Right Up Our Alley: We Tried New York-Style Pizza In Marylebone To See Whether It's Worth The Hype

I knew Alley Cats was the hot new kid on the block before I stepped foot through its glass doors; as a self-confessed pizza addict, I have my finger on the crust. Flashback to a couple of weeks ago and my TikTok feed was flooded with second-long clips that claimed to have discovered a slice of New York in London. My interest was piqued, so I jumped at the chance to pay a visit in the forthcoming days.

It was a cool, February evening when I set off to the Marylebone eatery, which I could spot a mile off as I walked up Paddington Street. There was a queue of people chattering outside, waiting to be seated for a helping of the good stuff. My dinner date and I were given a booth in the far right-hand corner of the room, backing onto the kitchen and with a fabulous view of the space’s quirky features. It felt as if we had wandered into a loft in The Big Apple, with its towering exposed brick and shabby concrete walls alongside industrial light fixtures.

Alley Cats Pizza London | DesignMyNightWe'll let the cat out of the bag: Alley Cats' pizza menu is to die for.

There were a handful of tables topped with checkered cloths and individual golden lamps, while American TV shows and films were projected on the wall opposite us. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of Rocky and I felt akin to Sylvester Stallone, as we both prepared for our greatest challenges ahead (albeit, mine in the stomach department).

My friend and I opted for a margarita (£12 each) to drink, which was a canned Moth cocktail poured into a glass, before delving straight into the 14-inch stars of the show. Our waiter was incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about the dough - when I mentioned we’d chosen the marinara, topped with smoked garlic, stracciatella plus basil (£17) and the margherita, featuring buffalo and aged mozzarella (£16) he was thrilled. I strongly believe a hallmark of a good pizza is how good the classic is and he was in agreement.

Alley Cats Pizza Menu Marylebone | DesignMyNightThere's street-side seating in the summer. 

He brought out two sizzling, spherical pizzas, parallel to each other and elevated by a silver rack, and placed them right in the middle of us. I must’ve gawped immediately, as I felt my mouth open at the sight of creamy stracciatella scattered across the top one, and gleaming, bubbling cheese caressed with shavings of parmesan below. Without hesitation, we tucked straight into the pre-sliced delights before us. I found the marinara to be incredibly moreish - I loved the depth of the sauce mixed with the smoky garlic, and how the light cheese complemented its richness. The dough was thin but the crusts had a good thickness and pull to them - ideal for dipping in some ranch sauce (£2) and garlic mayo (£2).

The margherita was salty and tangy - each slice held its shape and I didn’t find myself lethargic the same way I would after a couple of bites of a local takeaway. Then again, Alley Cats pizza in Marylebone is non-comparable. My friend was trying to have a catch up with me, but I found it impossible to rate my mood honestly in an environment that swayed it dramatically to the euphoric end of the scale.

Alley Cats Pizza Marylebone Menu | DesignMyNight

NYC to see you: Alley Cats don't scrimp on starters either.

We saved some to take home with us as the tiramisu, made with vanilla mascarpone, coffee, chocolate ladyfingers, roasted hazelnuts, salted peanuts and pistachio (£8) had caught my eye. When we tried to order, our waiter was adamant that we try both desserts, the other being some vanilla soft serve (£6) with an array of toppings, including fudge sauce.

We politely declined but our reluctance was brushed aside and within seconds a shiny silver bowl of whipped ice cream and two spoons appeared in front of us. Taking feeble slurps, we glared at each other with merciful eyes before our favoured dish arrived. The tiramisu melted fast, so I made godspeed as I slipped my spoon through the thick, sweet cream, grazing past icy layers of coffee-soaked sponge. I wasn’t sure whether I loved the savoury element of the nuts but by the end of the meal I was in such a pizza coma that I didn’t really mind.

The DesignMyNight Digest

I would thoroughly recommend Alley Cats pizza in London to anyone who’s looking to get a state-side bite without the hefty plane ticket. It’s a buzzing restaurant in a central location, albeit perhaps with a seating area that’s slightly on the small side. The downstairs is for the loos and ingredient storage only (which is kind of cool, I love seeing bags of flour in the wild). We had to raise our voices to be heard as it was loud in there but, once the food arrived, we didn’t talk much anyway.

  💰 The damage: £75 for two, excluding service charge.

  📍  The location: 22 Paddington Street, W1U 5QY.

  👌 Perfect for: A catch-up with friends.

 ⭐ Need to know: You won't find Alley Cats pizza reservations online as it’s walk-ins only, so be prepared to queue.


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