Pizza is big business in Bristol and is only getting bigger. In less than a fortnight, three new businesses serving mighty fine pizza have opened in quick succession (and on Thursday night, Bakers & Co. hosted an invite-only pizza party with the hopeful possibility of sharing the love wider in the new year).
Each of the alliterative triumvirate does something a bit different. Proven on St Stephen’s Street in the Old City sells pizza by the slice. Pinkmans on Park Street has pizza as part of a wider bakery offering.
The third in that trio is Pizzarova on the Gloucester Road almost opposite the Golden Lion, a restaurant and takeaway with a name like a Russian gymnast and which is committed to keeping Italy’s most famous export nice and simple.
‘The Lady’ is a margherita for £6. ‘Yours’ is any choice of 10 toppings – including anchovies, capers, chorizo and feta – for £9. ‘Ours’ is a constantly changing house selection for £10, which this week is sausage, chilli and fennel.
On the opening Thursday evening, there was only the margherita on offer with fresh and fragrant tomato, and flavoursome not overwhelming cheese on a firm but not crisp sourdough base.
In the middle of Pizzarova, formerly a travelling operation based out of a Land Rover, is a large communal table that can easily seat 16 people. A few stools in the window look uncomfortably low to sit on for adults, while tables for two jut out from one wall.
Bang on trend, various leaves of different shapes and sizes decorate some wooden shelving above the open kitchen area where a production line of chefs work like Trojans to keep the orders under control, three preparing the sourdough base, kneading, squeezing, pulling, prodding and spinning round and round, before passing it down the line.
Next the toppings are artfully sprinkled on like a canvas before it’s time to add the heat in a roaring wood-fired oven. It’s a slick operation, overseen by friendly and efficient front of house staff.
Drink options are simple here as well. There are two beers, cans of Pistonhead and Pistonhead Full Amber from Sweden; one cider, Westons’ canned craft cider Caple Road; one white and one red wine by the glass or bottle; with Cawston Press apple juice the only soft drink.
Among the ferns, menus, cap and t-shirt hanging on a metal grill are colourful postcards with white line drawings of hands in a few positions: flat, pointing, the thumb and forefinger sign that all is okay.
It’s a big thumbs-up for Pizzarova.
Pizzarova, 289 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 8NY