With 15 pizzerias nationwide, we’re clearly not the only ones who see the enduring appeal of Pizza Pilgrims. The crust kings have established themselves as one of the leading lights of London’s Neapolitan craze, even adapting to the pandemic with their hugely popular Pizza in the Post venture. Fresh out of lockdown, they’ve already lit up Waterloo with a brand new restaurant and we were keen to try it out pronto.
Sat at the Waterloo Station end of Lower Marsh, the Tricolore frontage of the venue stands out against its neighbours, with declarations of ‘Hot Pizza’ and ‘Cold Beer’ emblazoned across the awnings. On a warm July evening, their alfresco terrace makes the ultimate location for sipping on an ice-cold negroni (£6.75) with friends and watching sweaty teenagers getting turned away from Cubana. While the heat of the night keeps us from dining inside the restaurant, a peek through the window offers a scene of checkered tablecloths, wooden benches and an open kitchen for you to watch these talented dough-slingers do their thing.
For starters, we get stuck into gooey mac and cheese balls (£5) served with a dunkable pesto dip, as well as a simple rocket, parmesan and balsamic salad (£5) - because a) health is wealth and b) it’s important to eat tactically if you want to squeeze a whole pizza and ideally a dessert into yourself. Having not had Pizza Pilgrims since before the pandemic - it was actually the last restaurant I went to before lockdown - I’m excited to see some fresh additions to their old lineup. The Mama’s Boy Meatball (£12.75) is one of the highlights, offering classic tomato and fior di latte mozzarella topped with dollops of ricotta, balsamic glaze and slow-roasted beef and sausage meatballs. Every mouthful packs the rich flavour of their signature sauce and sticky glaze, strings of soft, melted cheese and moreish nuggets of juicy meat.
A key rule when it comes to eating Neapolitan pizza: never forget the dip. And lucky for you (and me), Pizza Pilgrims is home to the dip. I think about their white truffle mayo (£2) at least once a week, and try to recreate it at least once a month, but no homemade attempt has ever lived up to the sharp, nutty, creaminess of the real deal. While the crusts here may be perfectly puffy and speckled with smokey char, all I see is a vessel for this, the true meal.
As the offer of dessert arrives, I realise the tactical salad has not worked. I am full. Stuffed. Completely packed with pizza, truffle dip and house red (£5.50), fingers and toes slowly filling up with Mama’s meatballs. My heart says, ‘Nutellamisu’ (£7), but my stomach says, ‘signora, please, we are at capacity’. Thankfully, a middle ground is found - a doggy bag. And I can tell you that Kahlua-soaked sponge and Nutella cream tastes even better after 12 hours coagulating in my fridge.
The DesignMyNight Digest
A great new string to the Pizza Pilgrims bow, this latest Waterloo location is a must if you're looking to get your fill of delicious pizza and fabulously affordable negronis. The Italian-inspired favourites have maintained a level of charm and authenticity that many brands their size have struggled to maintain, and no, I'm not just biased because of the dip. But also yes, I am biased because of the dip.
💰 The damage: £66 between two, plus service charge.
📍 The location: 82 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London, SE1 7AB.
👌 Perfect for: Casual dinners with friends, family and partners.
⭐ Need to know: They offer some of the cheapest cocktails in the area,
Looking for more SE1 eats? Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Waterloo here.