CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Veg out with a pizza – but forget the cash

05 March, 2020 — By Tom Moggach

Purezza serves award-winning pizza that’s also vegan

PUREZZA is a restaurant of our times – perfectly tuned into our nation’s changing appetites. It first opened in Parkway in Camden Town back in 2018 and has now expanded into a larger site a few doors up. (This was previously occupied by Stolle, a Russian pie shop, which has thrown in the towel.)

If you’ve never visited, let me hand over to my waitress. “Just to let you know we’re a 100 per cent plant-based restaurant and that we’re a cashless establishment,” she explained, while I scanned the menu. Purezza serves award-winning pizza that is also vegan. It’s a business on a roll, with another branch trading in Brighton and plans for several more in the pipeline. As a side venture, the owners have also secured investment in a vegan cheese laboratory based in Brixton.

This new Purezza is triple the size. (At their original branch, it was “almost impossible to get a table most nights” says co-founder Tim Barclay.)

The design is forward-thinking and sustainable in ethos. The wall plaster is binded with hemp fibres; the upholstery involves vegan leathers and springy foams made with recycled plastic bottles.

But don’t expect a chaotic, hippy vibe. Purezza is a slick and smart operation, with supremely well-trained staff and queues out the door.

The sourdough pizza is Neapolitan in style, with puffy crusts and three choices of dough: regular sourdough, hemp and gluten-free.

For the pizza purist, there’s little to fault. These pizzas are highly rated in the industry. In fact, many ambitious Italian pizza chefs are keen to add Purezza to their cv.

I tried a creation called “The One With The Nduja”, £11.95, with an extra topping of shaved seitan – a hydrated gluten. Here, the spicy pork sausage has been switched for an equivalent made with pea protein.

These meat substitutes are a complex new area. All the big food companies are rushing out new versions of their bestsellers. Sales at Greggs are booming on account of their vegan sausage rolls; Burger King has just released a plant-based (but not vegan) patty.

I loved the texture and flavour of the pea protein sausage. It was more enjoyable, in fact, than a poor-quality meat equivalent. The shaved seitan was somewhat less memorable.

Other dishes on the menu include a raw pizza with a base made from dehydrated seeds and a gluten-free lasagne.

I ordered the “Pure Bowl”, £10.95, a platter of artichokes, spiralised courgettes, lentils and fermented cashew cheese. The pulses were definitely under-seasoned – the only duff note in an excellent meal.

For pudding, Purezza offers gelato, cheesecake, a brownie or an inspired raw take on the tiramisu. This uses a velvety cashew cream and base sweetened with dates. The texture is slightly more cloying, but it hit the spot for me.

Purezza is a marvel – whether you’re vegan or not. At this rate, it may conquer the world and become a high street staple.

Purezza
45-47 Parkway, NW1
0203 884 0078
www.purezza.co.uk

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