Emma Clegg samples Bath’s newest pizzeria in Milsom Place, does some background research on the Neapolitan pizza, and sees it being prepared in all its wood-fired glory
Basic flatbreads with cooked vegetable toppings were enjoyed in ancient cultures; now the eating of pizza is a worldwide experience of which we all take ownership. Bosco Pizzeria doesn’t go back as far as that, but it already has two restaurants in Bristol, one on Whiteladies Road and another in Clifton Village, and their offering has been reviewed as “the best pizza outside of Italy”. You’ll now find their latest venue in Bath in Milsom Place in the location occupied until 2018 by Argentinian steak restaurant, Cau. Frustrated by the lack of Neapolitan-style pizza in the UK, the Bosco team took inspiration from restaurants in New York and San Francisco specialising in this pizza style, first made there by Italian immigrants to the United States in the early 20th century.
Neapolitan pizza is characterised by a soft, thin crust prepared in a very hot oven. The dough uses 00 flour, creating a supple and fluffy consistency and most are baked in a wood-fired pizza oven at a temperature of 800–1000ºF. The crust is typically blackened by the fire, with puffed edges, and is very thin towards the middle with fresh mozzarella being the name of the game.
The menu at Bosco Pizzeria offers pizza rosso and pizza bianca, rosso a thin, tasty crust spread with savoury tomato sauce and bianca a bubbly pizza crust topped with olive oil and salt. Prepared in the large central open-plan kitchen within the restaurant, diners see the hot wood-fired pizza ovens and the manic activity around them as the pizzas take shape in the heat as part of the evening’s entertainment. It’s an expansive venue – two floors, an upstairs open-air balcony and a generous number of tables outside stretching along the paved courtyard – and on the balmy Monday evening we visited it was buzzing with activity.
The menu offers pizza rosso, ranging from the classic Bosco with mozzarella with parmesan, tomato and basil to Calabrian with nduja (spicy pork sausage), mozzarella, parmesan and tomato datterino (sweet plum cherry tomatoes) and Carcioifi with wood-roasted artichokes, tomato, mozzarella, taleggio, green olives and pecorino. The bianco alternatives include Queen Green with spinach and pesto, pine nuts and Porchetta Bianca with borchetta, salame finocchiona (traditional salami mixed with fennel seeds), caramelised onions and rosemary. Classic pasta dishes are also included – such as spaghetti Fra Diavolo and alla Carbonara – and large plates such as Tagliata con Rucola (rare sliced hanger steak with rocket and parmesan) and Venetian Fisherman’s Stew.
After small plates of salty house-baked focaccia with Pugliese olive oil and balsamic vinegar and fat Nocellara del Belice olives from south west Sicily and chilled beers, we ordered the Calabrian pizza and the Ribollita, a classic and deliciously intense Tuscan stew with cannellini, borlotti, spinach, cavolo nero and tomato. Two substantial side dishes – a Zucca salad with butternut squash, curled purple flourishes of radicchio, pear, salted pecans, maple dressing and parmesan shavings, and a health-boosting dish of artichoke with stracciatella (buffalo milk cheese) and pangrattato (breadcrumbs) – completed the multi-textured table.
This is an upmarket pizza experience and the service was smooth, prompt and uber friendly As we savoured our Affogato (vanilla gelato and espresso) and Zeppole, a toppling pile of Italian doughnuts served with custard and lemon curd, we felt that those early 20th-century Italian immigrants would have approved. n
Prices: focaccia and olives £7; Caprese and Zucca salads £6; Calabrian pizza rosso £11.50; Ribollita stew £12; desserts £6; boscopizzeria.co.uk