The Romfood Review: Ped defies Covid to make a little pizza paradise
- Credit: Adriana Elgueta
The Romfood Review, the Recorder’s new monthly food column will be trying out the latest and tastiest eats from across the borough.
During these testing times, with hospitality shut during two long lockdowns, restaurants have suffered the most and in a bid to support our local and independent eateries, here we will be championing their efforts and showcasing their skills and innovation.
If you’d like to have your restaurant or takeaway featured here next month, please just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
For starters, this week we visited Ped’s Pizza, a classic Neapolitan sourdough pizza delivery service, which has been doing the rounds in Havering since the March lockdown began, and seeing a lot of success.
The one-man-band behind the project, Matt Redgrave, packed in teaching last year to pursue his love of food, inspired by the high-quality wares of the food trucks at festivals. He named it “Ped’s” after a university nickname that stuck.
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Pre-pandemic, Ped’s was catering for private events and food trucks, but Matt says that Covid “decimated all private business”.
However, in the face of adversity, he adapted the business to a pre-order delivery service out of his Hornchurch kitchen and says that, in fact, the Covid delivery scheme has actually fastracked his progress and he’s been making and delivering around 50 pizzas a night on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. With a batterie of two pizza ovens, Matt is totally self-taught, only using the internet and his intuition to reach pizza perfection.
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“You get used to the pace”, he chuckles, but admits that his kitchen is up to the ceiling with pizza boxes and now, with a new-born baby on the premises, he is looking to branch out.
Matt is crowd-funding to find his pizza paradise a new home in a perfect Hornchurch spot, with the aim of opening next year.
So what is Matt’s recipe for success? He likes to keep things simple with four classic pizzas on the regular menu, mixing it up with a special which changes every week.
And indeed, what better prospect could there be on a bleak Thursday night in London under lockdown than an authentic pizza, with some candles and wine thrown in for a bit more of that trattoria treat feel?
My housemate ordered a classic pepperoni and I had the week’s special, which was prosciutto on a white base drizzled with balsamic glaze.
We also received a pot of artichokes and one of gigantic green olives which my companion said were the biggest she’d ever seen. “Where did he get these?” she asked incredulously - and, as an Italian PhD student, she is one well versed in olive knowledge, having tried “all the olives in Italy”. Both arrived in little coffee cups which we thought a charming informality.
I’m not normally a fan of a white base, but given that this one was unctuously dripping with a tasty, good-quality Mozzarella, I was happy. It was scattered with sweety-drop peppers which cut through the sweet balsamic glaze beautifully.
My housemate said her pepperoni was, well, “just what you want from a pepperoni” - thick, high-quality imported sausage - “obviously not from a supermarket”, embedded in a thick, rich tomato sauce.
The sourdough bases were tastily charred, as if they had just tumbled out of an oven in Naples.
Let’s face it, pizza is plentiful everywhere in London, but much of it is so run of the mill that it’s become greasy and boring.
If you want something special, that makes you feel more a part of Italy’s La Dolce Vita than munching on just another rainy-day takeaway, then Ped’s is for you. Buon appetito!
He takes his orders by direct message, on Instagram or website.