There are a rare few occasions when writing a restaurant review can be an inconsequential endeavour, as certainly feels true of Crazy Pizza.
For one, the new pizzeria in Marylebone is likely to lead with a steady set of regulars familiar with Italian businessman/ former Formula One chief Flavio Briatore’s Crazy Pizza brand in Billionaire Porto Cervo and Billionaire Mansion in Dubai; not to mention Briatore’s other well-trodden haunts for the well-heeled from Sumosan Twiga and C London to Cipriani Monte Carlo. Then there are bound to be walk-ins, intrigued (or bewildered) by the band of teddy bears casually lounging outside the restaurant on Paddington Street.
There’s a lot going on once inside with theatrical touches aplenty – from the enthused Italian chefs expertly kneading homemade Fior di Latte (Flower of Milk) mozzarella in the open kitchen right by the entrance, to their dough-spinning and dancing between tables. Unsurprisingly, there’s also a DJ on deck!
Interiors have an intrinsic richness, embellished with crimson red hues, soft bottle green leather and a preppy white piping. Yet we can’t help but shake the feeling that there’s something both contrived and lazy about the visual artwork and cultural references that abound through a space, featuring Shutterstock images and all-too-easily google-able photographs of celebrities eating pizza.
As for the menu, well it features a medley of Mediterranean dishes which wouldn’t be out of place within the haute “day club” scene (think Bagatelle or brunch parties in the South of France).
Starters are elevated by the fabulously-fresh quality of ingredients used. Fior di Latte mozzarella is a thing of beauty, albeit (and rather surprisingly) just a tad bland. Impeccably-sourced Sicilian tomatoes rush to the rescue here, adding tartness balanced by just the right hint of juicy sweetness. At 100 grams, the knot-shaped nodino mozzarella is for those not inclined to share, while the 250g treccia mozzarella is perfect for our party of three.
Pizzas are of course intentioned as the main draw, with a “Crazy Pizza” selection which includes Fiori di zucca (buffalo mozzarella topped with courgette flower and Cantalabria anchovies at £30) and Tartufo (draped with fresh black truffle and white truffle extra virgin oil at £45).
We stick to classics on this occasion – Al proscuitto (blanketed by thinly-sliced waves of cooked ham at £19) and Al carfucio (quite literally littered with fiercely-fried wisps of fresh artichokes at £22). The pizzas are surprisingly-light with an impossibly-thin crust so moreish, that even seasoned crust-leavers like us can’t help but chomp through it! As good as the pizzas are though, they don’t peak at the craveable level of great achieved by stalwarts from Homeslice to our good ole neighbourhood restaurant, Del Fino’s.
To finish on a fittingly theatrical note, tiramisu is assembled live by our table with silkily-smooth mascarpone liberally layered over the the coffee-soaked ladyfingers and cocoa powder generously dusted on top. The à la minute preparation means that the base is crisp rather than spongy, rendering a textural foil to the creaminess of the dessert.
To level with you, we have an enjoyably-fun evening soundtracked by feel-good tunes that we can’t help but hum along to. The staff is attentive and impassioned about what they’re serving, without coming across as overbearing. We eat well and without much to critique; but to be fair, without much to overtly wax poetic about either. There’s just a discernible lack of an X flavour-factor which would have had us hankering for a revisit.
As I did ponder at the start, no doubt Crazy Pizza might elicit a loyalist following in a similar fashion to Briatore’s other hotspots where food is not the only draw. However strictly speaking in our case, Crazy Pizza fits the bill for a one-off dinner rather than a repeat experience, particularly given the plenitude of other perfectly-craveable pizzerias and noteworthy openings to work our way through in the city.
7 Paddington St, Marylebone, London W1U 5QH | https://crazypizza.co/