This is the story of a radio station, two bored brothers, the police and a whole lot of pizza. Welcome to the story of Radio Alice.
Our story starts in the 1970s in Bologna, where a radio station, Radio Alice was set up; it was the voice of the counterculture in Bologna, rebellious, Italian and unconventional. Except it wasn’t long lived, little over a year later it was shut down by the police. Shame.
We now jump to 2010 and meet brothers Salvatore and Matteo Aloe, having finished university they were after a project and bored of the usual red-checked tablecloths and clichéd Italian music in pizza places. So, they decided to do things their way. Using mother yeast and ancient stoneground flour they created a dough that was left to ferment at ambient temperature for 24 hours. The result was a crispy base with a soft inside. Then, rather than ladle on the toppings, they cooked the base first, cut it into eight slices and added organic, seasonal toppings at the end.
With this they opened Berbere, a pizzeria that was loved all over Italy. Six years and five restaurants later, the brothers are coming to London to set up their next restaurant with their friend and co-founder of Gail’s Bakery, Emma King. And what did they decide to call it? Radio Alice. After that Bologna soundtrack – presumably because they want it to have same proud spirit and Italian roots, not the part about being shut down by the police.
Ingredients and toppings come from organic and slow food producers in Italy and Britain but put together in modern combinations. So, you’ll find anchovies, red onion, lemon zest and tomato; gorgonzola speck, honey, fiordilatte and walnuts and prosciutto di Parma, burrata, orange infused oil and fiordilatte.
As well as the pizza there’ll be piccolo and house made dolci, including chocolate gelato with liquorice brioche and cucumber, lemon and mint sorbet with a dash of gin.Wine comes in the form of wine, from Libera Terra, a co-operative set up land liberated from mafia control. Or if you want beer then there is La Bassa, the brothers’ bespoke collaboration with Brew Fist Italy.
The next chapter of their story starts today with Radio Alice in Hoxton Square, where the ceilings are high, the furniture reclaimed and the terrace the sort of place to while away the time.
The End (and also the beginning…)
Radio Alice: Opens 5th December 2016, 16 Hoxton Square, N1 6NT, www.radioalicepizzeria.co.uk