Family-run, authentic Neapolitan pizzeria, Cinquecento has two locations in West London – Chelsea and Portobello Road – and a third restaurant (with al-fresco dining!) will be coming to Notting Hill Gate in mid-April. The brand came to fruition twelve years ago by husband-and-wife co-founders, Jacqui Brantjes Pittack and Daniel Pittack, and is helmed by CEO and Head Chef Emanuele Tagliarina.
With a focus on high-quality, 100-percent Italian ingredients, the Neopolitan-style pizzas are the main attraction at Cinquecento, made with genuine Campanian San Marzano tomato sauce, famed for their sweet flavour and mild acidity, and Italian fior di latte cow’s milk mozzarella. Chef Tagliarina’s recipe for the famously light and fluffy pizza dough includes a 48-hour fermentation and is made with stone-crushed flour. Other dishes beyond the over twenty choices of pizzas to pick from, include a wide range of traditional and modernised Italian-influenced starters and appetisers (i.e. the fan-favourite, classic Polpettine meatballs with San Marzano sauce and parmesan); fresh side salads; fritti (delicious fried things, essentially); vegan options; and a small selection of traditional Italian desserts (tiramisu, gelato, etc).
The Experience & The Food
Cinquecento’s tagline is “just like nonna,” and while I don’t have a Neopolitan nonna of my own with which to compare, I’ve certainly eaten enough pizza to know that this is the real deal. The star of the show is, in fact, the pizza, and more specifically the dough and how it’s cooked: effortlessly chewy with the right amount of blistering charcoal char, Chef Tagliarina certainly has made his nonna proud.
The Sicilia Pizza was nothing short of a delight. Spread with the perfect amount of sweet and bright San Marzano tomato sauce and gooey, melty fior di latte mozzarella, plus cubes of fried aubergines and a snowy covering of ricotta shavings, every note of salt, fat, heat and acid was perfectly struck. And that crust! Even if you’re not usually a fan of pizza crust (and if so, what’s wrong with you?), this could be the dough that convinces you to leave no crust behind.
The traditional Polpettine meatballs (nonna’s recipe), are another delight and come smothered under rich, umami-packed tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese. (I could honestly eat that tomato sauce with a spoon.) Though next to the pizza, my favourite dish had to be the three mini cannoli for dessert. Cannoli can be hard to get right, but with a sweet-but-not-too-sweet, super creamy sheep’s milk ricotta filling; a buttery, flaky shell; and a sprinkling of Sicilian pistachios (far superior to the standard variety you find in most supermarkets), Cinquecento knows its desserts.
Cinquecento has three locations: 1 Cale Street, Chelsea, SW3 3QT (20 7351 9331); 233 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 1LT (2039153797); and (forthcoming) 115 Notting Hill Gate, Kensington, W11 3LB. Deliveries are available via Deliveroo and Supper. Reservations are also currently open for bookings.