A quick fact: Rudy’s recently came 10th on a list of the best pizzas in the world. Tenth. In. The. Whole. Wide. World. It’s what got my attention - even if that meant taking a trip up the M6 to Manchester, to where they originated - in order to feed said attention. But the pizza gods answered my prayers when Rudy’s announced that site number four would be in Birmingham.
Rudy’s have taken over a huge site on Bennett’s Hill, complete with unfinished brick walls and industrial ceilings. Elsewhere an impressive array of plants and macramé hangers soften the look. The front of house buzz from table to table, clearly happy to be working in such a busy dining room, and are without fail friendly and personable.
The room is dominated by the huge white pizza oven that sits central to the entrance. It is here they cook those trademark sourdough slices, and it takes them under a minute to get the thin base and scorched crust that is the Neapolitan style. I personally like the seats around the counter best, where you can watch the team work the dough into shape, apply the ingredients and then cook in front of your eyes.
The pizzas are excellent; as good a Neapolitan as you are likely to find. The base is pleasingly sour, the centre a little wet and gradually more stable the closer it gets to the blistered perimeter. Don’t be fooled by the quick cooking time either. Before getting anywhere near that oven, hours and hours of fermentation, proofing and love goes into making that dough the best you can find in the City Centre. My personal favourites are the Calabrese (£8.20) with hot ‘nduja and the Capricciosa (£8.90) with prosciutto and enough vegetables to feel virtuous, though you could throw a dart at the whole menu and leave happy.
Prior to our pizza we share a board with burrata, bread, roasted vegetables, and olives. It’s a delicious starter and a serious amount of food for £7. Rudy’s manages that rare magic of providing both quantity and quality, so finding room for dessert can be a challenge, but if you have room the tiramisu (£4) and sorbets are outstanding. They’ve got the drinks covered too: beers from local brewers such as Digbrew, a small but well chosen wine list and a cocktail menu which includes a killer Negroni for just over a fiver.
In the short time it’s been here I’ve visited Rudy’s for a work lunch, date night, to grab a quick bite with friends and any other excuse I can think of. After a barren few years, we now have a lot of pizza options in Birmingham; arguably none are better than Rudy’s.