Straight outta Napoli: Pizzeria di Camden

Written by: Sophie Taylor

We love Camden! It’s so different to anywhere else

The freshest of dough, massaged tomatoes and a wood fire oven full of love. It’s Camden’s newest Pizzeria straight outta Napoli. We were lucky enough to get a taste of what this authentic Italian restaurant has to offer. And it was gooood.

The brains and hearts beating behind it all are Sanaa Ahmed and Jose Pacheco, possessing a very healthy obsession with all things pizza. Using only the freshest of responsibly sourced ingredients, the team create the highest calibre of pizza pairing natural products with 200 year old Neapolitan tradition and techniques.

North Four, North London magazine, Pizzeria di Camden, pizza, interview, article, restaurant

We spoke to Sanaa about and massaging tomatoes, tiramisu recipes and 22 year old master pizziolos.

How do you find the location?

“We love Camden! We’ve lived here since 2008. We love the energy, it’s pretty full on. It’s different to anywhere else in London.

And in some ways has lots of elements of London in one place

“Yes. It’s positive here, we’re looking forwards not back. Camden doesn’t need to live up to the negative stereotype it might have. A lot of tourists might come here but that’s because it has something different and they are bringing money to the community. It’s a good thing!”

We start to admire the wall fixtures and signage.

North Four, North London magazine, Pizzeria di Camden, pizza, interview, article, restaurant

Who made the design decisions?

“That’s Jose and myself. With Isobel, too, Jose’s sister. We wanted something very simple and not too provocative because we want to integrate and blend in to the surrounding Camden Town.” 

The focus is on the food!

“Of course!”

Admiring their beautiful signage like us? That’s all down to our very own talentful designer and letterer, Josh Harriss, aka The A Board Dude  who hand-painted their fascia and menu boards. Snazz. 

Cristiano has been making pizza since he was four years old.
North Four, North London magazine, Pizzeria di Camden, pizza, interview, article, restaurant

Suddenly a bearded young fellow wearing a personalised tee shirt appears to emerge from the wood fire oven in a basil infused haze. It’s award winning pizza champion, Cristiano de Rinaldi.

So how did you meet Cristiano?

“It was in Naples. Jose was doing a course called Vesuvius which is where you learn how to make the best pizza of Naples. Cristiano was his teacher, he is a master pizziolo. Then we brought him back with us!”

You convinced him to move to London?

“Exactly! He said yeah, why not! He’s only 22. He has been making pizza since he was four years old. We are a very young team and we’re like a family. Jose is the only one not here right now because he was up early making the dough and has a job. That is what keeps our pizza healthy, using freshly made dough that we would never refrigerate, made with Caputo ‘00’ flour.”

North Four, North London magazine, Pizzeria di Camden, pizza, interview, article, restaurant

You obviously place a huge emphasis on your ingredients

“The produce we use is very important. We want to show people that you can get great food for cheap. Pizza is like a synonym for fast food but it’s actually not, you should take your time with it. We use all the best ingredients in our pizza. For example we only use tomato san marzano which is the best tomato to use. It’s very fragile, it comes from Campania in Italy. You have to massage the tomato before using it on the pizza because you can completely ruin the whole of the pizza otherwise. The tomato sauce is very important. It’s so sweet, it’s lovely.”

Sanna promptly jumps up and brings over a plate of Marinara pizza for us to try

Cue noises of delight

“This is the the classic Marinara pizza that the people of Naples will always order. Either this or the margherita. You can have it with anchovies, but the Neapolitan way is with tomato, oregano and garlic. That’s it.”

North Four, North London magazine, Pizzeria di Camden, pizza, interview, article, restaurant

More noises of delight.

The marinara is an immediate hit with us. This is an above average slice, brimming with freshness. 

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” Yes, our photgrapher Mike finds time to quote Steve Jobs while stuffing his face with garlic. “If Apple made pizzas!” he continues.

He’s on fire! And he’s not wrong. The dough is perfect. Not the default burnt like a crispy match and certainly not too thick like those donut-esque pizzas you wolf down on a hangover. No, you can tell the ingredients are high quality and inordinate amounts of love and devotion have gone in to this recipe. What’s more, we didn’t feel bloated afterwards as we usually would after a carb binge.

It’s good for people to learn about the food they’re buying and consuming.
North Four, North London magazine, Pizzeria di Camden, pizza, interview, article, restaurant

What do you normally have for lunch?

“Well I try every pizza throughout the day all the time. Then for dinner, the best for me is the queen Margherita made with the buffalo di mozarella. The tomato is really important like I said, but the mozzarella is equally as important. You have two types of mozarella: the fior di latte which is the fresh mozzarella from the cow. All the mozzarella you see in the markets and shops is from the cow yes, but it is not fresh. You then have the buffalo di mozzarella, coming from the buffalo of course. So for me the best is the original buffalo mozzarella because it is always fresh and can be eaten on it’s own. Italian people prefer mozzarella with nothing. No olive oil, nothing. It is really beautiful. Usually people ask what the difference is and that is great. It’s good for people to learn about the food they’re buying and consuming. They’re going to look at their cheese at the shop and think, ah! But this isn’t the fresh one. Perhaps I’ll keep looking and find some fresh fior di latte.”

