[this review consists of two visits to Purezza, out of which one was COMPLIMENTARY]
Vegan restaurant Purezza is the first fully vegan pizzeria in the UK, originally hailing from Brighton and now also catering hungry Londoners in its Camden Town branch.
Opened in 2015, Purezza has been serving innovative pizzas and other Italian dishes to its customers for a few years now and they make it their mission to have something for everyone. All their pizzas can be made gluten free just by swapping the base and they also have lots of raw food options for the raw vegans out there. Most importantly, though, it’s not just a restaurant for vegans or vegetarians – anyone can come here and not feel like they’re missing out on anything.
I’ve visited Purezza with my boyfriend twice in just over a week and loved everything I’ve tried. On our first visit we just sampled pizzas, but the second time we also tried their lasagna (they do a few other big mains too if you’re not that into pizza) so I really feel like I’ve got a pretty comprehensive idea of the menu (that said, I’ve still got lots to sample, too!).
The drinks list at Purezza is quite short but compact – there are all the usual suspects from wine and beer to cocktails and soft drinks, and each section has a few different options.
The cocktail list consists of four cocktails: Purezza Spritz (a twist on the classic Aperol Spritz), Espresso Martini, Whiskey Sour and a rotating cocktail of the month. We tried both the Purezza Spritz and the cocktail of the month, which at the moment is minty elderflower gin & tonic. Both were very good, though I have to say the Purezza Spritz just tasted (and looked like) exactly like a normal Aperol Spritz… It was great, but I wouldn’t say there was a big twist!
Jim also had a Brewdog Punk IPA which is pretty much a modern classic and always a good choice! Other things on Purezza’s beer list include a non-alcoholic beer, a gluten-free Peroni and local special craft beer which changes from time to time. I love that even though the list is so short, they’ve really thought about people with allergies and different lifestyles.
My elderflower gin & tonic on the left and the Purezza Spritz on the right
Throughout our two visits, we managed to try three different pizzas and loved all almost, but not quite, equally.
My choice on our first visit was the Vulcano pizza which consisted of a yellow tomato base, green chillies, aubergines (though I opted to not have these), baby sweetcorn, red pepper and big splash of Sriracha sauce & chilli flakes. The pizza was amazing and just the right level of spice – I loved how the slight tanginess of the yellow tomato base balanced the saltiness and spiciness of the Sriracha out.
Jim’s choice, though, was the real winner. He went for a pizza called Parmigiana Party which consisted of a red tomato base with smoked mozzarella, aubergine parmigiana, crumbled “sausages”, all topped with a bit of nutritional yeast. This was SO GOOD! I don’t usually like aubergine, but the texture here was just perfect and the smokiness from the smoky mozzarella really made the pizza. According to the menu, actually, it’s apparently their most loved pizza which doesn’t surprise at all! Definitely worth trying.
On our second visit, we shared a Green Supreme pizza, which consisted of a white base with mozzarella, chilli peppers, friarielli (Italian style spinach – completely new to me!), crumbled “sausage”, chilli flakes & garlic oil. This was probably the weakest out of all the pizzas we tried but still really lovely – I think it probably really depends on what you’re looking for! I personally wasn’t a fan of the texture of the wilted spinach, but overall the taste was really lovely and all the other toppings worked really well.
As accompaniments to the pizzas, we also ordered a garlic aioli and a pesto dip out of which both were lovely, but the garlic aioli was most definitely the winner. It made everything just that little bit better and honestly worked so perfectly with every dish – even the lasagna (more on that soon)! Definitely worth getting it on the side.
Parmigiana Party in the back and Volcano in the front
That divine garlic dip…
The Green Supreme pizza
Aside from the sourdough pizzas, which Purezza is, of course, famous for, the restaurant also does a few other mains if you don’t feel like having a pizza on your visit.
I tried the Lasagna Classica on our second visit which was made out of creamy bechamel style cheese, gluten-free lasagna sheets (I actually only realised this now as I’m re-reading this menu – I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years it was gluten-free as I was eating it!) and vegan ragu mince. I haven’t had a proper lasagna since I went vegetarian and luckily this did not disappoint: it was a perfect comfort food dish as any proper lasagna should be.
The other non-pizza mains are Pure Bowl (a mix of different healthy ingredients like cauliflower rice and roasted courgettes in a bowl), a Cheesesteak Calzone (this sounds AMAZING) and raw pizza made out of dehydrated nuts and seeds, tomato, cashew cheese and topped with raw veggies. Again, something for everyone with a lot of different diets carefully considered – everything from the other mains menu is gluten free except the calzone.
Overall I was really pleased with everything we tried at Purezza and especially impressed in the amount of creativity and passion that has clearly gone into creating such a diverse and fun menu. As a vegetarian, I love going to a restaurant with so much to choose from without having to overlook anything on the menu. I’m definitely going back soon as there’s still so much I want to try – next on my list is their mac and cheese side and probably that cheesesteak calzone!