Pizza is always best when its made by hand – stretched out, spun about and patted lovingly on a kitchen counter before its topped with tomato sauce and cheese. But what if that dough is tossed and thrown into the air over the heads of diners in a West London restaurant?
Always doing the rounds on social media, Crazy Pizza in Marlyebone and Knightsbridge are known for their weird and wonderful service. Every Saturday they host a legendary bottomless brunch and I’ve been desperate to go and see the famous pizza tossing for months.
Finally, my day came and I headed over to Knightsbridge’s first Crazy Bubbles bottomless brunch event. I was intrigued, just how exciting could a guy lobbing some dough in the air really be? And would it even taste any good?
For £100 per person, I was treated to a three-course meal, bottomless drinks and all kinds of rather interesting forms of entertainment.
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Just around the corner from Harrods, Crazy Pizza sits with glossy black tables, shiny red walls adorned with framed images of celebrities from the likes of Kylie Jenner to The Beatles eating pizza and a proud open kitchen at the back that sits like a stage.
With an Aperol spritz starting off my day on a superbly sweet note, an array of delicious starters arrive swiftly on the table. Creamy mozzarella tops a Sicilian dish of chopped vegetables, warm focaccia lined my stomach delightfully, garlic and rosemary fries are gloriously golden and truffle arancini blew my mind – I was convinced this was going to be an excellent meal from the amazing arancini alone.
Then, out of nowhere, the music was turned up dramatically and the 2010 classic We No Speak Americano boomed around the restaurant. It was almost surreal, this fancy Knightsbridge restaurant that felt low-key until now, was all of a sudden filled with smart waiters bopping around with huge paddles filled with shots of limoncello.
I took my sweet and sour shot of Italian joy and then found myself sipping on another cocktail as the familiar party sounds of instrument filled my ears. A saxophonist was making his way around the fancy place full of brunchers dancing away in their seats and filming him from every angle. Overlooking the oddness of this abrupt switch of vibe, I was swept up in that bottomless brunch magic, where it’s totally normally to drown any confusion with endless glasses of alcohol while surrounded by the weird sight of a swanky restaurant taking on a nightclub atmosphere.
But the most surprising part of the experience was perhaps my actual pizza. I opted for the Ventricina: tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and spicy salami. As the waitress brought it over, I was more confused by the sight of the plate than I had been any of the wackiness of the brunch so far.
A thin crust was topped with a very light layer of tomato, an even lighter layer of cheese and then completely covered in slices of salami. Rather than a salami-topped pizza it looked like a plate of salami served with a bit of flavoured crispy bread. Whilst it was deliciously meaty and spicy, I prefer my pizza with more of an actual pizza taste. I couldn’t get any of those tantalising tomato or gooey cheesy flavours at all.
While the name of the restaurant may suggest a focus on the Italian art that is pizza, it’s definitely more about those ‘crazy’ vibes. After I had dined on my somewhat disappointing main course, We No Speak Americano was blasting out again as the red velvet curtains were closed, stripping the room of natural light and kicking off this daytime party.
Sweet shots were again paraded round as I suddenly found myself handed a sparkler to hold. I’ve never known what to do with these, as I usually see videos on social media of girls on VIP tables in Mayfair clubs, swirling the little fire sticks in the air awkwardly to music. And now there I was, awkwardly swirling fire in the air to a song from my childhood and finding the whole thing hilarious.
Italian-style club music continued as the main event began: the pizza tossing. Making his way through the room of boozed-up diners, the chef began tossing a big circle of pizza dough as we all applauded him like it was the most mesmerising thing we’d seen in our lives.
He twirled it around with one finger like a basketball, juggled it up high in the air and went down on one knee as he demonstrated his impressive skills. However, his tossing tricks weren’t on a pizza dough as big as the one I’ve seen videos of online – in those clips, the dough is huge, like extraordinarily big, covering tables as it spins around the space.
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But nevertheless, I still found this impressive – as impressive as a man throwing about some dough can be anyway. I can’t imagine finding it as fun and entertaining totally sober, but again, the powers of bottomless brunch are a magical broom that sweep you up into this wonderfully crazy world for a few hours.
As an added touch, a barman got in on the action, juggling sparkler-lit bottles against a backdrop of more pizza tossing chefs. And then before I knew it, I was joining all my fellow brunchers in waving a white handkerchief in the air in time to the booming beats, surrendering to the wackiness of Crazy Pizza.
While my pizza may have been slightly disappointing, the atmosphere makes this brunch what it is. It’s weird, it’s fun and it’s a good laugh.
And with such attentive waiters, you can easily get your £100 worth in alcohol alone – they’ve got Veuve Cliquet champagne flowing while you lap up up the craziness of entertainment, eat amazing starters and dessert and dance away in the middle of the afternoon.
You can find Crazy Pizza Knighstbridge at 32-34 Hans Cres, London SW1X 0LZ
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