I’m a huge fan of pizza, for the last 6 years Friday night has pretty much been exclusively pizza night in my household, where I make my own dough and put the overworked pizza stone in the oven. I’ve also worked in a fair few chain pizza restaurants so I consider myself to be well qualified to judge a pizza.
Pizza 7 gets its name from the seven pizza’s that grace its menu and luckily none of them are named in pretentious faux Italian phrases the chains are so fond of but actually make you embarrassed as you order them. But before you get to the pizza’s there is the extensive beer and wine menu to choose from. Expertly chosen by the in-house master sommelier the beer menu takes you through a tour of over 60 different beers from around the world. The wine menu is more condensed however there is a wine for every palate and budget and also a few cheeky cocktails and not so cheeky soft drinks.
To start I shared the calamari and the crispy pork skin with my dining partner. The calamari was beautifully tender and served with a chilli mayo that was perfectly spiced - hot enough to tickle your tongue but not so hot that you need a glass of water. The crispy pork skin was salty and crunchy and a fight nearly ensued when it came to who got to eat the last piece. If you don’t have time or the appetite for a full meal Pizza 7 is a great place to pop in and grab and beer and a couple of starters.
Food always tastes better with a smile and our pizza's were served with a huge smile by the effortlessly polite and attentive waitress. Many chain pizza places claim to use fresh dough but it almost always brought in frozen. Pizza 7 makes fresh dough each day from their secret recipe and Italian organic wood in their hand build wood fired oven. The result is a crispy but light base that is soft yet substantial, and keeps all the toppings in place when you swap a slice. The organic wood gives the pizza a very subtle oaked aroma, not overpowering but enough so that you really appreciate all the trouble they have gone to in sourcing the wood. All the pizzas have a base of organic tomato, oregano and a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar, which on its own would be enough to get your taste buds working over time.
I went for the number 5 pizza, slow cooked breast chicken, tarragon, roasted pepper and rocket. The chicken was tender with no hint of dryness, the roasted pepper with the lovely smoky scent from the wood balancing out the sweetness and a peppery kick off the rocket. My dining partner went for pizza number 4, new forest charcuterie, red chilli, mascarpone, chives and rocket. The mascarpone was a revelation to have on a pizza. As charcuterie has a quite a salty taste the mascarpone mellows it and gives it an almost creamy edge. With each bite you can taste the time and dedication that has gone into choosing the ingredients.
Finally a nod should be given to the atmosphere. The décor is warm and homely, not the sterile and artless forms of generic brands. The exposed brick walls, wooden chairs and careful lighting make it a truly enjoyable experience and makes going out for a pizza a gourmet experience. The cherry on top is that the prices are lower than the big chain restaurants, where the food isn’t of such a high quality.