My Indefensible Rating of a London Pizza

Story Deli Pizza
3 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch
Margherita Pizza
cherry tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pesto, basil extra virgin olive oil
Charlie Jones Pizza
spicy sausage, tomato passata, Taleggio, Parmigiano-Reggiano, roasted red peppers, garlic, chilies, sweet chili sauce


 
Critics have felt my ranking of the pizza at Story Deli in East London as eighth best in London was wrongheaded. After a long period of soul searching I’ve arrived at the same conclusion, only from the opposite direction.

For purists the problem is the wafer-thin platform made from the no-yeast dough owner-baker Lee Hollingworth flattens with a rolling pin and bakes for 30 seconds at 400°C (750°F).  There’s zero give, bend or compression to the crust, only crunch.

“I wouldn’t consider it pizza,” commented Mike Morroni. “(It’s) more a bread and topping creation.”

Others complain a pizza format nearly as light as a prawn cracker isn’t filling and, at £16, isn’t cheap. They’re right: Pound for pound it’s the priciest pizza in London.

Or maybe it’s not pizza at all, as the purists – especially those with a Neapolitan bent – maintain. If what Story Deli calls pizza is merely a flatbread then it doesn’t belong on any pizza listing, much less my London Top 10. I get that.

But if you recognise Hollingworth’s abstract creation as a pizza, which I did three years ago when I put it on a list now overdue for a reshuffling, and if you’ve praised it as the most remarkable pizza with the highest quality organic toppings in London and the first one you’d take a foodie friend from New York to try then a ranking no better than eighth is feeble and indefensible.

I demand a retraction and an apology. From me.

Story Deli‘s has relocated for the third time, to 123 Bethnal Green Road (just off Brick Lane), E2 7DG (map)

About Daniel

Food critic and events leader Daniel Young is the "Young" behind young&foodish

Comments

  1. Tom Bonasera says:

    Story’s pizza: Stumbled upon 3 Redchurch Street. Went in. Ate the pizza. Loved it. Lee Hollingworth told us the reason he does not use yeast is that he could not source one with good organic credentials. He’s an organic purist. I’m wondering why he doesn’t go for his own in-house developed organic sourdough starter for leavening, though.

  2. Daniel Young says:

    Tom – Very good point. I suspect Lee likes what he’s stumbled upon by not using yeast and sees no need to change.

  3. Charlotte Rose says:

    Story Deli, Pizza or not, is in its simplest form, very, very good food. Wholesome, organic and lovingly executed. If there were a Flatbread with Topping ‘Top Ten’ then this would be the undisputed leader. We wholeheartedly admire Lee and his wonderful family for their ethic and are happy to follow them on their adventure…wherever they may eventually settle.

  4. Daniel says:

    Beautifully expressed, Charlotte. Thank you for sharing.

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