12 June 2017

A New Pizzeria on Bellenden Road — Made of Dough Review

I was sad when I heard that The Beautiful Pizza Boy, the Peckham pizza-and-cocktail joint run by the fine people of Pedler and Little Bird Gin, had closed down a little while ago. However, like a phoenix rising from its floury ashes, a new pizzeria has just opened on the same spot on Bellenden Road. Made of Dough has been trading at Pop Brixton for a couple of years but Bellenden Road is its first permanent spot.

Last weekend was their soft launch so we and — thanks to an impressive array of London media and blog mentions — many others headed down to Peckham on Saturday evening to check it out. We got there just before 6:30 pm, which was lucky, given that over the next few minutes, the queue seemed to grow exponentially. We were a group of three and had to wait about an hour for a table but twosomes and those willing to eat at the bar were seated more rapidly. We soon reached the bar, which is at the front end of the long, narrow restaurant, and could order from the drinks menu, which included beers, wines and Italian-influenced cocktails.

Given the weather, the Amalfi lemon bellinis were proving popular, although not as much as the spritzes — made, I believe, with Prosecco, Aperol, gin and San Pellegrino aranciata — which I tried and which slipped down very nicely with my pizza. One of our group tried the bellini, which was nice but very sweet and came with more foliage than needed given that the gin was also rosemary- and thyme-infused.

I'm glad we waited for a table because we got to sit in the small patio area at the back of the restaurant, which was perfect for such a warm, sunny evening. The interiors are similar to the space's Beautiful Pizza Boys days — exposed-brick walls, hip pendant lights and simple wooden furniture — although less colourful and a little more bling. The pizza oven remains in the centre, which means the delicious smell of pizza wafts throughout the restaurant, helping me build up my appetite while I waited.

The pizzas start at £6.75 for a margherita, with the most expensive being the truffle pizza (£11). One of the pizzas includes lamb merguez from Flock & Herd, the excellent butcher across the road, while another has grilled artichoke hearts, rosemary, cold-pressed garlic oil and lemon. Because I prefer tomato sauce to fresh cherry tomatoes on my pizza, I ordered a margherita with serrano ham rather than the serrano pizza (which also came with baby kale — not my choice of pizza topping). We were all very happy with our pizzas: the bases were great (chewy, puffy and very moreish), and the toppings were high quality and generously portioned. The pizzas themselves were of a good size too.

As it was 50% off everything, we tried several of the salumi side dishes (£3.50 or £4 each), including the olives, which came with pane carasau (Sardinian flat bread); spicy salchichón with peppercorns; carpaccio di zucchini; and cavolo nero with celeriac and pomegranate. I don't eat courgettes, so I only tried the other three dishes, which I enjoyed very much; the courgette did seem to be the weakest link anyway.

I didn't strictly need a dessert but I couldn't resist the call of the motherf**king [sic] peanut and vanilla gelato shake (£4.90). It was delicious and came in a rather fun cup. Sadly, it slipped down all too quickly.

Given how busy it was — the queue was still well out the door when we left — the staff were friendly and welcoming. Although I very much hope Made of Dough continues to thrive in its Peckham home, I also secretly hope that it will be a little easier to get a table in the future. There are a couple of seats in the window where you can wait with a drink, it's not very relaxing sitting next to the queue, and they can't serve drinks at the seats on the pavement out front.

Made of Dough. 182 Bellenden Road, London, SE15 4BW (Peckham Rye Overground). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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