Otto pizzeria
American-inspired cornmeal pizza at Otto

Otto

Open Mon–Sat 11.30am–11pm, Sun 11.30am–10pm

Ex-bankers Rich and Tom were recommended a cornmeal pizzeria to head to in Portland, Oregon while they were travelling around America last year (in a van called Otto). They loved the restaurant so much that they persuaded the chef to give them some training. They opened their own pizzeria a few months ago, choosing Notting Hill because of its cross section of people and its variety of restaurants. They reckoned that the locals would be open to trying something different.

Indeed, on our visit we spotted lots of couples and families, including several Americans and an Italian woman shouting at her son.

Rich advised us not to go for a 12-inch each – no one had succeeded in finishing one yet and suggested we try a ‘taster’ pizza; ‘The great thing about cornmeal is it allows you to go crazy with toppings in a way you can’t with normal pizzas.’ So we took Rich’s advice and started with a big bowl of crunchy salad of broccoli, black bean and mushrooms on a bed of rosso leaves with a simple Dijon balsamic vinaigrette (£3.50/£6).

Our innovative taster (£18) included four cheese; homemade spinach pesto and tangy ricotta (my friend’s favourite); aubergine, blue cheese and mozzarella; potato, pancetta and goats cheese; and a rich, sweet roast tomato (my favourite). Rich was right; we couldn’t even finish the one 12-inch we were sharing. But the good thing was that it didn’t leave us feeling bloated. The cornmeal base had a homemade taste and look to it and reminded me of a shortcrust pastry; crusty with a slight sweetness to it.

Dessert is limited to gelato, although I expect that will expand. Service was attentive (Rich remembered I prefer chocolate, while my friend is a fan of black cherry ice-cream (which was a bit bland) – from nearby Gelato Mio (although they’ve since changed their supplier and Rich reckons the ice-cream is now even better). However, Rich and Tom’s enthusiasm is infectious. The guys in Oregon are probably glad that the boys chose to set up shop in Notting Hill.

Meal for two, with drinks, around £40.

Otto, 6 Chepstow Road, W2, London; www.ottopizza.co.uk; 020 7792 4088

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