Search For The Perfect Pizza: NY Fold

Social media marketing sometimes works, guys!

NY Fold followed me on Twitter, I guess following all the people that had started following other pizza places (a moment of madness and desire which I have since undone). I looked at the website and decided that it warranted a visit.

The vast majority, in fact, possibly all, of the pizza places that I have visited in London on my quest thus far have been Italian-style pizzas. I do love me a good NY-style pizza, and I was becoming quite tired with the Italian style as really there is very little to choose between them. Sourdough for some, crispier for others. All thin, all fine.

NY Fold’s “famous” pizza is the award winning Pitt Master. That was sold out. I asked the host what he would recommend. Hans had said that The Butcher Shoppe looked good, but I like to hear the expert’s opinion.

“The Butcher Shoppe. When I first tried it, I wanted to cry with happiness.”

2/2 meant that I ordered The Butcher Shoppe.

The host said that we could sit while we waited. Stools and tables were high, as was my anticipation level. The full pizzas are 20″ and decadent, and their slices still looked to be the latter part of that acclamation.

Their placemats advertised a prize where you could win a dinner for 8. If only I knew 7 other people.

The pizza came. The host thanked us and we left. I made a note that at £3.95 a slice and with such good, pleasant service I should visit again.

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I can’t decide whether this looks good or terrible. It was big. And it tasted wonderful. Not quite like I could cry, but it was the most satisfying pizza that I have had on my quest so far.

The crust is thicker than the Italian style, and there is a pleasing chew to it. I love to masticate. Plus the toppings are generous, something that many other pizza places could learn from (whatever, I realise that the base and sauce is something that pizza places pride themselves on, but when toppings are miserly, it puts a dampener on the experience).

A good slice to eat while struttin’. My hands were covered in sauce.

A few weeks later I gave a quick round-up of the best pizza places that I’ve tried so far and I said that NY Fold was the best for American-style (something that I still stand by). A member of my audience (of people at work) said “no, Voodoo Ray’s is best for that sort of stuff.” I have never tried Voodoo Ray’s, and she has never tried NY Fold, but in the spirit of making ill-researched comments I will stand by my sentiment that NY Fold is the best for NY-style pizza. (And at least it isn’t in Shoreditch). Plus, she’s a vegetarian, so does her opinion really amount to much?

8/10 – something something New York something, ayyyy!

NY Fold, 103 Charing Cross Road, Soho, London WC2H 0DT

 

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Manger en Français/A Vague Journey Through Burgers: The Frenchie

The second day with Kate following our Brasserie Zédel excursion the night before. To Southbank market!

Earlier, outside Tate Britain, I bumped into someone that I went to school with and hadn’t seen in several years. We had a mini catch up which was sweepingly generic, as these kinds of catch ups tend to be. I haven’t bumped into anyone from school before or since.

Before going to Le Bun the day before, I had decided that I would finally try the confit duck burger at The Frenchie, having been tempted by it before at both Southbank and Brick Lane. That is three french meals in two days. Arteries be damned. Waistline be damned. Diet starts tomorrow.

The menu is quite simple: confit duck burgers. They come with a red onion marmalade, some form of light salad, duck crackling, and a choice of either stilton, goats or cheddar cheese.

I was torn between stilton and goat so asked the server for advice. Stilton, no question. I, and the majority of the queue, went for stilton. We were all correct.

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Kate said that it was the best burger she ever had. Alas, Le Bun won out because of its le crunch, but this was still better than 99% of the burgers that I have ever eaten. Depending on your cheese stance, this may have won out against Le Bun, but pour oui le texture est tres importante (languages were never the strong suit). There was some crunch with the crackling, but not the same as the crisp bite of the frites of Le Bun – carbs, too, may be more appealing than fat. The conclusion is that duck beats beef and ham. Walk, swim, fly, get into my bel-ly.

We walked for miles to try and undo our hours of greed, but I still gained that weekend.

The Frenchie, Southbank food market and elsewhere 8/10 – beaten by a day

Manger en Français: Brasserie Zédel

Kate was coming to stay. I asked her if there was anything in particular that she wanted to do, and she said eat and see me.

Both of these things I could do.

She is from, and still lives in, Stoke-on-Trent, a place where the restaurant scene is so advanced that their newly-opening Pizza Express made the news. As long as it wasn’t Italian or English, she said, she would be happy.

Brasserie Zédel came to my attention in Time Out, where its boeuf bourguignon was listed as one of the best comfort foods in London. I suggested this to Kate and she agreed.

It is located on a backstreet near Piccadilly Circus. There are doormen in fancy coats, a grand entrance, a grand staircase, a grand hallway, and a grand dining room.

“We definitely aren’t in Stoke anymore.”

I was never in Stoke, Kate. Don’t speak on my behalf.

It is a beautiful art deco building, which Kate particularly took to as the 1920s is her favourite time period. She is a history teacher, which makes it slightly less strange that she would mention this in day-to-day conversation. And at least she picked a time period that had indoor plumbing. Those who romanticise the Tudor period haven’t thought it through fully.

A jazz band played in the background.

It was quite loud, but more of an exciting loud of being in a big city – interesting conversation punctuated by loud music (I didn’t hear any conversations necessarily, but it is nice to presume) – that made it an enjoyable place to be rather than a chore. I felt pleased with myself that I managed to find a place that was both fancy and affordable.

Bread came. Neither of us ate the bread. We were once stung in Crete when they brought bread (how nice!) then proceeded to charge us €1 per semi-stale roll (the nerve!).

We both went for the boeuf bourguignon. I thought about going for the coq au vin so that we could share our food, but my heart was on le boeuf, and I tend not to order chicken at restaurants, which I put down as a symptom of having worked at Nando’s.

It doesn’t say that it comes with pommes puree on the menu, but the waitress thankfully checked me before I (partially) wrecked me (wallet) and tried to order it as a side.

The lighting wasn’t great for pictures, but was lovely for ambiance. Again, how nice to be in a big city! We arrived at 9:40 and they dimmed the lights at about 10pm, in case you liked noting that sort of thing.

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Branded plates: the height of sophistication

It is an almost perfect winter dish. I should learn to cook it. My step-dad, who is French, says that it is quite simple, but his simple is my calculus.

When I moved to London briefly two years ago, one of the girls that I worked with asked if I had ever been to Brasserie Zédel, a fact that I only remembered on reading the Time Out article. She said that they do very good desserts at quite reasonable prices. She was mildly pompous so I expected that her “reasonable price” would be my “retirement fund”, but in this case she was right.

I went for the tart au citron, Kate for the creme brulee (to hell with proper accenting).

Dessert came. The woman at the table next to me asked what I had. I told her. She paid her bill and left. I’d like to think that she returned at a later date to sample the tart. Tart on tart on tart.

The recommendation was correct. The lemon tart was light, refreshing and with the pastry made just right. The perfect palate cleanser after a heavy meal.

Kate cracker her creme brulee (THWPA), took a bite and made a face.

We swapped desserts.

I have never liked creme brulee, but clearly I have never had a good one. Kate said it was the best she had ever tasted, then proceeded to not be able to finish it as it was too sweet and large. It was a very generous creme brulee. I finished both desserts.

We continued to talk til 12:30 then experienced the wonders of London at night by crossing the most disappointing of the central bridges (Westminster).

The toilets, along with the rest of the decor, were plush.

An endearing collision of high class surroundings, rustic food, phenomenal desserts, and good value.

 

Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED 8.5/10 – It’s so art deco…