I’m having an affair with a restaurant called Theo’s. I mean, I am inside my brain. I spend a lot of time lusting after their Neopolitan-style pizza, when perhaps I should be thinking about doing something important like, um, opening my boring mountain of post and reading about insurance. Theo’s pizza makes shivers go up and down my spine. It all started back in February this year when I celebrated my birthday here. Now, whenever my mind starts to wander in a dough-and-topping direction, I think about when I can come back here again. And again. It goes without saying that the pizza here is literally so good that I would crawl here on bleeding stumps. There’s something about their dough…it’s sourdough charred perfectly on the outside, soft inside, rolled super-thin, and the toppings are made of REALLY good ingredients. Nothing is skimped on. There’s no cheap sausage here, no sir. Even the mozzarella is of insanely good pedigree.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, to the casual observer, this white-fronted restaurant in Camberwell might just look like any other ‘au courant’ no-reservations joint – you know, white walls, industrial fittings, poured concrete floors, etc. But to be honest, I don’t care what it looks like, it could have salmon pink velour booths, knitted loo roll holders in the toilets and napkins covered in ‘My Little Ponies’: just get me to that frigging pizza…
First you can relax with a pretty drink, so how about an Aperol Spritz? Doesn’t that vibrant orange just shout out that summer’s almost here?
Notice the middle glass full of delicious homemade chilli sauce. We slathered this on everything:
I don’t know what possessed me to order a starter plate of Mortadella ham with fried dough pieces and chillies. I don’t like over-processed meat. But I was excited and thought that if you were going to eat Italian ‘Spam’ anywhere, Theo’s would have the best quality. And it was delicious, despite looking a bit scary:
Look at these chubby fellows – massive and delicious croquettes of mozzarella and aubergine. Quite mild in flavour, but made awesome with liberal splashes of chilli sauce:
Let’s get some table beer in, shall we?
And now to the serious bit, the pizza…
Marinara, with tomatoes, garlic, dried oregano, olive oil and mozzarella. Just LOOK at those beautiful charred bits on the dough. Everything nice and salty and tasting of the sea. Drool:
This is the Camberwell Scotch Bonnet Ndjua Pizza which I had on my birthday, and I had been dreaming about for two months ever since. It comes with tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, ndjua sausage and a funky Italian cured meat called Soppressata which tastes really salty and peppery, with a fennel flavour. Coupled with the creamy Mozzarella, this combination made my eyes roll into the back of my head with happiness:
Desserts are simple, Italian classics done really well. My brother had Tiramisu, and I was really jealous because it was amazingly, light, fluffy and boozy:
My dark chocolate ice cream was good, but not outstanding as it had quite a lot of ice crystals in it and wasn’t that creamy. But the flavour was nice:
This the place, not that you’ll give a fig what the restaurant looks like when the food is this good:
The pizza chefs use a massive Neopolitan wood oven to char their dough. The owner, Theo Lewis, used to be head chef at Pizza East, so he knows what he’s on about:
Service is super relaxed and friendly. And even though this is a no-reservations place, I advise you to go on, say, a Monday or a Tuesday night because you’ll probably get a table straight away. If you don’t, the staff just take your mobile number and you can go and wait in the excellent Camberwell Arms which is next door. If you have a big group of people, you can reserve ahead and you’ll be seated at a beautiful communal table (see above) made of a giant, thick slab of wood, like a door from a giant’s castle.
Theo’s Pizza & Panuozzo
2 Grove Lane
London SE5 8SY