The North's Best Restaurants
We weren't surprised to see Ancoats gem Rudy's Neapolitan Pizza among your votes for Best Restaurant. Now, you can attempt to make the magic happen at home with some pizza-making tips from Rudy's own Jim Morgan
The closest many get to homemade pizza is peeling the cellophane from a supermarket margherita, which can be a depressing experience for the mind as well as the taste buds. And while wood-fired pizza ovens are becoming more readily available, this alone won’t necessarily guarantee anything better than your shop-bought 'authentic taste of Italy'.
But don’t give up, because, being the daddy of the dough that he is, Jim Morgan of Rudy's Pizza has a few tips for getting a satisfying slice at home.
“You can make good pizza at home; it won't be authentic Neapolitan pizza, but it can still be really good.” Jim’s first thoughts are encouraging. So I guess you’ve done this before then, in an ordinary kitchen? “I made it weekly at uni for my housemates just in a frying pan – like a pizza fritter I guess. I used to shallow fry it in oil and then grill it.”
That sounds easy, almost too easy. “There’s two methods really," says Jim. "I used to make a Neapolitan dough (adding some oil to help it cook) and then lay that out in a big, flat frying pan that’s been pre-heated with oil. As the bottom is cooking you quickly add the toppings and then finally you grill it; it should only really take two to three minutes to cook.”
And what were you saying about shallow frying it? “The other way is to deep fat fry the base in an inch of oil; that gives you a really nice, light base. Once you’ve done that you put some tomato on and put it under the grill, adding uncooked mozzarella to the top. It’s a really simple method that’s very popular in Naples.”
But those Rudy’s tomatoes, they’re special – surely it won’t be the same without them? “We have a small deli section with plenty of San Marzano tomatoes to take home," Jim says. "People think we do something really special to them, but we don’t, we just use the best ingredients.”
We can’t guarantee that your kitchen-bound effort will turn out anything like a real Rudy’s pizza, but given the relatively low cost of the ingredients, we can definitely tell you that it’ll be a lot more fun and cost-effective than reaching for those takeaway leaflets.
And if Italian ain't your style then you'll find plenty of variety among the other Best Restaurant winners, from the sharp zesty spices of Liverpool's Mowgli and the hearty, Middle Eastern/Parisian-inspired small plates of its Bold Street neighbour Maray, through to the vegan fine-dining phenomenon that is Stockport's buzzy Allotment (which also scooped the title of Best Newcomer).
Flavours closer to home come from the American-style slap-ups of Nolita Cantina and Leeds' classics-focused Ox Club, whose Scandi feel and solid menu had us singing its praises on its opening just over a year ago. If you're lucky, maybe we'll ask them for some tricks of the trade, too – keep an eye on theskinny.co.uk/food for tips, observations and all the latest news on the best restaurant openings across Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.