a scoop of gelato which was a perfect light and delicious end to the meal.
We were treated excellently at Pi, it’s pizza with a personal touch and the kind of restaurant it is always reassuring to see do well, certainly somewhere I wouldn’t hesitate to return to.