Brothers Thom and James Elliot travelled around Italy to research pizza, including the home of pizza: Naples. They then started selling pizza from a street van in London in late 2011. As word spread, the business grew, and they put down roots on the corner of Dean Street and Berwick Street in August 2013. The premises previously held an Indonesian restaurant and now has the pizza oven installed in pride of place, with seating around a counter. The owners built the pizza oven from scratch, including the mosaics. Due to the latter, which causes the oven to have a passing resemblance to a turtle, the oven is called Michaelangelo, after one of the teenage mutant ninja turtles, comic book characters with conveniently Italian names. The oven reaches 500C inside, meaning that the beast can cook a pizza in 50 seconds. There is a basic drinks menu with Prossecco, Italian wines on tap and Birra Moretti beer (£4.50). As Niles Crane once said in Frasier on seeing a basic wine list in a bar: “I’ll have the, er, white.”
There were ten pizzas on offer, from £7 to £10. There are a few additional things you can order, such as a salad for £3.50, but this place is all about pizza. Ice cream is bought in, but at least it is bought well – from Gelupo in Soho. An ndjua pizza has tomato, basil and olive oil, the main ingredient being the spicy Calabrian sausage nduja. The base of the pizza is authentically soft, in the style of Naples pizza, and the topping worked well. On balance I slightly prefer the base of the pizzas at Santa Maria, Sacro Cuore and Franco Manca, but this is still a major step up from the mediocre pizza chains that infest UK high streets. Staff were friendly and at £9 for a very enjoyable pizza, Pizza Pilgrims is certainly affordable (though the nearest equivalent pizza to the one I tried here is priced at Franco Manca at £6.95).