Haymarket ‘pizza war’ as Roman-style pizza place to open yards from Neapolitan joint
From centre to centre it’s over 140 miles from Naples to Rome but in Edinburgh, now only 350 yards separates pizza lovers from comparing the best of Italy’s most famous food stuff.
Roman Pizza Project, on West Maitland Street is set to open in mid-April, and is the culmination of a dream for owners Laura and Francesco Serreri.
They met while working in a restaurant in London and Laura fell head over heels in love...with Francesco’s pizza. The couple are now bringing the unique style of Roman pizza to Edinburgh, just a stone’s throw from authentic Neapolitan-style Pizzeria 1926 on Dalry Road.
Laura, who is from Rome, grew up eating pizza and is passionate about bringing the style to the city, one which she says is very different to the traditional style from Naples.
“I love pizza,” Laura said. “And I love Edinburgh. Francesco and I got married six years ago – I had fallen in love with Francesco’s pizza, I’m not just saying that because he’s my husband, trust me, he makes the best pizza. We were so busy that we didn’t have time for a honeymoon abroad so we decided to visit Edinburgh. We fell in love with the city – the beauty, the people, the vibe.”
Working “like a donkey” Laura and Francesco saved and planned to make their pizza project a reality and after moving to the city in July, started putting the plans into action.
“I grew up in Rome where the style is totally different from Naples,” Laura siad. “It is a thin, crispy base and is in square pieces, not one round.” The pizzas are displayed in long rectangle trays and diners pick a slice from one, or as many as the different topping trays on offer.
Francesco, who will be making in the pizza, said the magic is in the dough. “It’s very light because it has double levitation which is difficult to do with Neapolitan. With the tray it is also easier to stretch the dough as it has grown more. Sometimes a lot of pizza can make you feel very full because of the dough but with this style the dough has leavened for 48 hours which makes it much lighter and therefore easier for your stomach to digest.”
And according to Laura eating Roman pizza is also very compatible with modern life. “It’s perfect for the new generation – you can eat with one hand while on your phone,” she laughed. “It is small pieces you can grab on the go. You can eat this pizza at the same time as holding an umbrella!” Just two doors up from the Haymarket Bar it will be kitted-out with USB ports and offer breakfast “cornettos” or Italian croissants stuffed with sweet fillings such as custard or chocolate.
And going to bat for Naples is Pizzeria 1926, opened two years ago by Naples-born chef Rosario Sartore, also of Locanda de Gusti across the road, Nero a Mata on Slateford Road and Italian deli Fiocchi Di Neve. It delivers with prime Italian ingredients the true Neapolitan taste of Italy – where pizza was, and still is, eaten every day as an inexpensive and filling meal.
Lauded by critics the friendly service mixes with quality to deliver a punch of pizza perfection.