Perched on a high bench in the window of neighbourhood pizza bar, Civerinos Slice, we marvel at how cool the place is. A carefully curated industrial dive-bar aesthetic provides the backdrop to convivial informal dining, whilst hip hop bumps from the speakers. Channeling a distant memory of frozen margs in Brooklyn, my wife orders an Aperol, vodka, and blood-orange slushy. I have an iced tea, and regret bringing the car.
We’re accompanied by our over-tired one-year-old, and feel a little out of place as he gurns and whines – his overflowing changing bag undermining our street cred. This might not be the city’s top spot for young families (older kids will love it!), but the staff are so accommodating and friendly, that we barely notice!
As the name implies, the main event is the New York style pizza slice – carrying an array of exciting toppings. The pizza oven is etched with the words ‘thug slice,’ and, following the wisdom of Tupac Shakur, I don’t choose my thug slices, the thug slices choose me. Our experienced waiter recommends a comprehensive smorgasbord, showcasing the fresh ingredients and inventiveness which characterise the Civerinos approach.
Eating our way through a mountain of crisp dough, highlights include: the eponymous Civerinos – salty peperoni, Sicilian sausage, sweet sugo, and creamy buratta delivering intense flavour, with all the subtlety of Prince Philip on a foreign visit [[OR: a thrash metal band in a library]]. The Rascal comprises al dente charred cauliflower, spiced with ras el hanout, and balanced beautifully against rich ricotta. Equally excellent, and adding to Civerinos’ meat-free offering, is the aptly named Veggie As – combining smoky roasted beetroot with goats cheese, cut through by pickled cabbage and brightened up with rocket.
From the Grandma menu (square Sicilian style slices – a tongue twister), we sample the spicy Calabrian nduja, which explodes onto the tongue. The fire is stoked by fresh chilli, before being tamed by cooling buratta. Alongside all this, we are served the crispiest fries, a tasty house salad, and a load of great homemade dips.
Fit to burst, we decide it’s imperative to sample dessert. A bowl of fresh and fluffy mini doughnuts – Zeppole – appear, with a pot of Nutella, and we bravely soldier through it. It is the only appropriate way to end this carb-fest. When we’re done, we waddle out into the warm night air, replete and happy. Even the wee grump seems to have lost his scowl.
(Review written for Bite Magazine. Keep an eye out for it!)