Bursting the button off your trousers has to be a sign of a good meal, but I managed to do it a few hours before I even sat down to eat, so take from that what you will. Anyway, despite that little wardrobe malfunction, I was very much looking forward to finally getting a table at Chorlton’s favourite pizzeria after a few earlier failed attempts. This place gets busy, and stays busy. So after a quick stop to pick up some beers (it’s BYOB) and put some jeans on I sat down to enjoy a few slices and have a chat with the owner, Nip.
Being born in Sri Lanka and then moving to the North of England doesn’t really sound like the typical path for a Neapolitan pizza evangelist, but after building a wood-fired stone oven in his back garden, Nip started experimenting. If you’re anything like me, your kitchen gadgets are probably more likely to find themselves gathering dust in the bottom of a cupboard than inspiring you to open a restaurant, but the Double Zero proprietor has an infectious passion for food that’s driven him to do just that. You could see the excitement in his eyes when discussing the ingredient that bestowed its name on his pizzeria. ’00’ is the grade given to the finest milled grain on the Italian flour scale, the stuff that lends itself so well to pasta and lighter breads, “It’s almost like talcum powder” he tells me.
We tucked in to the antipasti sharer to begin with, a generous selection of meat, cheese and plenty else. It goes without saying Italy boasts some of the best ingredients you can find anywhere in the world, and luckily you can get most of them on your pizza here too. The classics are there, plus some in house creations, and you can design your own too.
The vulcano tempted, as it included nduja, the spicy, malleable Calabrian sausage, and hot, green jalapenos – so I picked one of them. We tried to do the right thing and opt for the vegetarian rustica, which comes with aubergine, artichoke and sun dried tomato, but then ruined the gesture by getting prosciutto on top. But really there’s not much a bit of ham won’t improve is there? The pizzas have a light and soft dough, in the Neapolitan style, and are also massive. Loosen your belt first, if it isn’t already too late.
The freshness of all the ingredients was quite evident, most toppings (eg meats and cheeses) are imported from Italy but then the basil was also almost pungently spicy. Good fresh basil is such an important part of Italian cooking, but it really pays not to underestimate anything going on the plate, and it’s all good stuff at Double Zero.
We didn’t come for the dessert, but I’d certainly stay for one, the panna cotta was actually a bit of a revelation. I mean it was that good my mate hadn’t eaten most of it by the time I first looked up. Not quite pert enough to support a raspberry sat atop, it succumbed creamily to the spoon. Chocolate pizza sounds like something that is never to be more than the sum of its parts, but these slightly salty slices drizzled with nutella were worth saving the space for too.
You can see why Double Zero has quickly become a real fixture of the Chorlton food scene. It’s always going to be difficult to out do the Italians when it comes to passion, especially where food’s involved, but this place does a great job. These pizzas are taken pretty seriously, and it shows.
Double Zero ”00” Neapolitan Pizza
368 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M21 8AZ
0161 943 8980