[Disclosure: Dough & Brew is a client of my PR business EMPR, but as part of that I was not asked or expected to write a blog post. I’m just writing this because I think it’s a great place. Some of the food included in this post was free, and some was paid for.]
This is one I’ve been meaning to write for a long old time, and it really should be left no longer. Dough & Brew in Warwick needs no introduction from me. It’s a popular haunt for people across Warwickshire, has had national praise for its pizzas, and has received rave reviews from far more knowledgeable people than me when it comes to decent food.
For those of you who don’t know, Dough & Brew is about more than pizza. Yes, they’ve been named in multiple lists as among the best pizzas in the country, with a slew of awards to back up the title, but if you think this is just a slightly posher Papa John’s then please think again.
Having said that, the wood-fired pizza oven as you walk into Dough & Brew is what will catch your eye first, before you move to the industrial-slash-greenery-covered wall and the decent tunes. There’s outside space for summer days, and a nice relaxed feel in everything they do.
Pizza might not be all they do at Dough & Brew, but they will likely always be front and centre of what they do because of how darn good they are. Sourdough pizza dough, proved for at least 72 hours and whipped into shape by owner John and his staff, these are the pizzas you dream of when you’re accidentally eating a far inferior creation.
A glance at the menu and you’ll quickly notice the pizzas come in pairs – or couples – with one offering a meat-free alternative. So whether it’s a Brad or an Angelina, a Clark or a Lois, or a Mork or Mindy, there’s something to keep everyone happy.
These are some of the stalwarts but – never content to stand still – there are ever-changing specials, and even secret pizzas you’ll have to ask for to get your chops around. Try to get your hands on ‘The Hoff’ – a melty mess of four cheeses on top of a white base and finished with Dough & Brew’s house spicy maple syrup. And if, like me, you’re a Marmite-lover, request the version that’s not on the menu for a pizza that means basic marmite on toast will never quite be enough again.
At the time of writing, the latest specials menu also included the Lord and Lady Ponsonby, both topped with asparagus, runny egg and either Parma ham or mushroom then finished with hollandaise sauce. A rich yet fresh, breakfast-inspired delight.
As mentioned, pizza’s just part of the story. John and his team are always coming up with new dishes, and it’s probably more accurate to describe Dough & Brew as a casual dining restaurant than a simple pizzeria. Their fried chicken is some of the best I’ve ever tasted, and I don’t say that lightly, while how anyone manages to work through a hefty portion of their dirty, loaded fries as well as a pizza I have no idea.
If indulgence is what you’re after, you may want to get your hands on their fried chicken and waffles doused in chicken gravy. Not to everyone’s taste, but very much to mine. The sharing platter is a fried food-lovers delight, with everything from halloumi and cauliflower bites to chicken tenders, plus some of their great dips.
Dough & Brew isn’t ignorant to the fact that not everyone wants food that’s beige and fun, so the menu always has a few slightly greener alternatives. Think a whole section dedicated to fresh salads, as well as pasta dishes that are simultaneously simple yet full of flavour.
The specials aren’t only pizza-focused – a current addition is maple & sesame salmon. A chunky salmon fillet baked with maple and sesame for a lovely sweet/savoury hit, complemented by an Asian-inspired bed of pak choi, asparagus, red peppers and chilli.
The salmon special is testament to Dough & Brew’s ability at keeping up with seasonal changes. They recognise that we might all want something a bit lighter as spring approaches in the same way they saw that winter should be the time for big fat pies like their epic mac’n’cheese filled creation, served with all the veg and a personal jug of gravy. Because who doesn’t need their own jug of gravy in their life!
The list goes on. And on. And on. On various previous visits I’ve tried everything from a burger (chicken – crispy, proving their fried chicken really is up there with the best) as well as tacos that I hear are a popular choice.
Recent additions include a lamb flatbread shawarma – their wonderful bread formed into a blanket wrapped around a hefty portion of tender slow-roasted lamb, shredded lettuce and fries, along with tangy chimichurri and aioli. The katsu sando was another fave, this time encased in white bread from their own bakery, complete with crunchy slaw and a lip-smacking Korean sauce.
Are you starting to get the picture? These guys could be dismissed as some kind of Jack of All Trades, but each and every one of their dishes seems to be a winner. I hear they’re the product of ideas that come to John and then are tested, adjusted and tested over and over again until they’re good enough to be on the menu, which shows in the fact that all of them hit the mark consistently.
There’s something for every time of day, from great coffee and cake to brunch offerings (yes, that’s an Eggs Benny you see under there – because while hollandaise is nice on a pizza it’s even nicer slathered over poached eggs). We shouldn’t forget their dedicated toastie menu too, with my favourite – a Rarebit Toastie that’s perfect lunchtime fodder.
There are cocktails, mocktails, wine, beer and more. And of course desserts. How could you forget desserts? The joy of owning a bakery as well as a restaurant, means the dessert offering continues to improve at Dough & Brew, with Madeleines making an appearance on the pudding list, complete with a bowl of chocolate orange sauce that’ll have you going back for another dip more times than is wise.
There are waffles and ice creams and the obligatory additional specials, whether they’re bread and butter pudding drenched in homemade custard, or brownies topped with cream, chocolate sauce and a million other calorie-laden delights.
I could go on, but I won’t. Dough & Brew doesn’t just offer a lot in terms of quantity. It offers quality, locally sourcing ingredients where possible and consistently trying to come up with ideas that will appeal and impress.
I’ve now been several times – as a customer as well as on work business – and each time I taste something that is well thought-out, brilliantly executed and tasty, contributing to what is a menu that really does provide something for everyone in the gang, whether they’re pizza-lovers, vegan, health-conscious or someone looking for a feast fit for a king.
The atmosphere is relaxed, the drinks list expansive, and it’s a great place whether you’re a pair or a party. Like every hospitality business, they’ve on had the easiest of times, but it doesn’t stop them pushing. And judging by how busy it is each time I visit, I’d say they’re doing something right!