Bold Street, L1
Review by Lawrence Saunders
Much to the amusement of my friends, when it comes to Italian food I like to think of myself as a bit of an expert after numerous holidays to the country over the years. So when I heard about a new pizza and beer joint opening on Bold Street I of course had to pay a visit.
Walking into Crust on a busy Saturday night, hearing the sounds of Italian waiters conversing in their native tongue and seeing a team of chefs slaving over a huge authentic Italian wood fire pizza oven, I could have easily been back in a Neapolitan pizzeria.
After a short wait at the bar, my dining partner and I were shown to our seats. For starters I chose the Proscitto Di Parma (£5.95) accompanied by a pint of smooth Menabrea Birra Bionda (£4.40). The ham was served with buffalo mozzarella, which unlike any mozzarella I have tried before was incredibly moist, rich and flavoursome. My diner date was equally as impressed with her focaccia (£4.95), which came topped with garlic, tomato and gooey mozzarella.
As a big fan of the folded over calzone pizza, choosing the magnificently named Black Vulcano (£9) for my main was an easy decision. What I was presented with was the biggest main course I think I’ve ever seen. Made using black dough – which as our waiter explained is healthier than the standard base thanks to its natural vegetable charcoal – the calzone was fashioned into an impressive volcano shape. Packed full of juicy tomato, mozzeralla, thick ham, mushrooms and spinach it was a delight. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I was only able to complete just over half of the monster meal but enjoyed every bite.
My date went for something on the lighter side for her main; the Strascinati (£8) combined homemade strascinati pasta, friarielli (a broccoli-like green vegetable widely used in southern Italian cuisine) and Italian sausages. The pasta had just enough bite whilst the rich creamy sauce accompanied the sausages well.
To be honest, the idea of a dessert after the mighty Vulcano was not the most appealing thought but when I tasted the Birramisu (£5) and chocolate Ravioli (£6) I soon changed my mind. The indulgent Birramisu substituted the usual coffee in the classic tiramisu dessert for chocolate beer with incredible results, whilst the fried chocolate Ravoli was a delicious twist on the savoury staple. As the manager Alessio had predicted, a chilled glass of Italian produced Cortigiana Golden Ale (£4.80) complemented both dishes perfectly. It’s worth noting that alongside the Cortigiana, Crust boasts an impressive range of both local and Italian craft ales to sample.
As we headed for the exit suitably full, Alessio enthusiastically introduced us to the owners who were busy talking shop at a nearby table. We promised we would be back soon and certainly intend to be.
Crust stands alone in an increasingly competitive list of pizza spots in the city thanks to its authenticity and quality of ingredients which will prove hard to beat.