North Four, North London magazine, Pizzeria di Camden, pizza, interview, article, restaurant
Don’t count your hours and don’t think you’re going to be rich.

You try to keep it local don’t you?

“Yes, and we keep our prices very cheap so that more people can enjoy our food. For the quality of the food it is very cheap here and affordable.”

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start up their own restaurant?

“Oh wow. I would say a lot of passion, a lot of love for the food and what you do. Don’t count your hours and don’t think you’re going to be rich. You will be here all the time, working more than 16 hours a day for the love of it. You’ll work for you though which is fantastic.”

North Four, North London magazine, Pizzeria di Camden, pizza, interview, article, restaurant

Thank you so much for inviting us Sanaa and letting us eat your massaged tomatoes. We returned to the office with a whole aubergine pizza for everyone that took a lot of will power not to inhale on the way. Pizzeria di Camden offer gluten free options on all of their pizzas too so don’t you go feeling left out. Unlike our gluten free editor who, once realising the pizza we’d come back with was made with normal flour, tipped her desk. Sorry Claire. We’ll definitely be going back, if not just to try their Amaretto and chocolate tiramisu. Be still my coagulating heart.

Pizzeria di Camden are open Tuesday – Saturday 12noon – 3pm & 5 – 10:30pm, Sunday 5pm – 10:30pm

Go on, have a look at their menu here.

Photos by Mike Barry

North Four, North London magazine, kings cross remix, good times, london clubbing, theatre, play, review, night life, interview, Tom Marshman

Finding Humour in Dark Times: Performance Artist Tom Marshman   

Currently showing at Camden People’s Theatre, performance artist Tom Marshman’s play Kings Cross (Remix) is a glorious celebration of a bygone era. The show is a tightly crafted journey through the stories of some of the people who made up the 1980s Kings Cross LGBTQ scene. Bursting with warmth, charm and affection, the play is a must see for anyone interested in learning more about London’s alternative history.

North Four, North London magazine, strong and stable my arse, Theresa May, prime minister, tories, Jeremy Deller, campaign, politics

'Strong and Stable My Arse' is all of us

The Londoner behind 'Strong and Stable My Arse'. It’s a simple message. A slogan that’s straight to the point. 'Strong and Stable My Arse’ is a statement everyone can understand with a wry grin as they spot it slathered onto billboards, phone boxes and brick walls around the UK. So who could possibly be behind such a simple, cheeky, dig in the ribs campaign? Someone who knows his audience, who knows the mindset of the British like the back of his left hand.

North Four, North London magazine, bank holiday plans, May, to do list, pizza, festival, drinking, eateries, day trip, deli

Top Four "Imma Get Greedy" Second Helpings of Bank Holiday

For some, a second bank holiday brings with it an extra day of anxiety as you wonder how to fill the 24 hour void that desk bound coffee fuelled typing usually fills. If you’re not content to lie horizontal letting gravity slide pizza down your throat, here’s our plans for your second Bank Holiday of the month.

North Four, North London magazine, kings cross remix, good times, london clubbing, theatre, play, review, night life

Theatre of Changing Spaces: Kings Cross in the '80s

“Only last night I found myself lost / by the station called King's Cross. / Dead and wounded on either side / you know it's only a matter of time.” [Pet Shop Boys - Kings Cross] It’s the night after the play and I’m standing at the bar of ‘The Big Chill House’ on Pentonville Road in Kings Cross. It’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ (#TBT) and happy hour is definitely over.

North Four, North London magazine, laura bird, ceramics, pottery, glaze, figures, planters, candles, artist

Local Creatives: Laura Bird Ceramics

Ceramics with charisma. Local pottery genius, Laura Bird has of course graced the digital pages of It’s Nice That, sold out in Anthropologie* and taken her seat at many a London ceramics stall since just recently starting her career in ceramics. It’s no surprise she is well loved: her unique and gentle humour exudes from every jar, planter and candlestick holder, adorned with cheeky expressions and impish grins.

North Four, North London magazine, walnut cafe and dining, restaurant, cuisine, launch, stroud green, finsbury park
Eat & Drink

Fresh Comfort Food: Walnut Cafe and Dining

Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike. Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.

