New? It opened back in April
Where? This is the second site, (the first being in Ealing) and is at the end of New Kings Road: 92-94 Waterford road, SW6 2HA, www.santamariapizzeria.com
On the menu: Award winning pizza and a lot of it. So much in fact that it is rather overwhelming, the toppings are kept simple and fresh in many different variations – these are classic Italian pizzas so think lots of parmesan, mozzarella, San Marzano tomato sauce DOP, artichokes, olives and truffle oil. You won’t find toppings like Hawaiian, pepperoni or BBQ – this is the real deal. Accompanying the pizzas are a series of sides such as burrata caponata and aubergines parmigiana and a succinct list of puddings.
First Impressions: If you’re not hungry when you arrive, you can guarantee that you will be as soon as you reach the door – the smell of fresh dough wafts ever so enticingly draws you in. The restaurant was busy with people constantly arriving and when there weren’t diners coming in then Deliveroo guys were picking up pizzas every ten minutes – it’s clearly popular.
The Look: Much bigger than the Ealing site, the restaurant is light and airy with wooden floors, wooden tables and exposed brick walls part of which is adorned with a vibrant painting of Santa Maria. There’s a small bar where you can drink whilst you wait and a mix of smaller and large tables. The food does the talking here.
What We Ate: It’s definitely worth ordering starters if you have space, we went for the meatballs made from North Yorkshire sausage mixed with smoked mozzarella – you can choose to have them with ricotta but we kept ours simple with San Marzano tomato sauce DOP and Parmesan. They were delicious, rich, meaty and with a tomato sauce that was incredible. Forget not eating bread – you’ll want to scoop up every last bit with the fresh bread. We also couldn’t help but order the burrata pugliese – a smooth ball of creamy burrata served with peppery rocket and the sweetest roasted cherry tomatoes.
There is a good mix of pizzas with and without tomato sauce so we ordered one of each. For a modest pizza choose the San Francesco – rich tomato sauce and mozzarella finished with artichokes, courgettes, aubergines and parmesan. You’d think with all the vegetables it could run the risk of being sloppy but it wasn’t – you could still roll it up without it disintegrating.
We also went for the San Giuseppe, it didn’t have tomato sauce and instead was filled with smoked mozzarella, rare breed Yorkshire sausage, parmesan and friarielli (wild broccoli). We were torn as to which we preferred – my friend saying the San Francesco for the tomato sauce, whilst I said the Giuseppe couldn’t be beaten. Either way they were both excellent.
And the dough – thin on the bottom, slightly charred crusts which had just enough chew and held their own but didn’t leave you feeling like you might be committing carbicide.
If you can manage it then go for the affogato or if you’re feeling adventurous then the lemon version made with lemon sorbet and limoncello.
What We Drank: Lemon Spritz and we finished with a double shot of Frangelico – a creamy, hazelnut liqueur, if you want something sweet but don’t want pudding then order one of those.
Go With: This is the sort of place you could take anyone, when we were there we had a young family on one side and on the other side a man with his grandparents. It’s simple and serves good food and really what more could you want?
Final Word: When people start saying they know where the best pizza in London is and it’s Santa Maria, it’s a pretty big deal. Is it really? Or is it just hype? You know what, I think the search might finally be over.