Our Samina heads down to a little known pizza chain in Wandsworth that has laid down some London routes. It’s called PizzaStorm and it’s really big on choices…
Italian. Pizza and salad.
Mostly families with young children. Hungry shoppers stroll in and there’s the odd couple here and there. There seems to be a kid’s birthday party here too.
In A Word:
Being roughly 25% Italian and growing up on my grandmother’s homemade pizzas, I’m always a tad sceptical whenever an eatery claims to make ‘great pizza’. I don’t mean to be picky, it’s just pizza is an art form all its own and it’s easy to get wrong, as I’m sure many of you have discovered. Also, with so many pizza establishments out there, it’s hard to identify any stand-out places. However, as a devoted pizza fan, I’m always keen to try new places to get my pizza fix.
This is PizzaStorm’s first venture in London and in terms of location, Wandsworth is the ideal place. Full of shoppers, students, kids and workers, it has the potential to pull in a big crowd… but can PizzaStorm really take London by, well, storm?
Much like the other eateries lined up along the outer rim of Southside Shopping Centre, PizzaStorm’s exterior is predominantly glass with their fancy logo displayed loud and proud in the centre. There’s also an al fresco eating area. Nothing too exciting just yet. As you walk in and get an overall view of the interior, you get the impression that you’re in a department store-esque canteen. At least that’s what I think as Jack and I queue up for our first round of food (yup queueing). Will it improve?
At least that’s what I think as Jack and I queue up for our first round of food (yup queueing). Will it improve?
On the surface, this is pretty much your standard fast food setting. There’s a refrigerated unit showing off little plastic pots of coleslaw, guacamole and other sides, all the food is laid out in front of you on the counter and there’s a till in the corner – pretty much like a canteen. There’s also a drinks station where you can help yourself once you’ve paid. However, if you pay more attention to the décor, you start to see something interesting.
There’s a sort of intertwining of styles. There are chic wooden table tops with metal plant and cutlery pots and above the tables are soft lamps hanging straight down from the black industrial-style ceiling. In a strange way, it works and gives the restaurant a more trendy, lest ‘fast’ vibe. Let’s see if the food works for us too.
Salad bowls are PizzaStorm’s newest addition and you can choose from a large or small bowl. Naturally, Jack and I opt for a large bowl each.
We choose our salad leaves, consisting of rocket and baby leaf and follow as the bowls change hands to get topped with more ingredients, in a similar fashion to Subway. I add piri-piri chicken to mine along with red and yellow peppers and parmesan cheese. Jack and I choose a French dressing to finish and as we wait, we feel a tad underwhelmed by the experience. Maybe our brains are fried from making all these salad decisions…?
We receive our bowls and tuck in. We’re generally pleased with our choices, although the mushrooms Jack asked for were nowhere to be seen. Possibly a minor oversight? They are pretty good, although they’re a bit pricey…. Healthy options obviously cost more, but there are places offering healthy salads for cheaper. Nevertheless, it’s a moreish start.
Onto the second round and the bit I’m getting quite excited for – pizza! Having exhausted our decision-making brain cells from the salad, Jack and I choose one of their ‘Hall of Flames’. You may think it’s defeating the purpose of PizzaStorm, but their selections sound intriguing, and neither of us have the capacity to make any more topping decisions (‘decision fatigue’, it’s a thing)
So we queue up again. I order the Al’otta Greens and Jack orders the Sunny Side Erupt with a side order of Guacamole Shot Pot. We watch and follow the base sauce and toppings are layered on in the same conveyor belt fashion as the salads.
(I can see why children are attracted to this restaurant. It’s fascinating to watch a pizza being created right in front of you.) Off it goes into the glorious oven burning at 900 degrees and I’m feeling more excited. (You know you’re going to get a decent pizza when you hear the word ‘stone-baked.’)
So how does it taste? Unexpected. I’ve got to hand it to them, this is a pretty awesome pizza. It definitely has that stone-oven flavour. The base is well cooked with a crispy crust without that lingering burnt taste. The classic tomato base is sweet and tangy on the palate and the spinach really lifts the trio of cheeses.
Jack’s quite happy with his pizza too. The flavours are unusual for me, but the combination of creamy white sauce, perfectly cooked egg and bacon makes you think of carbonara and it works so well. Maybe the ideal pizza for brunch? The guacamole is less spicy than expected, an OK accompaniment I suppose.
You have the choice of going for bottomless ice cream for dessert. As tempted as I am, it will only send me into a food coma…
The Next Day
Many of us like eating pizza the next day, so I kept two slices to find out how it tastes. I like to eat it cold, so is it any good now? Surprisingly yes. The base is firm without that jaw-breaking toughness you usually get after leaving pizza in the fridge overnight. I feel the tomato base has matured and sweetened slightly and although the cheeses have hardened, they managed to keep their flavours along with the spinach.
I wonder what Jack’s pizza would taste like cold? Considering it has egg and bacon… [Ed: there’s never any left tp try cold :3]
Pizza chains are ten-a-penny nowadays, there is a lot of competition out there and it’s hard to stand out, but PizzaStorm is well worth a visit. They’re all about creativity and giving customers the freedom to choose. A sentiment that generally goes down well [Ed: provided you make the right choices, I suppose? Just like life]. The staff are friendly and chatty and you feel you can relax here.
Their salad bowls have potential, you can create lots of different flavours, but it is a tad expensive for what it is. Of course, their biggest strength is their pizza and ultimately this is what will attract the masses. As I say, there’s stiff competition out there, but it’s the surprisingly authentic pizza taste and the creativity that makes PizzaStorm a highlight. Not bad