London’s best pizza

On Thursday I took a break from the radical weight loss program to enjoy lunch at Santa Maria Pizzeria – ranked by Time Out as London’s best pizza establishment. The pizza was certainly good, but the company and wine trumped it.

[image image_id=2411 title=”PH_59_2″] [image image_id=”2411″ align=”right”] I was the guest of Lance Foyster and Isabelle Clark of Clark Foyster Wines; they sold me the throbbingly ravishing, sensuously beautiful Mac Forbes wines I have recently been [link2post id=”84″]heaping praise upon[/link2post]. The pizza establishment does not normally allow corkage but Lance managed to twist their arms into letting us have three quick tastes of what he had been out selling that morning. The Schloss Gobelsburg Renner 2009, Moric Blaufrankisch 2008 and Pittnauer Pinot Noir Fuchsenfeld 2008 were all most enjoyable and good examples of the embarassment of riches that is their Austrian range (they’ve got the brilliant Hirtzberger in mags and double-mags; irresistible things to own!). Their Austrian list demands to be plundered, but don’t forget to buy some of that pulsingly good Mac Forbes kit [link2post id=”89″]I love so much[/link2post]; quite the best Australian wines I’ve tasted and extremely reasonably priced.

The pizzeria is a tiny place tucked next to a boozer on a rather decorous road in Ealing, but they have managed to fit in the all-important wood-fired oven. This is a very important thing for a pizzeria to have, it undoubtedly improves the quality of what they make. The crusts from a wood-fired oven should be bubbly and slightly charred resulting in them being a delight to crunch into; don’t cut them off and leave them as lonely and unwanted as a ham sandwich at a Jewish wedding.

The tomato sauce on my pizza was freshly made really rather tasty; mind you, the clearly very quality cheese and salami pieces were also pretty high in tasty points. Fresh basil leaves were a great addition. It was a bit foolish of me to order a pizza with chillies on when I would be tasting Lance and Isabelle’s wines, but they were not over-whelmingly fiery and, as a lover of spicy food, I felt they enhanced the other flavours of the pizza.

The quality of my pizza was such that I could see why Time Out rank them, however Isabelle suggested hers was not up to the standard of those she had eaten there before. If they were below par on this visit I’d be be rabidly keen to try them when they are really singing. If I am honest I think I have a slight preference for pizzas at [link2post id=”351″]Franco Manca[/link2post] even though their dining environment is far less civilised. Santa Maria Pizzeria is easily as good as, if not better than, my usual pizza haunt [link2post id=”1264″]La Porchetta[/link2post], so if you are a pizza-lover in the Ealing area I don’t think you can do much better for a high-quality yet deeply affordable meal. Moreover, they’ve got Peroni Red beer on offer, one of my favourite lagers; when you swallow the stuff it is so rough you can feel it doing you good.

Many thanks for lunch, Isabelle, and Lance, and sorry I was late. You may be hearing from me soon now I’ve looked at your list again.

Contact details: Santa Maria Pizzeria, 15 St.Mary’s Road, W5 5RA Telephone 0208 5791462. They don’t take bookings.