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, mammory tapes, club night, cheese music, vfd, dalston, stoke newington
Events

Bring Your Bedroom to the Club at VFD

If only there was a club night that could tap into that special pre night out time. Or at least play your taste in music, sometimes on repeat. Imagine! Lucky for you musical homebirds, bi-monthly club night Mammory Tapes intent to do just that at VFD in Stokey. All night long you can expect an all girl playlist and the best of your bedroom beats on the dance floor. So get ready to finally showcase your once unseen pyjama/half ready outfit based choreography.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, kerb, street food collective, donuts, ice cream, milkshake
Eat & Drink

Kerb’s Guiltiest Pleasures, All Weekend

“He said, I know It’s only arctic roll but I like it like it yes I dooooo” Those are the lyrics right? Well this weekend they certainly are, at Kerb’s Guiltiest Pleasure in Kings Cross featuring an arctic roll of pure indulgence. Over Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd July, the street food collective from your wildest dreams are hosting the most indulgent hits from all their pop ups at Granary Square.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, hivemind, theatre collective, hen and chickens theatre bar, improv show
Culture

Theatre of Choice: Stick and Twisted by Hivemind

Hivemind are coming to the Hen and Chickens Theatre this Summer with a cracker of an innovative show. Three directors try to win over the audience with improvised stories acted out by the rest of the Hivemind cast on the spur of the moment. As each scene ends you decide whether to “stick” and see where the story goes or “twist” and let the next director take over. The director who ends up with the least scenes acted out has to pay a ‘terrible forfeit’. Told you it was harsh.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, the lacy nook, stoke newington, balkan fusion, cuisine, bar, restaurant, menu, review, beer garden
Eat & Drink

Hidden Culinary Gem: The Lacy Nook

We have been wondering whether or not to share this secret gem with you for a while now. Having walked past Cazenove Road on many a drunken occasion, we’d spotted The Lacy Nook A Board luring us inwards with a siren’s call of cocktails and beer garden. But unfortunately we’d get the timing all wrong and they’d rarely be open. “Closed at 4am! How ludicrous?” we’d holler, slurring and swaying up the road. Until now. Opening last year, The Lacy Nook is a collaboration between two friends who turned to Kickstarter to help them achieve this culinary dream . Think small and large plates of fusion Balkan BBQ, salads and carpaccio alongside

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, NYT, Theatre, new play, playing up, acting course
Culture

Playing Up: New NYT Show, Three

This year, Playing Up have commissioned a new play by Sophie Ellerby (HighTide First Commissions Writer and NYT REP Company 2013), Three, which will be staged at the Arcola Theatre from 20th to 22nd July. The urban and domestic drama, directed by NYT Associate Director Anna Niland follows three sisters who fight to keep track of reality as their world is turned upside down.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, amusical, backyard comedy club, comedians, acts, tickets, bethnal green, josie long
Events

Laughable Acts at Backyard Comedy Club

Tonight, on this dull yet sweaty Monday, what you may well need is to show your confectionary based fillings to the ceiling and let it all out with a huge bellowing guffaw about nothing in particular. Let the likes of quick witted Josie Long, surreal twosome Max and Ivan and the downright uproarious Tom Parry help you escape the chocolate lacking reality of 2017.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, staffie, rehoming, dogs, adoption, foster, staffordshire bull terrier, all dogs matter charity
Lifestyle

Fur Dates: Lottie is Looking for Love

Registered charity, All Dogs Matter are a dog rehoming centre based in Archway. They use a mixture of foster homes and kennel spaces to house their dogs, who are each looking to be fostered or adopted. Occasionally we look through their profiles of beautiful singletons looking for love and feature one at random. We interviewed one newly single lady in particular called Lottie. A fun spirited character with smooth hair and a huge grin, Lottie was a right laugh.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, jumble trail, vintage clothing, caledonian road, car boot, stalls, bric-a-brac, treasure trove
Events

