Review: Pizza Fella, Vicar Lane, Leeds

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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The latest pizzeria to come to Leeds dubs itself as having proper pizza and proper beer - both of which appeal massively on a Friday night so it was only fair to go and find out if the taste was as good as the talk.

Pizza Fella, an independent set up between couple Helen Collier and Miles Robinson, has seen them expand their mobile pizza business out of the back of their 1965 Citreon van and re-locate it in a former sex shop a little bit off the city centre’s usual track.

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

See - you are intrigued before you even get there.

The decor is interesting and simple but works.

There are no gimmicks, no shiny interiors and huge decorative statements. It is rustic to say the least with MDF style wooden boards making up the interior walls and floors, lit by candles and downlights.

But stepping in off the street out of a cold, dark and wet January night - it is a warm and welcoming sight.

It was busy already with couples, friends, chatter.

The menu is simple. No long lists of starters, sides or extras other than more mozzarella if you wish.

There are eight choices of pizza starting with a simple marinara - san marazano (tomato), garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil.

After that we move to Number Two - the classic margherita with san marazano, fior de latte (mozzarella), parmigiano extra virgin olive oil and basil.

The two of us opted for numbers six and seven which was san marazano, fior di latte, hackney culatello (air-dried ham), pesto and pennolo tomato (a type of cherry tomato from Naples) and the same tomato and cheese base topped with nduja, caramalised onions and caciocavallo cheese. The nduja is a spicy sausage, offered as it comes or toned down with the chilli replaced by sweet rosemary - and even that proved to be somewhat of a winter warmer.

The wines and beers were Italian led with prosecco, Peroni and Pinot Grigio at the top of the list and a mid-range Pinot was crisp yet light and very easy drinking.

Service was fast, friendly, efficient, not overbearing and most of all knowledgeable. You just feel better about a place when the staff can answer your questions without a blank look or the need to check first.

And the pizza was absolutely just like one you would have in Italy itself and a world away from what you would roll home with at 3am after a night out.

Even for the calorie conscious this was just delightful. A light base, with a smidgen of tomato and the flavours and ingredients were allowed to tempt the tastebuds rather than be swamped by cheap cheese.

If you can’t help but be tempted by dessert then this won’t kill you either. It is a simple selection of gelato ranging from vanilla to peanut butter and salted caramel (like a Snickers in a bowl) to raspberry cheesecake. Both tasted just amazing and washed down with an Italian black coffee.

The best places speak for themselves without the need for huge branding gestures, offers and enough menu variations to fox a mathematician. The food is good, the atmosphere is good. This place works.

SCORE: 4/5