Zia Lucia (“Auntie Lucy”) in Brook Green opened in February 2018, the younger sister of the restaurant of the same name in Holloway that has been running since June 2016. Both restaurants were set up by partners Gianluca D’Angelo and Claudio Vescovo. The doughs, a choice of traditional, wholemeal, vegetarian charcoal or gluten free, are slow fermented for 48 hours. The pizza oven is set to 400C and a pizza typically cooks in anything from a minute to 80 seconds, according to the chef I spoke to. This temperature means you don’t get the leopard spot charring that you see on Naples styles pizzas, where the authentic versions are cooked in an oven that is between 430C and 485C. To be fair, they are not aiming to replicate Naples pizza here; one owner is from Rome and the other from Treviso in the north-east of Italy, and they are apparently going for their own style.
The dining room is quite small and cramped, with closely packed tables and not much space to move around. The menu offers a few starters and salads as well as the main event of pizza. There were just ten bottles of wine on offer, ranging in price from £19.50 to £29.50. No vintages were listed and neither were the growers, so a wine might be described as, for example, “Pinot Grigio Friuli”. At least they mention the grape I suppose; they could have just described all the wines as “red” or “white”.
A rocket salad appeared with no dressing, sliced tomatoes and some Parmesan and just two tiny pieces of rocket, but with some other leaves. This seemed to be an error, and was in time replaced by a salad with more rocket. Although olive oil and vinegar were available on the table, I am puzzled as to why the restaurant would leave it to customers to make their own dressing rather than dressing the salad in the kitchen.
The pizzas that we tried had a supple base, thicker than as Roman style pizza but thinner than a Naples style one, but with a soft texture that is closer to the Naples style. The toppings were pleasant and quite generous, the tomato sauce rather like tomato puree. One was a pepperoni pizza with spicy salami and roast peppers, the other Ortolana, with a mix of courgettes aubergine, bell peppers, tomato and cow milk mozzarella (12/20 for both). You can ask for buffalo mozzarella instead but this is £2.50 extra. As well as the menu choices of pizza you can have one assembled with your own choice of toppings. The list of possible toppings curiously omitted both artichokes and mushrooms from the list of options, though artichokes appeared in one of the salads.
Tiramisu was made in the kitchen and was very good: the sponge fingers had good texture and there was good coffee flavour, the tiramisu rather unnecessarily being served with some meringue and, oddly, strawberries (in February). Still, the tiramisu itself was nice (easily 13/20). Coffee was rather rough, a mix of Arabica and robusto beans.
Service was friendly. The bill came to £21 a head for just pizza with just some beer to drink, followed by coffee. Overall this was a pleasant enough experience and I would return if I lived around the corner. However it is not in the league of the very best London pizzas, such as those of l’Oro di Napoli.