Birthdays can often be a tricky occasion. Picking a venue, selecting a date and choosing a time which works for all is not an enviable task – but necessary when bringing together your nearest and dearest.
This year (as with most of my years), I planned a simple affair. Several of my closest friends, good food and plenty of wine; mellow and memorable.
We arrived at Double Zero in Charlton for supper, the perfect setting for the kind of evening I had in mind.
As always, the place was a riot – groups gathered hungrily round long tables, perched on mismatched chairs as they tore apart pieces of loaded sourdough pizza. The kitchen visible from every table, revealing chefs hard at work as they rolled and tossed and assembled naked stretches of dough ready to transform in the blazing wood-fired oven.
It’s BYOB, but Double Zero have you covered with softies if that’s what you prefer. Nestling in to our table for seven, we unloaded our loot (wine, beer and countless bottles of gin), uncorked and glugged sizeable amounts into our glasses; it’s a little crowded and you’ll most definitely elbow your neighbour more than once, but the cosiness really is quite delicious, and it makes pinching from your friend’s plate all the easier.
Ordering up a variable feast; round one was a pair of Antipasti boards, meaty and veggie to appease the masses.
Simple and satisfying, we picked and nibbled as we gossiped over current events. It can be a very rare occasion to have your girls all together at once and though still a couple of faces were missing, it was a dream to bring together the people I love most in the world; laughing until our cheeks hurt and chin chin-ing our way through frosted glasses of fizz.
Sufficiently sloshed, the arrival of pizza was nothing short of a thrill.
Now, being somewhat of a seasoned slice snaffler (a professional title I assure you,) I can confirm that Double Zero offer up potentially THE best pizza pies this side of South Manchester.
I know the juries out, what with big players Rudy’s and Honest Crust as fellow contenders for the title, but go just once, and I promise 00 will steal a pizza your heart.
Sourdough bases larger than dinner plates are delivered to the table, bronzed and blistered, seasoned by earthy-charred bites of flame-blasted crust. The texture is pillowy-soft and chewy and no match for the loaded toppings; especially if, like me you enjoy your pizza topped with the entire contents of a fromagerie.
The Formaggi is particularly life-changing and best eaten by hand with the added pleasure of runaway cheese sliding down your chin, just remember to keep a napkin or three close by.
The dessert menu is modest, with only three selections hurridly scribbled on an awkwardly placed chalkboard.
The options are quintessentially Italian; Tiramisu…
Practically compulsory post-pizza. Sumptuous, sweet with a swift bitter kick; homemade and exceptionally naughty.
Panna Cotta – wonderfully wobbly and the shining star of the puddings, do not attempt to share.
If you’re looking for a venue for your next occasion, whether it be a birthday, an anniversary or a mid-week fancy, I cannot recommend Double Zero enough. These guys are packed to the rafters daily, so book ahead and don’t forget your hip flask (a Tesco is situated just steps away should you find yourself running dry).
A cash only venue, the total bill for starters, a handful of puds and half the pizza in Napoli came to £20 each with 10% gratuity, not a bad price for a little slice of heaven.