Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Princi Pizza

I've never liked Princi much. I walk past it every morning and watch the businessmen gazing onto Wardour Street, absent-mindedly munching on their crumbly pastries and sucking coffee back. Early evening, I walk past it again and it looks sleek from the outside, bustling and lively within. There's usually a bouncer on the door, typical of Alan Yau's places, like Cha Cha Moon (which I actively despised).

It lures you in with the open plan view of bakers rolling and patting dough, placing it in a wood-fired oven. When you walk in you can mill about at the counters displaying the food, queueing up to place your order. Then, after collecting your order you can shuffle amongst the bodies, desperately seeking a seat. Perhaps you thought ahead and made a mate guard some stools, and then you have to tag team while they go and do that food ordering thing while yours slowly loses optimum temperature. No, it was all too stressful for me.   But then, they extended next door and built what looked like a sit-down restaurant. You know, one of those places where you're seated and your order is retrieved from you. One Friday, seven sheets to the wind and in need of late-night sustenance, four of us staggered towards the bouncer, pizza in our minds. Miraculously we were let in. 



Heritage tomatoes were sweet and juicy, like no tomatoes you usually get in the UK. Paired with the sweet, creamy mozzerella and drizzled with olive oil (£7.50), this was simplicity at its best. We devoured this while we waited for our pizzas.


 Diavola (£9.50) was monstrously spicy, with hidden chilli slices ready to heat-bomb your face. It was addictive. We sucked air through our teeth as we attacked through the slices.  


Bresaola (£10.50) was huge and generously topped with the thinly shaved cured beef, some rocket and Parmesan. The base was chewy, well charred and the tomato sauce flavoursome. This was hard to fault. 

 I was less impressed with our waiter's recommendation, the Valerio. Topped with mushroom, ham, mozzerella, cream and basil, this was a white pizza and it was just a bit too boring for my tastes. With a beer each we paid roughly £15 each including service. By no means the cheapest drunk food I've ever had, but it was incredibly satisfying. Stress-free dining helps. 

 135 Wardour Street
London W1F 0UT 

  Princi on Urbanspoon

15 comments:

Ute said...

I am with you on Princi. I hated the queuing thing, not being able to see all the food on offer and then, with your full try, not finding a space to sit. I noticed yesterday that they have extended, about time if you ask me! Glad to learn that you can get decent pizza there, in fact the Diavola looks amazing.

Tom said...

That actually looks pretty good. I've never had even a slightly good thing at Princi. Seems as though they have stepped up their game a lot!

Paul Hart said...

I always go to Soho Joes for late night soho pizza action. Only tried Princi a couple of times, always struggled to get a seat or had rude middle aged women scowl at me when I ask them to move their shopping bags when they are deliberately taking up 6 or 7 seats...

Gingle said...

So they do actually do table service now do they? I went a little while ago (it's on my blog for any interested), concentrating solely on their pastries and thought it was really good. I did find the ordering a little confusing but once you know how it works, it's no problem (why can't you orderyou and your companions food while they grab the seat for example). I must not have been late enough to ever notice the bouncers on the door though - that is pretty strange!

Su-Lin said...

I do like Princi. Tried their pizza last weekend and it was excellent. The waiters really do like to recommend things - ours told us to try the tiramisu.

The couple next to us also ordered something off their waiter's recommendation and when he came over to ask how they liked it, they replied positively, to which he replied, "I TOLD YOU!". As he resembled the villain in No Country for Old Men, I was petrified.

Lizzie Mabbott said...

Ute - It was pretty great actually, especially after a few beers. I don't appreciate queuing for my food, makes me feel like a chump.

Tom - Yup, avoid the main bit and go for pizza.

Paul - I've never been to Soho Joes, but walk past it often. I'll check it out.

Gingle - yes, they do table service in the pizza place adjacent to the main bit (same door). I take your point about ordering, but then you'd have to go and look for what you want, tell your mate, and then go and sit down. Who decides on eating like that? Not me.

Su-Lin - HA! That's brilliant. I do remember them being quite... stern.

The Perfect Trough said...

So that's what the building works were. I was hoping it'd gone bust until I saw the other side still open!

Another vote for hating Princi - style over substance. But I'm a sucker for a pizza and they look damn good.

Rumours of Franco Manca in Soho though...

J@feasttotheworld said...

I have never been to Princi too...although like yourself, I walked past it more often than you can shake a stick at. The pizza topping does look generous but personally I'm not a massive pizza fan and so far it's only those with a thin crust that I like. These seemed a tad too doughy for me. And a bouncer on the door? How scary!

Frank said...

I walk past there every morning - and I find the whole thing a bit intimidating! Although the breakfasts people order look fantastic.

Sounds like I should man up and get a pizza!

Great post - it's nice to see someone swallow their words with grace.

FoodieClaire said...

I went there once for lunch. My friend paid £7 for a substandard salad. I can't even remember what I had which says it all. Never again. The windows calling you in are there for a reason. Hypnosis...

Quality Kitchen Goods said...

I have never been to Princi but I have been curious about the place for a long time now. At least I know what to order if I find myself there one of these days. Definitely going to try the Diavola and Bresaola pizza. Cheers!

meatballandsaltedcod said...

I finally managed to eat there yesterday now they have extended the place to an actual sit-down restaurant. We had very decent pizza and cold meats, although I found the wines a bit expensive for what they were..

The Grubworm said...

Like you (and pretty much everyone else by the sound if it) the whole crammed queue thing out me off. I really don;t like hanging round on the off-chance of a table. No fun when there are so many decent places to eat within a ten minute walk.

However, those pizza's look pretty good (and it sounds like those bases don't flatter to deceive), and if they can turn out a tasty tomato and mozarella dish, AND I can sit down. Well, it;s a whole new ball game.

The Grubworm said...

Like you (and pretty much everyone else by the sound if it) the whole crammed queue thing out me off. I really don;t like hanging round on the off-chance of a table. No fun when there are so many decent places to eat within a ten minute walk.

However, those pizza's look pretty good (and it sounds like those bases don't flatter to deceive), and if they can turn out a tasty tomato and mozarella dish, AND I can sit down. Well, it;s a whole new ball game.

Lizzie Mabbott said...

Prefect Trough - ah, very far from bust! Franco Manca in Soho? REALLY? Yikes, that is big news.

J - ah well, each to their own, though they weren't actually that doughy. Yes, the bouncer is rather excessive.

Frank - Thanks Frank. yes, do go for the pizzas though I wouldn't bother with the rest.

Foodieclaire - PResumably that's the main restaurant queue system bit? The sit down table service on the left as you walk in, serving pizzas, is better.

Quality Kitchen Goods - No worries! remember to turn left at the door for the pizzas.

Meatballs - Glad it was decent at least. I didn't try the wines there so will take your word for it.

Grubworm - Yes, sitting down is definitely the bonus here! Do let me know if you give it a try.