Pizza Union, King’s Cross

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King’s Cross is booming with new food and beverage outlets. Pizza Union has just joined the crowd, an industrial style restaurant with neon lights and Italian tiled tables. Despite its recent opening the restaurant is already popular with locals. The Pizza Union team pride themselves on offering super speedy service and incredibly fresh food so it is an ideal lunch choice for those working nearby. I took along two of my most discerning foodie friends to try out the extensive pizza menu.

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We barely had time to say hello… Within 5 minutes of ordering, three delicious pizzas were in front of us and the prosecco was poured out. The 12 inch pizzas are thin-crusted and generously covered in the toppings of your choice. We tried a few different varieties, but it was the Calabria that we all fought over. A luxurious pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, mascarpone, n’duja spicy sausage and rocket. It was a lovely combination of creamy cheese and spicy meat, topped with fresh peppery rocket leaves. If you are a meat fan, the pepperoni is also nice with a plentiful scattering of pepperoni. There are accompanying salads, should you desire a little extra greenery, and we also tried the indulgent sauces (creamy garlic is the best), which are ideal for dipping crusts into.

The staff were keen for us to try a pudding pizza. This consists of a warm dough ring filled with Nutella and mascarpone. As you cut the circuit a gooey creamy chocolatey interiors oozes out… we thought we were full, but obviously not as we were soon staring down at a clean empty plate. It is a delicious and simple dessert, but if you have had enough dough for the day opt for a pistachio or salted caramel gelato instead.

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Pizza Union is a cheap and cheerful venue to enjoy great pizza and prosecco, it was the perfect setting for a girl’s evening catching up.

More information about Pizza Union here:

Venissa, Mazzorbo Island, Venice

Venice is incredibly beautiful but it can be claustrophobic fighting your way through the hordes of tourists in the heat. For our final day in the floating city, we ventured out to the nearby islands of Murano, Burano, Torcello and Mazzorbo, all reachable in under an hour on a vaporetto boat. It was a heavenly respite – idyllic, quiet and quaint towns with humble offerings but beautiful sites to visit.

Mazzorbo is the lesser known but very picturesque island. Located next door to colourful Burano, you can walk from one to the other via the connecting bridge. Ideal for a calm stroll along the canal and a long lunch, it is the perfect day out. We visited Mazzorbo to dine at the island’s destination restaurant, Venissa. Wine and Prosecco maker Gianluca Bisol has resuscitated the rare vines and revived the wine production here. The menu focusses on local fare and home grown vegetables are shown great respect, they are given the starring role throughout the set courses.

Guests can dine indoors in the stylish restored rooms, or sit outside surrounded by the vineyards… if the weather permits I would recommend dining al fresco, I cannot think of a lovelier setting. The emphasis at Venissa is primarily on the wine made from their own grapes; with wine of this quality it is hardly surprising that it takes such a lead role in the dining experience. That said, the food excels in its own right, intricately and artistically arranged on the plates, and using the best seasonal ingredients available.

Different menus offer varying numbers of courses… we were completely in the care of the chef who brought out dish after dish, each paired perfectly with another glass of wine or Prosecco. Simple ingredients are adorned with seasoning and floral garnishes. Two lone spinach leaves from the garden arrive with a splattering of olive oil, black olives and a sprinkling of vine flowers. Next, pretty but spiky artichokes with beetroot puree was an invigorating dish. Eel cooked in Modera with green celery and wild chard was more unusual, delicately flavoured, lightly cooked fish.

Pasta courses followed, green ravioli filled with potato and thick linguine with marigold butter, these dishes were strange but amazingly vibrant in flavour, as if plucked straight from the wild. The meat was divine, of the highest quality with indulgent sauces: lamb with peas and onions, deer with cherries and berries. The top Bisol wines continued to arrive at the table, each one with its own fermentation technique and unique character and taste. Dessert was another palate cleansing delight; a citrus salad with orange and grapefruit granite.

It was the healthiest and one of the most memorable Michelin star meals I have ever eaten: immaculate presentation, the very best wine and a dreamlike setting that seems too good to be true.

Those wishing to stay a little longer at Venissa can book a room at their restored and converted manor house hotel, elegantly high ceilinged and beautifully decorated. Open from March to November.

More information and book here:

Mayfair Pizza Co, Mayfair

I thought there was nothing left to discover in Mayfair. London’s poshest streets are awash with glossy art galleries, designer clothes shops and expensive fine eateries, so when I got an email about Mayfair Pizza Co my interest was ignited. Located in the idyllic car-free courtyard of Lancashire Court, it is a popular place for professional locals to gather for an after work drink or supper with friends.

A slim staircase leads to an airy high ceilinged room, rustic wooden tables are lined up with plush blue-grey velvet chairs. It is a mix of Italian tradition and British style. The attractively stored wine bottles looked very tempting but delicate glasses of fizzy arrived, a Bellini for me. The very drinkable house Prosecco is priced at £5 a flute, though be warned it is quite addictive.

The menu features a selection of Italian antipasti and starters, simple pasta dishes and a range of creative pizzas. Bitesize Black truffle and mozzarella arancini balls were delightful. Trialling the counter artisan meats and cheeses was definitely a good idea, these delicacies are top quality. I would particularly recommend the Speck di Montagne, Burratina and rich and flavoursome Wild boar salami.

A few pizzas caught my eye, there is certainly a good variety on offer. Caprina is a lovely summery option with mozzarella, goat’s cheese, red peppers, rocket and parmesan, whilst meat eaters will devour the Salami, chorizo, Parma ham and pancetta. The kitchen kindly added extra red onion and nduja spicy sausage when we enquired about it. Additional pizza toppings are charged at £2 each; pizzas are priced between £8 and £16. The bases are medium thickness and toppings are distributed evenly throughout. The cheese is generous and I really loved the fresh crunchy rocket and salty parmesan on my pizza. The meat variety was a little overwhelming, I loved the chorizo and parma ham but wasn’t keen on the salami which tasted too salty and processed.

Dessert caused quite a conundrum, there were three we wanted. Promising to make smaller portion sizes we ordered all three. Nutella Calzone with marshmallow and crushed hazelnuts was a boy’s pudding, thick dough that squelches with a gooey sweet filling. Hardcore Italian food fans will enjoy the Tiramisu, though I found the proportion of cream to sponge wasn’t quite right… there was too much cream to get through. The salted caramel chocolate pot is little and luxurious, smooth and rich fondant-like mousse topped with crackling popping candy and chocolate crumbs.

Pizza and Prosecco are two of my favourite things and I can’t think of a nicer place to enjoy these indulgences than Mayfair Pizza Co.

More information and book here: