Rudy's Leeds review: Neapolitan pizza restaurant with top quality end product
Let's talk about pizza. It comes in various guises. Many will argue it often comes in unacceptable, 'inauthentic', blasphemous guises. Not this reviewer - come one, come all, pizza in all its manipulated shapes and sizes is superb.
Sometimes, though, Neopolitan is the way to go. And so it was that I and my dining companion walked into Rudy's Neapolitan Pizza in New Station Street, one of numerous sites nationally.
It's perhaps a measure of the lack of footfall in Leeds city centre over the two years that my friend, who lives not far away, hadn't seen it before. The location couldn't be better, placed as it is right outside the city's hectic main rail station for all to be tempted through its sprawling glass front.
Rudy's looks the part inside too: modern, open and spacious - it's more like a cosy dining hall than a restaurant, really - but with small nods to Italian heritage. It has an open kitchen, so you can spectate as flour is liberally launched and dough is thrust into an impressively tiled burner while (extremely attentive) staff work at great pace.
The menu is fairly simple - salads, burrata, garlic breads and the like for the starters, 14 main pizzas to pick from and desserts of course. N'juja and garlic aioli are offered as dips.
According to the menu, the dough is double fermented for a minimum of 20 hours at room temperature "which makes it soft, light and easy to digest", cooked for just 60 seconds to achieve its fluffiness and "is never crispy or deep pan. These pizzas are from other regions in Italy." So there!
Thing is, all the talk is backed up, because the end product is great.
We start with a Caprese salad - tomatoes, bufala mozzarella, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze - and garlic bread with fior di latte cheese. The latter is properly indulgent, oily stuff. It comes basically as a pizza, and is delicious but tables of two should think about whether their bellies are as big as their eyes.
For the mains, we had the Cinghiale - San Marzano tomato, fior di latte, wild boar salame, n'duja (spicy, spreadable sausage), roquito peppers, parmesan, fresh chilli, basil, extra virgin olive oil - and the Parmigiana - San Marzano tomato, fior di latte, roasted aubergine, pecorino, basil, extra virgin olive oil. We also had garlic aioli, which had a brilliantly stong flavour.
The dough was as promised: soft, foldy, with a slight tang on the crusts. The ingredients have been used sparingly but this highlights their quality - the fruity n'duja is no filler and is lovely alongside the sweet peppers.
No dessert this time (worth the sacrifice for that garlic bread) but crowd pleasers such as brownie were advertised.
At just £33.70 (including two bottles of cola) for quality pizza and a genuinely pleasant experience, I felt it was a steal and will be back for sure.
2 New Station St, Leeds LS1 5DL
Rudyspizza.co.uk / 0113 834 9697
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, noon – 9.30pm; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10pm.