I’ve never been to Italy, so I couldn’t tell you what real pizza tastes like. The closest I think I’ve ever come was at Franco Manco’s. A place that came from humble beginnings in Brixton Market to now having seventeen locations all over London. The focus there is, above all, on the dough. They use sourdough, which uses a natural leaven rather than yeast to make it rise. This is what makes their pizza incredible; they have got the foundation so right that the toppings become almost superfluous.
Last Saturday I went to the one year anniversary of Crazy Pedro’s Part-Time Pizza Parlour. They put up a small marquee in the square outside their restaurant and held a four day event with live music. I came reasonably early in the evening and listened to some fairly decent singer-songwriters. The place was starting to fill up but wasn’t spectacularly busy. I heard that Thursday, the opening night, had more of a buzz.
As for the food, it’s definitely their own interpretation of what pizza should be. They have a fried chicken and waffle pizza. You can buy by the slice, for £2.50, and I went for a wacko jacko, topped with pepperoni, jerk chicken, jack cheese, onion, olives and jalapeños. I find that style of pizza over the top—the flavours do all come together but you can’t help but feel that somehow, somewhere, an Italian is turning in his grave.
Crazy Pedro’s has a very relaxed, informal atmosphere with a long bar where they serve up both the pizzas and the drinks. Staff are friendly and very in keeping with the feel of the restaurant. The decor is somewhere between Lucha Libre and pop-culture. The roof is plastered with album covers and film posters, and the walls are painted with wrestling masks. The Liars Club, also run by Crazy Pedro’s Lyndon Higginson, is a Tiki-themed dive bar. It seems Higginson has a knack for taking something that might be considered pastiche, and making it work.
One of the best features of Crazy Pedro’s is that there open until 4am. Although my heart does go out to the poor chefs on duty, it’s good that Manchester has a late night eatery that is a little more sophisticated than suspicious pieces of fried chicken.
I really enjoyed what the event and the restaurant represented, an independent place doing its own thing and still going strong after a year. In a sea of chains and exported London franchises it’s encouraging that there are still some little beacons of Mancunian independence.
55–57 Bridge St,
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