Some ten years after opening London’s first ‘long pizza’ parlour, and with the aid of the capital’s allegedly oldest wood-fired oven, Pizza Metro’s popularity remains undimmed. The Battersea restaurant – now prettily done up with terracotta tiling and ochre-washed walls lined with copper pans, film posters and murals of Naples – is a magnet for local families. Kids poke at the fish tank, sit astride the Lambretta and tuck into that joyous combination of pizza and meatballs all on one plate. Adults enjoy the ‘point of difference’ aspect of a steel tray bearing a length of variously topped pizza hauled on to the table, with everyone cutting off portions as they eat – at the least it makes mixing and matching easy and sociable.
The pizza bases are sound, if not the best, and the toppings fresh and reliable. Ours ranged from a basic margherita and truffled porcini with rocket to the improbably named CiCCioBoMbA – a bit of almost everything including those meatballs (sizeable, tender, juicy). Other starter and main-course options abound, but the long pizza is the draw. Drinks are basic yet well priced, and the outsize personality and caricature accent of the manager are thrown in for free. It’s spoilt a little by the hard sell on desserts – unappealingly paraded under your nose – but the crowds still come.