Popine seems a little out-of-place on the Boulevard de Ménilmontant, where high-quality restaurants are generally few and far between. Cutely decked out with trendy wooden tables, a wall-length bar counter and plenty of exposed brick, this Italian restaurant offers a brilliant menu of pizzas, split across three mouth-watering categories (Rosse, Bianche and Gourmet).
The produce is largely from Naples, so we opt straightaway for the Casernata (€17), a typical variety from the town of Caserte in Campania, featuring toppings like bitter rapini (a broccoli-like green vegetable), a gorgeous smoked sausage, provola (a Campanian cheese) and a healthy dose of a fruity Muraglian olive oil. In true Italian style, here the dough is equally as important as the toppings – it’s generously thick but also quite airy, due to a 24-hour resting period before baking.
Bizarrely, there are only three Italian wines to choose from, but the Puglian Negroamaro is a particular treat. The three dessert options lack any real punch or pizzazz but are still nicely done, especially the melt-in-the-mouth hazelnut mousse and the agreeably buttery candied orange cookie.
TRANSLATION: FLORA HUDSON