Is there anything better than a meal out with a good friend? Well, maybe if that meal is free! I was lucky enough to be invited to the PR Launch event being hosted at Mozza on Thursday, where Rosie and I, along with a full restaurant of guests, were treated to an evening of pizza and wine. We were told that famous pizza chef Antonio Starita had flown in for the evening to help make the pizzas, whilst Antonio Cavallo from the Masseria Altemura estate was in charge of the wine. All very impressive sounding, but it’s going to take more than press release jargon to impress me!
We were greeted with a class of prosecco (good start!) and told to sit anywhere we liked – we chose a half-booth on the raised section of the restaurant, which gave me a nice view over the rest of the floor. Unsure of what to expect from the evening, we sipped our prosecco and waited while the restaurant continued to fill with guests. We were brought a plate of what looked like un-topped pizza – salty, herby and well-cooked, it was a nice taster of what was to come.
Still wondering what was going to be served up, we were surprised when the waiter approached us and asked if we were ready to order. Looking around, other tables were surprised by this as well – it turned out we were able to order freely from the menu, with the pizzas made to the usual Mozza recipe by Antonio Starita and the team he had trained. After a perusal of the menu, Rosie and I eventually made our decisions – a number 5 for her and a number 8 for me.
The number 5 pizza comes with the standard tomato base and is topped with mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, spicy ‘nduja, ventricina salami, black pepper, basil and olive oil. This pizza was billed as hot on the menu, and it certainly lived up to that label with the fiery ‘nduja imparting its flavour throughout the pizza. The salami had a lovely smoky flavour, and I’m always up for pizza that has multiple types of cheese on it!
My choice of pizza also featured the tomato base, mozzarella and ricotta, with the additions of mascarpone, speck, basil and taggiasche olives. The mascarpone and ricotta created a really nice creamy topping to contrast the stringy mozzarella, and the mildness of the speck was complimented by the sweet olives. I was really pleased with my choice of pizza, and would definitely recommend it.
The pizza bases were pretty good, too. They had nice chewy crusts with just the right amount of blackening on the edges. My only quibble would be that the very centre of the base was slightly soggy, as if the toppings had been allowed to permeate too far before the pizza was cooked. Overall, though, it was a good pizza and I would certainly be prepared to visit again.
Once most of the guests had been served, we heard from Antonio Starita (with translator) and a couple of Mozza chefs. It was a little hard to hear, as some of the guests were getting a little rowdy, but it was nice to have the evening broken up with something a bit different.
Rosie and I were intrigued by the mention of Birramisu on the menu. A quick google told me this was a tiramisu made with beer instead of coffee, and we decided to order one to share. There was no distinct beer flavour (good for me, given I’m not actually a beer drinker!) but the cream was incredibly light and fluffy, and the dessert as whole wasn’t overly sweet. We couldn’t finish our pizzas or our dessert, but that was by no means a reflection on their quality.
We had a really good night at Mozza, and I just have a couple of caveats. The music was very loud, meaning we occasionally had to strain to hear one another. It’s hard to know whether it’s always like this or if it had been turned up to help the party atmosphere, but I sincerely hope it’s the latter. And, of course, I must add that I haven’t (yet) visited Mozza during regular service, and so this review may not be a perfect representation of such. Whilst I’m definitely keen to return and try another of their pizzas, I just hope they’re as good when I’m a paying customer.