103 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DT www.nyfold.com

A native New Yorker is on a mission to bring his award winning pizza to London? Tom heads to NY Fold for a slice of the action…

On a semi-regular basis, I eat three distinct types of pizza:

  1. One from the big three. You know their names; they litter the high streets from Southampton to Salford offering deals for four, all you can eat buffets and tempting texts on a Friday. They’re soulless, impersonal and yet appealing in a’dirty secret’ kind of way.
  2. A non-descript takeaway travesty. The grease is slowly seeping through the bottom of the slightly soggy cardboard box, yet the printed, smiling, Italian stereotype smiles from under his moustache encouraging you, reassuring you. Is that chicken? Where’s the rest of the anchovies? I’m too drunk to feel my face.
  3. The trendy Napoli inspired pizzas. Made by cool guys in their twenties, often at pop ups, artisan, experimental, sourdough.

All, of course, have their place in a healthy and varied pizza diet but still there is room for others. Enter NY Fold.

The restaurant has been opened by master pizzaiolo Bruno DiFabio, a New Yorker with a serious pizza slice CV. He already owns ten pizzerias across the US and has six world pizza championship titles to his name, but now, together with partners Michael and Annabel Wheeler, Bruno has decided to bring’authentic’ New York pizza to London.

No’hut‘ in sight, no sourdough or vehicle-based-pizza-ovens, no bouncer on the door attempting to pick up numbers and stop drunken Carl smoking by the counter. I was intrigued.

We went along on a Friday night and were greeted the minute we stepped through the door, whisked past the open kitchen and seated near the back of the restaurant. The NY Fold logo’s yellow and black runs throughout, screaming New York, and the waiting staff seemed appropriately busy.

The menu at NY Fold is accessible offering up four starters, pastas, salads and sandwiches, alongside the headline grabbing pizzas that can be bought by the slice or whole. There’s a good selection of toppings including the award-winners, and guests can create their own 16-inch beast for £19.95.

The service was friendly, so friendly I wanted to ignore the amount of things that weren’t available but not mentioning this wouldn’t be right. The first two beers I went for were not available, and two of the three pizzas from the award-winning section had run out. I appreciate all restaurants run out every now and again, but this was a sensible time on a Friday night, and when you’re shouting about award-winning pizzas it’s a shame not to have them on.

With a pint in my hand starters impressed. My lasagne balls were coated in panko breadcrumbs, and covered in rich, thick Bolognese ragu. They left seductive strings of gooey mozzarella when cut and walked the line beautifully between crunch, carb and sauce. Call me ignorant, but I have never come across lasagne balls before. After these, however, I expect to see them popping up on many more menus.

A Burrata came with cherry tomatoes and rocket. Creamy, fresh and a perfect counter to the beautiful balls on my side of the table.

Then it was time. I was about to enter a new chapter in my pizza eating almanac, and I was excited. A slice of The Butcher Shoppe was loaded with bacon, pepperoni, sliced meatballs, sausage and ham. The base dough apparently goes through a two-part fermentation process and is aged for 48 hours, meaning it is a little more’bready’ than a thin crust. The tomato sauce is seasoned with 12 different fresh herbs and spices and the mozzarella used is 60 day aged and sourced from an award-winning Italian farm. The pizza itself? It’s tasty.

Both The Butcher Shoppe, and our other slice featuring green olives and goat’s cheese, were perfectly good slices of pizza, but had they knocked my other three pizza groups out of the preverbal pizza oven? Not exactly.

NY Fold, of course, has had to do what most new London openings in Soho do and shout about its methods, ingredients and offering, but by doing so they have undoubtedly set themselves a real challenge.

Like any restaurant that boasts about award wins, or bringing something new to the table, they have taken a risk and ensured that expectations will be high. As far as the slice on the night goes, however, I’m not sure my expectations were quite met.

Still, with friendly service, a good location, a decent menu, sensible pricing and most importantly those lasagne balls, I have a feeling I’ll be surrounded by yellow and black again sometime soon.