Ever on the hunt for London’s best purveyors of tomato sauce and gooey cheese slathered onto thin, round bread, I took a trip last weekend to Stoke Newington for a friend’s birthday at Apollo Pizzeria. Wait, hang on, should I be calling it ‘Stokey’? Is that what the cool locals are calling it nowadays? Answers in the comments section, as I’m not giving you my address for a postcard.
Apollo Pizzeria is quite an unassuming restaurant front, with neon signage and what looks to be a small space inside that won’t fit many people in at all. Luckily, there are also more tables tucked away downstairs. While the upstairs space is quite clean and wood-y, downstairs felt more like we were in an Italian’s actual house. A little run-down, but I did enjoy the intimate vibe and charmingly slightly mismatched decor.
Two of us had a carafe of Ciello Bianco Sicilian white wine to share (£12.50) …and honestly, it wasn’t really all that. It was drinkable, sure, but I imagine the slightly more expensive Sauvignon might have been a better choice. As a starter, I had a portion of olives (£3). I was super happy to discover they were ALL green olives rather than black ones, and there were definitely a good amount in the pot for my three quid.
I decided to go all out and order the most expensive pizza on the menu, the Guanciale (£11). Mainly as it had PORK CHEEK on, which definitely isn’t something you’ll find yourself munching on during a 2am drunken Dominos order. The base was really thin, and floppy rather than crispy, so it was a bit of a challenge to eat with my hands (knife and fork for pizza? Nahhh). But I did it! And it was tasty as heck.
The sauce was perfectly tomato-tasting and not too thick or ‘processed’-seeming. And the smoked cheese on it was fantastic – chewy, melty mozarella. I even ate the actual tomatoes on it, which is odd considering I’m not normally a fan of raw tomato – but they did work really well with the overall toppings, so I actually did enjoy them.
Although it was £11 for my pizza, they also do cheaper and equally tasty options – the Diavola is £9.45 – a spicy sausage, chilli and mozzarella gem that definitely had a good kick to it. The portion sizes were great too – about what I’d expect for a pizzeria in London at that price, really.
Apollo is unfortunately a bit out of the way for me to head to regularly, but if you’re in the area and love your pizza, it’s most definitely worth checking out. The homely vibe that extends from decor to dishes is a great alternative to the constantly busy Franco Manca just a few doors up, and Apollo defininitely offers very good value for money and, most importantly, great taste.
In fact, it probably makes my top five London pizzas – which, if you know me, isn’t something to be taken lightly…
160 Stoke Newington High Street