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Quartieri

300 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 2DB, United Kingdom

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One of the best-known pizzerias is Naples is Trianon, founded in 1923. The owners have now decided to try their luck in London, opening Quartieri in the somewhat unlikely locale of Kilburn in April 2017. The dining room, with exposed brick walls, has a pretty display of herb and red chilli plants in a display cabinet along one wall. The pizza oven gets up to 450C at its hottest, which is a bit below the 485C minimum recommended by the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana”. A pleasant selection of Motown and blues songs played in the background, at tolerable volume.

The menu here offers eight pizzas, as well as a small selection of starters and desserts. There are a few wines of mysterious vintage from £17 to £23, such as Piedirosso Pompeiano from Campania (the region that includes Naples) at a very reasonable £20 given that it currently retails at £17.

A set of fried nibbles comprised fried polenta with a little ham, fried chilli peppers and a very good arancini, with crisp breadcrumb coating and nice risotto inside (average 13/20). A side salad was rather mixed in quality, having a nice dressing and good fennel and decent green olives, but dismal watery tomatoes (11/20). We tried two pizzas, a diavola and a puttanesca. They both had a good, soft base, though somewhat lacking the char in the crust that you get in the very best pizzas (see the pictures of Pizza Studio Takami for comparison). I suspect that the oven is simply not quite hot enough to deliver this. Fortunately the tomato sauce on the pizzas was made with vastly better tomatoes than those used in the salads; the olives were left un-pitted and had quite good flavour. These were good pizzas, but not quite in the top bracket in London at present (a strong 12/20). At least, at £8, they were reasonably priced - the nearest equivalent pizza at Pizza Express to the one I had is currently priced at £10.70. For dessert, chocolate cake was allegedly made in the kitchen and was actually quite nice, suitably rich and gooey (12/20).

Service was friendly, though rather oddly the two pizzas that we ordered turned up in sequence rather than together. At that time we were the only customers, so I guess multi-tasking is not the chef’s strong point. The bill, with just soft drinks, came to £22 a head. I would happily enough come back here if I was in Kilburn, but this is not a “destination” pizza. It was, however, still a much more enjoyable experience thatn my shambolic meal at its rival Antica Pizzeria da Michele, another Naples pizzeria that arrived recently in London.

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