Crispy roast pork belly with apricot and almond stuffing, caramelized shallots, chopped sage and apple sauce – Sunday roast? Nope, these are toppings for a pizza called Berkshire at Fire & Stone restaurant, Covent Garden. The pizzas are primarily themed around cities from around the world.
I’m in an adventurous mood and check it out with my very good friend and partner in crime, Otis. The place is huge with a modern décor and is laid out over two floors with a capacity to seat up to 250 diners. It’s heaving and buzzing full of twenty to thirty somethings when we arrive. We are seated on a row of partially separated tables – this is good for eavesdropping, not so good if you’re looking for a more intimate dining experience. We have no desire to eavesdrop though as we had plenty to catch up on ourselves, and if anything, I think we were probably disturbing the other diners with Otis‘s very load and infectious laugh than the other way around.
Considering the enormity of the place the service is jovial and swift. I opt for the mentioned Berkshire – one of their specials – while Otis choses the not too unusual sounding Cape Town topped with; spicy beef, pepperoni, mozzarella, green chillies and sour cream. Before the pizzas though we order a starter of calamari and panko crusted mushrooms. The calamari is crisp and tender inside with a lovely garlic mayo dip. It also comes with a tomato salsa, but it tastes synthetic and shop-bought. The mushrooms however, have a fab texture and beautifully seasoned.
Now to the pizzas. Theses are made on-site in a huge gas-fired oven which literally goes from the ground floor of the restaurant to the top – it’s what you see when you enter. There’s a lot going on in my Berkshire pizza, which is mostly pleasant with pieces of very tasty belly pork, but there’s a bit too much apple sauce. I wouldn’t usually order something sweet on a pizza, like I would never order a Hawaiian for example – it’s OK, but as said, could’ve done with less on it. The crust is good – thin and a bit spongy. Otis has a small appetite and his pizza proves a bit of a challenge, he finishes it though, so presume it hit the spot.
If you’re looking for pizza with a twist, in an upbeat, lively environment then Fire & Stone is the place for you. Starters average £6 and mains £11.
Food I Fancy dined as guests.
Fire & Stone
31/32 Maiden Lane
Covent Garden, London WC2E 7JS
Tel: 0844 371 2550