Every time I’ve tried to get into Il Forno, Horsforth without having booked in advance, we’ve been unsuccessful.
It’s a boutique restaurant and clearly very popular, so we decided to try our luck on Tuesday just after they opened at noon.
Even then, however, there were people in there before us, a family of four and another couple and as we entered, the maitre’d sauntered over to ask if we’d pre-booked.
As he tapped furiously on his ipad (kind of hate that a little bit), it seemed for a moment as though we might be unlucky once again, but - ye gods! - within a few seconds he said there was a table we could have.
It’s fair enough that but the place was empty, although not for very long - by the time we were half way through our meal, it was standing room only and he really was turning people away. Such is the popularity of this place.
The interior is done out in mock-rustic style with log-stacks featuring on several walls and a kind of crystalline stone on the main wall, while toward the far end is a neat little bar and beyond that, the kitchen with its log-fired pizza oven. It’s a little cramped and part of me thinks that if they are so popular, why don’t they just buy the place next door and knock through.
If you haven’t guessed already, this place is all about pizzas. They do three main kinds: 12 inch (which they call ‘small’), a half 20-incher and a full 20-incher, which is surely meant to be shared.
We opted for the full 20-incher (why wouldn’t you?), which you can split down the middle, my partner ordering a mushroom pizza (£8.60) with pepperoni, while I went for a classic Hawai’in (£9.05) with extra anchovies, the additional toppings 95p per portion. We also ordered a side salad (£2.95) and potato wedges (£2.95), both of which were good - the salad in particular.
When the pizza arrived on its wooden platter, it filled most of the table, so you have to be pretty organised with whatever else you have on there at the time. We were both more than pleased with the pizza - the toppings did most of the talking, my anchovies delivering a nice salty smack and contrasting nicely with the pineapple, while the ham was also good.
The final bill came to £30.05 (that included two coffees which we ordered at the start of the meal), so not bad. In the end, we could only manage two slices of pizza each but they were happy to box the rest up. Service is a little complacent in places - at one point, they offered pepper but then forgot to deliver it and the overall style is a little perfunctory but overall the experience was a positive one. It’s the best pizza I’ve had in ages and while they don’t deliver, they will cook you one to collect.
TRATTORIA IL FORNO
TOWN STREET, HORSFORTH