Nonno's Pizza: Harmony in a very tasty mess
- Credit: Rosa Kochan
Nonno's Pizza embodies "harmony in a mess" says the manager of Crouch End’s latest restaurant.
The phrase encapsulates the culture of this Italian eatery, which arrived in Park Road in February.
Nonno's brings a ray of Venetian sunshine to Crouch End on a rainy April lunchtime - an area where quality Italian restaurants are in short supply, in particular those whose menu extends beyond pizza. But both pizza-loving young people and more open-minded older folk will value the finer tastes of Italian cuisine here.
No visitor to Nonno's can miss the tasteful sage green decor, both inside and out which sends you straight into the Roman countryside. An array of antiques and objets d’art grace the walls as manager Joseph says: "We try to be a cosy restaurant, Italian in our diversity. We have different shapes and colours of glasses and plates. Many types of chair. We embody the range of Italian emotions."
The internal space divides neatly between an open-plan dining area at the front and discrete rear for the discerning diner. This is a restaurant for all age-groups and tastes. The Nonno’s founders, the Hatampur family, came many years ago from Iran. Nonno is Italian for grandfather and the family acquired its Italian culinary influences when they teamed up with Angelo, a venerable Italian entrepreneur and chef. He continues to guide and mentor the owners who have several similar restaurants around North London.
The restaurant's pizza is made in an authentic wood-fired oven that could have come straight from the Napolitan calle. The pizza bread that accompanied my minestrone soup was crispy and authentic. Fresh vegetables enriched the soup in generous portions, marking it out from more anaemic versions of this Italian classic. It was rich, plentiful but also notably health-giving.
The pasta dishes are no less successful or authentic. A sea food pasta had generous ingredients and a finely seasoned sauce. The amatriciana pasta was suitably spicy, while the asparagus accompanying a chicken dish in a fine creamy mushroom sauce was griddled not boiled, to retain taste and texture.
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Rounding off our tour of the Italian cucina was a wonderfully creamy tiramisu. An indulgent conclusion to a meal that impressed with its professionalism and taste. At a time when the lights are dimming in many restaurants, Nonno's Pizza brings a ray of sunshine and delight. This ‘blend of harmony in a mess’ chimes with its Crouch End customers who have taken it to their hearts
Nonno's Pizza, 33-35 Park Rd, London N8 8TE. Phone 020 8617 9989. https://www.nonnospizza.co.uk/crouchend/