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Artisanal pizzas and zingy cocktails from the team behind Moonshiner.
Their first venture was business in the front, party in the back pizza joint-cum-speakeasy, so it makes sense that the team behind Moonshiner have combined these elements for their latest creation. On a corner of the progressively gastronomic rue de Charonne (also home to Clamato and Septime), Louie Louie’s midnight blue façade and soft lighting make it impossible to resist peeking through the window. But reservations are a must – even on weeknights.
Once inside, it’s all sleek Scandinavian pine, copper and marble, with a small bar generating formidable cocktails: multiple gin and tonic blends in proper goblets, plus eight original concoctions and a nightly special – which on our visit involved bacon-infused mezcal and cumin syrup. It’s an ambitious offering and involves many of the same ingredients as the pizzas (think olive oil and black pepper,) but it seems to work. The Ska Maria Pastora (gin, St. Germain, ginger syrup and egg white) has the frothiness of a Pina Colada with the flavours of a cleansing juice, and goes down all too easily.
As for pizzas, their selection is impressive, if not overwhelming (expect to quiz the wait staff on ingredients) yet the classics are just as well executed as the more unusual. A thin-based, pillowy-crusted Margherita comes with Fior di Latte and San Marzano tomato sauce, while the Capo dei Capi (€16): slices of spicy Spianata sausage, topped with grilled peppers, n’duja and burrata is a tantalising balance between piquante and creamy. No wonder all the tables on our row ordered it. Special mention goes to the salad du moment - hunks of roasted butternut squash, Speck ham, smoked mozzarella and dollops of fresh pesto (€13) – a meal in itself. If you still to have space, you can’t go wrong with the €4.50 affogato or a giant bowl of sea salt-sprinkled chocolate mousse (€6).
They may have their fingers in many pies but Louie Louie is proof that these boys aren't spreading themselves too thin. I’m already planning my next visit.
78 rue de Charonne
|Price:||Starters €3-9, pizzas €9-16, cocktails €11-13, €14.50 lunchtime set menu of pizza, salad and a coffee|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sun 12-2.30pm, 7-11.30pm|