If you have seen those fever tree advertisements, saying if 3/4 of your G&T is tonic water, make sure you are using a top quality one; then you might wonder why this revolution hasn’t happened in terms of the dough in pizzas? After all, the main ingredient of pizza is the dough. Well the opening of Zia Lucia on Holloway Road is about to modernise our expectations of a premium pizza-dining experience.
It’s hard to find much culinary excitement on Holloway Road, hence you almost wonder if it is a mirage when you approach the gleaming glass doors of Zia Lucia. With wooden floor panels, exposed brickwork and filament light bulbs, this was most definitely typical trendy London decor. There is a large display of local craft beer and also their famous pizza oven, nicknamed ‘Dante’ at the back of the room.
The name Zia Lucia translates to ‘Auntie Lucia’ which is named after one of the owner’s aunt: a warm and kind-hearted member of the family and community back in Rome and this has been translated to the style and feel of this neighbourhood restaurant. Service is attentive and always with a friendly, Italian smile; the pizzaiolo is merrily twirling the dough in the background and the owners are always around to check for customer satisfaction.
There seems to be a growing trend of offering appetisers and desserts on pizza-sized dough: the mortadella with focaccia wouldn’t have looked out-of-place as a main course. The roasted aubergines, courgettes and peppers looked colourful and tasted juicy and appetising.
It is the choice on the dough for the pizza that really makes Zia Lucia stand out amongst the crowded marketplace: they offer traditional, gluten-free, wholemeal and vegetable charcoal. They prepare the dough using a traditional formula with a 48 hour slow-fermentation process. This results in a chewy dough which absorbs the toppings much better than the Roman style thin and crispy varieties. All the options we tried were surprisingly digestible especially the charcoal variety which is known to have ‘digestive gas-absorbing capabilities’. You can use your colourful imagination to think what this means exactly.
The arianna pizza we tried was a masterpiece even Michelangelo would have been proud of: the mozzarella, tallegio goat cheese and pecorino cheese were indulgently divine and made completely decadent by the addition of truffle honey and fresh sausage. Unlike other pizzerias, they don’t skimp on the ingredients here, the mariona pizza we tried was covered with premium speck.
The General Manager has lived and worked on Holloway Road for over 20 years, but here’s hoping they are willing to start new branches in other areas of London, because we would all like an Auntie Lucia in our neighbourhood.