Pizzaface brings a new branch to Hove From The Argus
The former greasy spoon is decked out in white tile, with a grey slate floor and reclaimed wood seating. And rather than a curling pile of newspapers and magazines in the corner, those waiting for their pizzas can pick from a selection of hardback books, or gaze at the modern art on the walls.
At the back, overlooking it all, are the flames of the pizza oven where the magic happens.
The first Pizzaface was opened by Bertie van der Beek in St George’s Road, Kemp Town, in 2009, offering a choice of five pizzas for customers to take away. Following gongs from both Brighton And Hove Food And Drink Awards for best takeaway in 2013, and the Papa Industry award for best independent pizza delivery the same year, the business was forced to expand to meet demand.
It now employs 35 staff, including up to a dozen delivery drivers a world away from when van der Beek used to make his own deliveries in his car.
“We just wanted to make good pizza and fill the gap in the market,” says co owner Mavis Ang, who went to university with Bertie, and was brought in early on as the business began to take off.
“Originally Bertie wanted to open a sandwich shop but at the start of the recession the banks were only lending to hot food takeaways. He thought sandwiches and pizzas were quite similar and decided to give it a go. We have learne replica watches d a lot since!”
The difference between a Pizzaface pizza and those of its main rivals is obvious from the moment of delivery. Rather than being replica watches carted around in plastic pizza bags, the pizza boxes are transported using thermoboxes, which keep the heat in and open with an impressive cloud of steam.
The tasteful plain brown pizza boxes have been designed by London based co owner Haywood Slucuff an old schoolfriend of van der Beek who is responsible for the look of everything Pizzaface related, from the menus to the interiors of the two sites.
And the pizzas themselves are freshly made daily from scratch, from the dough base upwards. They are characterised by thin bases and the careful use of toppings which don’t swamp the pizza but more than make up for quantity in taste.
“We get unusual meats from Sardinia,” says Ang. “We have lamb prosciutto, wild boar salami and smoked pancetta all strong meats with the best mozzarella we can get. We are trying to keep that basic Italian simplicity.”
All the pizza lover’s favourites are present and correct, but with Pizzaface’s own twists.
The standard margherita uses cherry tomatoes, fresh oregano and basil, while Pizzaface’s version of the American hot the Vesuvius ditches bottled jalpenos in favour of fresh and dried chillis.
Similarly the mushroom pizza (Funghi) combines field, shiitake and oyster mushrooms with garlic, parmesan and truffle oil, while Holy Cheeses the Pizzaface four cheeses features gorgonzola, mascarpone, parmesan and mozzarella with caramelised onions.
In addition there are Pizzaface’s signature pizzas, which take their names from their staff creators both past and present. The most popular at present is Jakub, named after one of their delivery drivers, combining chorizo, pork and wild boar salami, dollops of marscapone, and a sprinkling of chilli flakes and oregano. Bertie has his own pizza, while former chefs Fellipe and Aurelio have been immortalised in the names of their creations.
“We encourage all our staff to come up with ideas,” says Ang, who has yet to create her own pizza. She admits there can be a fierce rivalry as to which personal pizza is the most popular.
“If we make it and replica replica watches watches like it, we put it on our specials board. If it does really well, it will go on our menu.”
At present there are 22 pizzas on the main menu, not counting the six vegan options available on Mondays and Tuesdays. Ang admits this menu is soon set to be consolidated to a dozen dishes. The rest will return as regular specials, which are announced on the takeaway’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
As well as offering vegan options at the start of the week, Pizzaface can also make gluten and wheat free bases. And they have teamed up with Pool Valley ice cream makers Boho Gelato to offer quality desserts.