North Four, North London magazine, supper club, twin peaks, cuisine, dining, olivia potts, kate young, food writers, chefs, twin peaks, agent cooper

Twin Peaks Supper Club, North London

At the time of writing this the menu has just been released for Food by Feast’s new supper club. I imagine, however, that by the time you read this every dining space will be swiftly filled. If you aren’t acquainted with the duo yet (tsk), they’re the genius collaboration of Cordon Bleu chef and food writer Olivia Potts and Guardian food writer and cook, Kate Young. Having successfully completed the likes of a Gilmore Girls supper club to rapturous applause and smacking lips recently, the latest menu experience is Twin Peaks inspired and looks equally witty and delectable.

North Four, North London magazine, sound bath, gong bath experience, healing, stoke newington, event, meditation,

Get Your Shaman On: Gong Bath in Stokey

Sound healing in Stoke Newington. This Thursday 18th May, The Mystery School of Sound are running a de-stress gong bath experience in Stoke Newington Ramadan Mosque. Alongside guided meditation, healing process and gong performace, you’ll get a mini intro to healing traditions of the druids and hermetic teaching.

North Four, North London magazine, cannes film festival, the artist, screening, film, the rose and crown, pub, Patron pop up cinema

Pop Up Cinema: Celebrate Cannes in Kentish Town

Patron Cave a Manger’s pop up cinema are shacking up at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town to screen The Artist. Soak up the atmoshpere of the Festival du Cannes with swanky popcorn and elegant cocktails. Get red carpet ready for this special screening of The Artist - the ridiculously popular award winning silent French film that everyone fell in love with.

North Four, North London magazine, arancini brothers, risotto balls, street food, pop up, food stall, stoke newington food market, church street, wrap

Stokey Food Market: Fundraising for the Community

Unfortunately rising rents are affecting community spaces in Stoke Newington and their availability. St Mary’s Centre currently provides a space for projects including the Foodbank, Hackney Migrants centre and the Night Shelter but they're at risk of losing their space. To help raise funds to redevelop the space and increase awareness, they are organising a weekend food market in Stokey. The pop-up food market is a launch event for their huge fundraising drive to rebuild the community rooms attached to St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington.

North Four, North London magazine, kate oates, yoga, instagram, chocolate mousse, raspberry, healthy, recipe, avocado, cacao
Eat & Drink

Eating North London: Healthy Chocolate Breakfast with Kate Oates

Healthy chocolate mousse and sexing up your smoothie with Kate Oates. We have found ourselves a yoga guru in Kate Oates, a healthtastic yogi based in Crouch End. When we met her last year she hinted at a few of her own culinary creations and boy were we intrigued. Asking for an exclusive recipe for you health conscious readers, we received a taste sensation of an idea for chocolate breakfast.

North Four, North London magazine, single cylinders, speed dating, bolt motorbike shop, alternative dating

Alternative Speed Dating with Single Cylinders

“All My Single Cylinders, All My Single Cylinders”. Two girls, sick to the back teeth of Tindering and Bumbling about the bars of London, decided to create their own speed dating night. Involved in the biker community of East London they have created a special series of nights combining live music, motorbikes and speed dates. Bolt Motorbike Shop of Stoke Newington is their latest venue, providing a more intriguing backdrop for your date night and quashing the usual awkwardness of sparse, brightly lit speed dating scenarios. You can admire the motors, enjoy your free drinks and listen to some live music with some top notch handpicked company.

North Four, North London magazine, proper piirakka, Karelian pasties, pies, pop up, cuisine, finland, Aapo Nieminen
Eat & Drink

Pop Up Proper Piirakka in Finsbury Park

In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re basically a light pastie made with rye flour and a pretty unique variety of filling options. Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday finish life. One day I thought why not just make them yourself?”


North London Bike Tour: Giro d'North Four

The lycra is optional. Coffee however, isn't. On Friday 197 cyclists descended on Sardinia to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For those of you that don't have wardrobes filled with lycra you might never of heard of it but Think Tour d'France but in Italy. Still drawing a blank?

North Four, North London magazine, cookie dough, cafe, naked dough, old street
Eat & Drink

Millenial Munchers Heaven: Cookie Dough Cafe

Naked Dough have appeared like a pair of beautiful fairy godmothers to lead me to an actual edible cookie dough dance party. Plus they didn’t even tell me what I should wear, they genuinely don’t care. Naked Dough is a new restaurant serving edible cookie dough from tubs, cones and even carry home pots. The ingredients are raw egg free and the flour is heat-treated so you need not worry-like-Edwina-Currie about salmonella and stomach bloat (unless you’re gluten free of course. In which case I’m sorry you’ve stumbled upon this torture page of an article).

North Four, North London magazine, mint vintage, denim, jeans, launch, party, stoke newington

MINT Vintage, The Denim Edition

Ten years ago MINT Vintage first opened in Covent Garden before moving on to the more creative surrounds of Stoke Newington, pioneering fashion forward vintage. Every piece is hand selected and sourced from all over the world, ensuring every garment is trend driven but timeless and always unique. This May they’ve decided to transform their world in to an “oops we were trying to make corduroy and came up with denim” dreamland*.