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Figli del Vesuvio had been on my must visit list for some time. This wasn’t because of its glamorous location on the bendy bit of Garratt lane, or its décor, nostalgic for a time when plastic was the future. No, it was because some time ago TimeOut declared that Figli del Vesuvio served the best pizza in London.
To test such a bold claim, you need a top team, and when that team isn’t available and everyone else is washing their hair you send me and the Queen of Fitzrovia (QoF.) It being my birthday, we started off by sampling the £6 glasses of champagne and The Earlsfield prior to walking down to the Earlsfield/Tooting borders.
From the outside Figli del Vesuvio looks like a jumble of red. Red sign, assorted choices of red plastic seating. Inside the look is plainer and more minimalist, and in this way very reminiscent of affordable café bars I’ve visited in southern Italy.
As it was a nice evening we opted to sit outside, and it was here that the differences became apparent. I don’t know what it was, but somehow the view of the sun setting over the Summerstown Tesco metro didn’t quite get to me in the same way as seeing it set over the bay of Naples.
The menu is limited in choice but reasonable in price, with starters between £6-7 and main course pasta dishes costing between £7-£9. Both I and the QoF however didn’t want to ruin our appetites for the main event and went straight in for the pizza, which was after all the main reason for being there.
On the recommendation of the charming waitress I opted for a Capriccio, whilst the QoF went off menu with a mozzarella, parma ham and egg combo. The wine list is reasonable to with a nice choice of Sicilian wines, though the QoF went for prosecco at £24, the still wines are available between £16-£20.
The pizzas when they arrived were beautifully cooked. they were tasty and chewy, so far from Pizza Hut’s fried dough experience as to make you wonder if they are related at all as food stuffs. The QoF’s pizza was well presented, she was particularly impressed with how the egg had been baked in, though thought they could have been more imaginative with the Parma ham. In my opinion pizzas are like Meghan Traynor, you know all about the base (sorry,) and these were excellent.
It being my birthday we decided to push the boat out a little bit more and have pudding. It being my birthday I wasn’t allowed to choose.
I needn’t have worried… I was presented with a hazelnut biscuit with ricotta cheese and pear pieces sandwiched in between. It was light, a good combination of flavours and didn’t make me feel like I’d somehow smuggled a bowling ball into my stomach. The QoF had a melty chocolate souffle which she really enjoyed.
Though quiet when we arrived, a steady stream of customers, many of them apparently regular wandered in from the Via Garrattia to dine or grab a takeaway. Meanwhile Deliveroo drivers were doing a tribute to tourist jets circling Gatwick, with seemingly an endless stream arriving and departing.
And that brings me to my only real criticisms of the place, though the food is good and reasonably priced (the bill came to £61 for 2 courses each and the most expensive bottle of wine.) The service for diners was a too hurried. I’d hardly put down my pizza fork by the time pudding arrived, and when we’d finished all the food, we still had half a bottle of wine. That however is just a niggle and can happen when you order a main course that can be cooked in about 5 minutes and desserts which have been pre prepared.
So, the question is, did I think it was the best pizza in London. Well to be honest I don’t even know if it’s the best pizza in Earlsfield, not having eaten at everywhere that serves pizza. What I can say is it was very good, very well priced and very pleasant and I liked it a lot.
Figli del Vesuvio
658 Garratt Lane