Brothers bring a slice of NYC to Finsbury Park
James and Thom Elliot have created a restaurant that’s a mellow, welcoming place to eat out
28 October, 2021 — By Tom Moggach
Fun… but maybe not carb-free – Slice, opposite Finsbury Park station
LOCKDOWN saw rocketing sales of mini ovens designed for the back garden or balcony – inspiring a new wave of pizza purists. It’s an obsession all too familiar to the brothers James and Thom Elliot, who launched the Pizza Pilgrims chain back in 2012.
They began with a Piaggio Ape van selling Neapolitan pizzerias on Berwick Street Market. Now the pair operate more than a dozen sites and a new venture called Slice, which focuses on the “pies” of New York city. Their first permanent branch has just opened opposite the train station in Finsbury Park.
The pizzas of New York are distinct to those of Naples. For a start, they are cooked in advance then reheated to serve by the slice. This second blast in the oven creates a crispier base.
The toppings also tend to be more lavish and creative. At Slice, for example, they serve Hawaii Not (aka The Convertor), with honey-glazed pineapple, jalapenos and nduja sausage.
This contrasts with the austere puritanism of Neapolitan style, where strict tradition dictates every element of the process.
At Slice, the chefs make their dough using a special blend of flours with extra gluten then stretch this to one metre long. These pizzas are cooked in an electric oven (not wood-fired) and cut into zig zags for each portion.
I visited Slice on a weekday evening, when the din of traffic and sirens on Seven Sisters Road transported me downtown NYC.
This 50-cover restaurant is a mellow, welcoming place to eat out. The colour scheme is white, pink and reds – with chequered vinyl tablecloths, floor tiles and sparkling fairy lights.
You will find a poppy soundtrack and a retro feel, with 70s lampshades and three vintage arcade games that are free to play. (Pac Man, Street Fighter 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in case you’re keen).
I loved the short but well-designed menu, which fizzes with extra dips and fun twists. You can order a metre-long grissini bread stick draped in Parma ham or pots of crust dippers such as Nduja, White Truffle or a hybrid Jalapesto. There’s an option to “level up” your slices, too, with extra ham or a Parmesan Fluff.
Don’t eat here if you are avoiding carbs or crave a plant-heavy diet. Fresh vegetables take a back seat, with the exception of a moreish Kale Caesar Salad.
There are eight choices of pizza, priced from £3.50 to £5. I enjoyed one with artichokes, crispy ham and truffle oil; another with pepperoni, chilli and spicy honey. To drink, a pre-mixed Negroni in a can and Ichnusa, an unfiltered Sardinian craft lager.
At my neighbouring table, a father and son bonded over a dessert of a metre-long dough stick with lashings of Nutella.
Slice is a fun place to eat, for sure, and I’ll be back. But if you still prefer eating at home, they do metre-long pizzas to take away – in a very large box.
266 Seven Sisters Road, N4 2HY