A few years ago I spent two-weeks travelling around Italy, with Naples being the last port of call. Unfortunately, it happened to coincide with the local binmen being out on strike in high summer, so my overwhelming memory of the city is of rubbish piled high on the streets and the awful smell that followed you everywhere you went.
Despite this, my overwhelming memory of Naples was that it was the best pizza I ate; and I ate a lot of pizza on that trip!
So, ever since I moved to Greenwich I’ve been keen to visit Bianco 43, an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria a stone’s throw from the Cutty Sark and always packed out with people every time I walk past it’s window.
The restaurant is set over two floors and the decor is what I can only describe as whitewashed Italian seaside – what I’d imagine the Mediterranean equivalent of Brighton to look like – with moody lighting and newspaper-styled menus. Even on a Tuesday night there was a good atmosphere as the air was abuzz with chatter from other tables and low-tempo house music.
I’m being conscious of not overdoing the word ‘authentic’ whilst writing this, but everything about the restaurant; from the Neapolitan owners to the Italian waiters/waitresses, to the food, was exactly that and is a totally refreshing experience from the Pizza Express that is only a few units along the high street.
Antipasti’s include the usual suspects of Bruscetta, Italian meats, breads and olives, and also a number of seafood options. I opted for the Calamari and Zucchini fritte, which were lightly battered and probably better off being shared in hindsight, but so moreish it was all gone before I knew it.
Then for the main event, although there are pasta and meat alternatives I felt it only right to try one of Bianco 43’s many pizzas, ranging between £10-£12. I went for the Provola, a white pizza that substitutes tomato sauce with yet more gorgonzola and mozzarella cheese and was heavily weighted with Italian sausage. Neapolitan pizzas spend less time in the wood-fire oven so that their bases are doughier than your average and the centre of the pizzas are almost soggy with cheese-infused goodness, a much better approach to eating them is to ditch the cutlery completely and go with your hands!
Having overdone it on the starter, I fell just short in my attempt to consume the huge Provola before me – no matter as Bianco 43 also does a takeaway service so the remainder was boxed up for me. With just enough stomach space in reserve for dessert, I finished on a light homemade raspberry pana cotta, but had I had more left in the tank I could have gone for any number of the pastries and cakes on offer, which are all round the £6 mark. This was washed down with some good house white wine; a three-course meal with a drink will set you back around £30, there are also lunch-time specials where a pizza will cost you a very reasonable £5.95 Monday-Friday. With restaurants in Greenwich, Blackheath, and Trafalgar Square, as well as a takeaway service in selected South-London boroughs, Bianco 43 is well worth a visit if you fancy a real taste of Naples with your pizza.