On the left hand side of Princi there’s a restaurant serving pizzas cooked in a wood-fire oven and on the right a cafe which is always absolutely packed. This Italian cafe was originally created by Rocco Princi who already has a successful chain of cafes in Milan but was brought over here by Alan Yaou who owns Hakkasan, Yauatcha and Busaba Eathai to name but a few.
It was a Saturday evening and my gentleman companion and I got a real craving for pizza. Franco Manca seemed too far away so we headed for Princi on Wardour Street in Soho and were faced with a ten minute queue – not bad! The atmosphere was seriously buzzy and we were squished into a table right in the corner – the only problem being, for us to get in or out our fellow diners on the neighbouring table had to get up – which is always a bit awkward.
Whilst waiting for our pizzas we decided to order the grissini selection (£2.50). These long and rather attractive twigs of crunchy bread really required a butter or olive oil dip as they were a little dry. The sesame and poppy seeds brought plenty of flavour however.
I went for the Margherita (how adventurous of me!) which was tomato, mozzarella, parmesan and basil (£7.50) and I was pleased with the size – it really did fill me up. I could have done with more generosity on the mozzarella front but the crusts were slightly crispy (which I love) and the pizza had bags of flavour so I was a happy chappy.
My gentleman companion was a tad more adventurous and ordered the Valerio which was a tomato-less pizza featuring mushrooms, mozzarella, ham, cream and basil (£10.50). This was a cheesy delight and the meaty ham and earthy mushroom provided plenty of flavour. We would have loved some chilli oil to drizzle over both to give them a real kick but none was provided which was a shame.
Service was rather enjoyable – our waiter was the campest Greek man either of us have ever met and was really funny. We barely understood a word he said – but we loved him, he really added to the slightly chaotic but fun atmosphere.
All in all we left feeling extremely satisfied after a quick and affordable pizza in the heart of Soho. It was a quick in and out affair, no hanging around, but that’s just what we wanted!