[Disclosure – I visited Basement Browns in Coventry as part of my work with Coventry BID. I didn’t pay for the pizza I tried, but I wasn’t expected to write a post for this blog. I just decided I wanted to because it was really rather good]
Hands up who doesn’t like pizza! There’s no secret it’s one of the most popular food choices in the UK and frequently tops the table of ‘Brits’ favourite dishes’ polls.
And why not – what’s not to love about a meal that’s socially acceptable to eat entirely with your hands and incorporates a hefty dose of carb-laden dough, melty, stringy cheese and whatever other toppings you might desire.
Pizza places are ten-a-penny these days – from good old Pizza Hut with its immortal buffet deal, to excellent independents turning out pizza that’s up there with something you’d get in Italy. Birmingham has some great places, and there are also others dotted around Warwickshire, but somehow local independent Basement Browns had previously passed me by.
They may only have two branches, in Coventry and Leamington, but Basement Browns have garnered national recognition from the Papa Industry Awards, putting them up there with some of the best independent pizza restaurants in the country.
They make their dough in-house over several days, letting it rest to break down the glutens which they say makes it softer and easy to digest. On top of it, they’re big on the quality of the ingredients they top the pizzas with, mixing locally-produced veg to meats brought in from Italy.
They’ve thought of all the stuff they should have, from a range of sizes to dedicated vegan, gluten-free and kids menus. The interior is warm and welcoming with the open kitchen that allows you to see them making your pizza right in front of your face.
I was given a sneak peek behind the scenes to see the pizzas made. Now, they don’t really do that throwing around of dough, theatre-style thing, because they reckon that makes it a bit tough, but it still gets lovingly spread onto the right sized boards before the toppings are piled on.
Apparently margherita and pepperoni are still the most popular flavours, but there’s plenty of other choices including their ‘Legends’ section, which includes things like the ‘Tokyo Drift’ topped with chicken teriyaki and smoked streaky bacon and the ‘Meat Mountain’ with every single type of meat you could imagine.
Of course, the Neapolitan focus on simplicity kind of ends here with some of these more extreme toppings, but we’re in the UK, not Italy, so I reckon it’s acceptable. You can also just build you own, taking a basic margherita and adding your choice of toppings.
Once assembled, the pizzas are cooked in the stone oven and touched on the flame slightly for a decent crust before they’re whipped out and served up with your choice from a selection of sauces.
And just in case you want the full lowdown on how they’re made, here’s a handy little video I made for you…
I have to say, it was a bloody good pizza. After all the photos and filming were done, we tucked into a one of Basement Browns’ creations intending to have a slice and ending up finishing half a pizza each. Crisp, springy dough, tasty toppings, and the right proportion of tomato base and cheese, what’s not to like?
Of course, if you don’t like pizza (then why would you go to a pizza restaurant….) you can choose a salad or a toastie, or a whole range of side dishes. Drinks-wise there are cocktails, beer, wine or soft drinks, so this isn’t just a lunchtime stop-over but could be somewhere for a cheeky date night or evening meal.
There are also desserts, which I may not have mentioned had I not noticed a tray of sexy-looking cannoli on the counter as we walked in. Apparently their desserts are homemade and other choices include a whole range of temptations aimed at ‘chocoholics’ which gets my vote – though you may have to be an impressive person to manage one after a pizza.
Safe to say, Basement Browns gets my vote when it comes to pizza. It’s nice to know there’s a local independent among the bigger chains that tend to dominate and their pizza easily rivals those that I’ve had in some other independent places as well as the big names.
Oh, and here’s a picture of Emma from Piece of Cake Marketing – I think the smile on her face serves as evidence of how good Basement Browns is….
If you’re looking for somewhere to head to in Coventry for pizza, check out my list for Coventry BID on their website here.