Get Involved: Cally Road Jumble Trail

Next Sunday it’s the Cally Road Jumble Trail, run by the community. Think a car boot sale but on the street with vintage clothing, accessories, toys, original creations and cakes if you’re lucky. The whole of the trail is set up online over at jumbletrail.com where visitors get a colour coded map to explore and discover all the hidden treasures on offer from your neighbourhood.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, wimbledon, tennis, screenings, lifestyle, list, article, what to do, white socks
Lifestyle List

Top Four ‘What the Deuce!’ Wimbledon Screening Spots

You’ve got your socks pulled up but no Cliff Richard in sight. You’re all white shorted up with nowhere to go. It’s time to find out where your white headbanded self will fit in. Here's our top four Wimbledon screening hang outs to try this Summer.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, yield n16, cheese, wine, newington green, wine, wine tasting
Eat & Drink Events

Midsummer Fizz Masterclass at Yield N16

Until five minutes ago I would’ve believed Pet Nat was a holistic dog food brand / veterinary business in Wood Green. I’m half right actually*, but in the boozios world it’s a fizzy wine. Pétillant Naturel is light and fizzy, usually pretty low on the alcohol scale and rather sweet. Think the opposite of a dry red wine.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington, abney park, dogs, dog walking, dog training, north london
Eat & Drink

World Foods Market, Abney Hall

Abney Public Hall is hosting a market of world food delicacies next weekend, having gathered together the creme de la creme of planet Earth’s cuisine. Prepare for a mass fusion of cultures, great food, drink and music just off Stoke Newington Church Street.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, avocado, brunch, eggs, breakfast, gentrification, city
Lifestyle

Quiz: How Gentrified Are You?

Otherwise known as the shoredification of London, there are four stages of denial when it comes to dealing with the inevitability of gentrification. Are you a dilapidated ol’ boozer clinging on to the same threads since 1989, or more of a craft beer-swilling/moustache-bearing pop up type propping up the bar at a cookie dough cafe? Let’s find out before your bedroom’s transformed in to a pop up belfie gallery.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, the literary hour, supper club, wind in the willows, kenneth grahame, themed event, dining, food, drink
Eat & Drink Events

Poop poop! Supper Club Banquet at Toad Hall

Poop poop! Get your driving gloves on and tweed jackets ready, for Toady has invited us down to Toad Hall for a banquet on the riverbank. Join The Literary Hour for their all new immersive supper club experience this Summer. It’s the eighth in their series of book themed events with multi-sensory five course meals featuring additional surprises… Ooh ratty!

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, open mic night, the mosutache bar, stoke newington, events, comedians, acts, music, singers, actors
Culture

Comedians, Rappers, Actors: Open Mic Night in Stokey

Every last Thursday of the month a motley crew of performing acts shuffle off to the skinny little Moustache Bar on Stoke Newington Road for a night of microphone hogging. It’s Open Mic night and the stage isn’t just available to acoustic guitar yielding crooners. The floor is open for all you comedians, rappers, poets, hell even actors are welcome to come tread the boards at Moustache Bar this Thursday 27th July.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington, walking tour, history, guided tour, event, to do, streets, shops
Events Lifestyle

Walking Tour of Stokey's Rebel History

Ah Stokey. You chilled out little rebel of North London. The seemingly easy breezy, laissez-faire attitude that appears to exude from every award winning eatery and baby clothes shop of Church Street is all but an organic hessian veil over it’s anarchic and rebellious history. Nonconformists, anti fascists and dissenters built the area as we know it.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, joginders supper club, punjabi cuisine, eating, dining
Eat & Drink

Eating North London: Punjabi Supperclub Recipe

Trying our luck, we decided to ask the wonderful Raina and Saira of Joginder Supper Club to give us some unseen insight in to their centuries old Punjabi recipes. Amazingly they agreed to shed some light on one of their most tasty dishes: the Bhoolghobi Tamatar (cauliflower with tomato and potato). Over to the experts...

Read More...