Though it sounds like it might be a hand soap, Purezza is in fact the UK’s first plant-based pizzeria, with a branch in Brighton and a new opening in Camden.
To prove it’s not just for vegans, the restaurant handily won top prize at this year’s World Pizza Championship in Italy (it’s a thing), with an entirely meatless, cheeseless pizza that knocked all of the animal-based competition into a cocked, anchovy-scented hat.
How’d they do it? By inventing their very own vegan cheeses. The chefs at Purezza pioneered a type of mozzarella derived from brown rice using a jealously guarded technique, as well as a kind of parmesan-esque cheese made from fermented cashews.
The pizzeria also walked away with the UK’s National Pizza of the Year award in 2018, with a pizza that’s still available on the menu today, the Parmigiana Party. It’s topped with fried aubergine, crumbled vegan sausages, and comes dusted in nutritional yeast (or “nooch”), a magical condiment that looks like fish food, tastes a bit like cheese, is enriched with the vitamins that stop vegans withering, and should be in everybody’s cupboards.
What should I order?
Purezza is donating all profits from sales of its limited edition Laughing Pig pizza to build homes for rescued pigs on a farm in Kent, presumably as a form of porcine reparations. The charitable pizza uses jackfruit to simulate pepperoni, which not only leaves the pigs entirely intact, but tastes great too.
Elsewhere on the menu you’ll find inventive combinations of plant-based toppings, some of them classic vegetable pizzas, others incorporating smoked tofu or more recent additions to the vegan pantry, like shaved seitan and faux pulled pork in a sticky BBQ sauce. Everything is convincingly gooey, considering the lack of actual cheese that’s in play.
Is this a good place for a business lunch?
A plant-based pizza parlour in Camden that uses hemp flour in its dough probably isn’t the most professional environment, but a vegan client would be impressed by the menu here.
Need to book?
You can walk in and be seated at lunchtime, but you’re better off booking if you plan on going after work. Visit purezza.co.uk to make a reservation.