A taste of Naples comes to Lavender Hill
It seems there is an Italian restaurant on every corner, you can hardly move for your Strada, Pizza Expresses and Zizzi’s, so news an independent pizzeria was trying to muscle in on the action piqued my interest.
Named after the beautiful and iconic Neapolitan waterfront promenade Via Caracciolo has stripped away all the frills and gimmicks and promises to bring you reasonably priced, traditionally made pizza.
Dimmed red lamps light a small open plan dining area sparsely decorated with photographs of owners Luca La Gatta and partner Fabiana Figalli’s native Naples
A check of the menu, and the sparsity continues with a starters list consisting solely of bruschetta or pizza bread, and then the pizza.
No pasta, fish or meat dishes, not even a calzone – this is pizza STG (Specialità Tradizionale Garantita - Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) all at under ₤9.
With my choices almost made for me, I order a simple tomato bruschetta, ₤3.50 and the signature main the Via Caracciolo – topped with cherry tomatoes, San Daniele ham, extra virgin olive, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil.
My bruschetta sets the bar high – crunchy fresh bread, slightly moistened with oil, and beautifully prepared tomato topping, it is simple but delicious, but when you place all you emphasis on your pizzas, it is the main that is always going to seal the deal.
It is huge – easily big enough to share, and generously decked out with toppings, and the first few bites confirm Luca knows his game.
Yes the narrow focus may deter the casual punter but this restaurant is banking on securing the hearts and stomachs of pizza aficionados, and the food puts his main rivals in the shade.
Full to the brim on top quality Italian fare I’m forced to wave away the dessert menu and wander back to Clapham Junction – a ten minute brisk stroll my waist line is most definitely glad of.
Via Caracciolo, 42 Lavender Hill, Battersea