Interview & Review – Pizzaface
What comes to mind when you think of takeaway pizza? Large value meal deals served with a sly marketing and tons of processed calories? Or do you sway toward authentic Italian style pizzas baked in a stone based oven? If it’s the latter, you’ve clearly ordered from Pizzaface before.
Starting life in 2009 by local duo Bertie and Woody who, without much prior experience, decided to put their chef and graphic design backgrounds to the test and setup a pizza business. With much hard work and dedication, they opened up shop at a rundown pizzeria in Kemptown. Thus, Pizzaface was born.
I chatted with Mavis, who joined the team a year after they opened. She’d known Bertie and Woody since the University days and heads up the recruitment and HR side of things as well as “ensures staff are at their happiest” which was refreshing to hear.
Upon asking her if Bertie and Woody thought twice about opening a pizza takeaway in the economic climate of 2009, she replied “if you’re going to do something, you do it in a decline, banks are keen to lend and we took the chance”. The risk clearly paid off. Earlier this month Pizzaface opened their second branch in Hove and now serve the Southwick, Portslade and Hangleton sides of town.
“We started off with 5 pizzas on the menu” Mavis says with a giggle, clearly in awe of the expansion that Pizzaface has seen. “All our dough and bases are made by hand each evening with chefs working into the night to make sure we are ready for the following day.” Pizzaface use Sardinian ’00’ flour to ensure authenticity and each pizza is handmade to order, before being baked in a stone-oven. “We tried out a few ovens but wanted to keep things traditional” Mavis said.
The team source as much of their produce as locally as possible and reach out to Italy for their salami and other meats to add a real Italian element to their pizzas. The Cheese Man, Infinity Foods and C H Mears are a few of the suppliers Pizzaface work with. They also have a fantastic relationship with ice cream shop Boho Geleto whom they’ve been friendly with since the early days. Supporting local businesses and working closely with the community is clearly something that Pizzaface aim toward with expansion into pizza workshops, festivals and ideas around street trading in the works.
Pizzaface have many pizzas for you to choose from and also are highly commended for their vegan range, with special pizzas available to order every Monday and Tuesday for the dairy/meat free amongst us. Each vegan pizza is named after a famous vegan – will you be having The Moby or The Bill Clinton this evening, sir?
After much deliberation, I decided to opt for the Cuca pizza which was topped with mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, oyster and shitake mushrooms, carmedlised onions, rosemary and Napoli salami. Not being content with a whole pizza, I also had the Garlic Bread with Goats Cheese and a side pot of olives.
Order taken at 18.40. Order in hand by 19.05. Great stuff from their newly opened Hove branch! I loved the simple presentation and unwrapping the garlic bread filled the house with a warm, dough smell – just like Mama used to make!
Goats cheese on the bronzed round slice of garlic infused bread gave a salty feel to the side dish and paired with the sweetness of garlic, it was a beautiful combination. I’d recommend the pot of olives to nibble on too and the rosemary infused olive oil that black and green olives swam in was ideal for dipping in tears of garlic bread.
The pizza was large, warm all the way through and smelt delicious. The huge round slabs of salami adorned the stone baked slices of mozzarella slathered goodness and gave a great visual treat to my Monday dinner.
Tucking into a slippery slice I could instantly taste each topping and element that made the Cuca so special. The collection of mushrooms held their own against the two types of mozzarella cheese, with the caramelized onions adding a touch of sweetness against the smokeyness and spicy salami.
Recently winning a Silver Award in the Brighton and Hove Foodie Awards for ‘Best Takeaway’ will Pizzaface be resting on their laurels? “We’re never sitting back, we’re always looking to up our game” Mavis said proudly.
I expect big things still to come from Pizzaface and am assured that the high quality ingredients, authentic stone baked bases and love from the team will continue.
Originally printed in the Brighton and Hove Independent Newspaper 11/10/13
Words and photographs by Claire Beveridge