Our food menu is a like a VIP guest book of flavour. Only the best dishes in the world make it inside.
It’s the only way to ensure everything we serve up blows your taste buds away.
And we’re constantly striving to make our food menu even better. That’s why we decided to push our pizza selection to a whole new level.
To do this, we sent our talented Food Team on a culinary pilgrimage to Naples, the birthplace of pizza, to discover more about Italy’s most famous (and delicious) export.
We caught up with Mark Rush, the head of our Food Team, to find out more about the authentic Italian flavours, ingredients and techniques that have inspired our new and improved pizza range.
Tell us why you decided to go on a Pizza pilgrimage?
Revolution were looking to redevelop and improve the quality of their pizza menu for customers. We decided to deconstruct all the pizza ingredients we use to analyse where we can make improvements and build the pizza back up using the highest quality ingredients and techniques.
One of the key findings from our preliminary research was a deeper understanding of what exactly makes good pizza dough, with respect to base style and ingredients. We ended up looking at two base options; ‘Roma’ and ‘Neapolitan’. Both options represent contrasting styles, the Roma being thin based whereas the Neapolitan is fluffy and has more of a crust. In order to see which was best, we needed to do some hands-on research.
We decided that the best place to look for further inspiration was straight to the home of pizza, Italy. The city of Naples is famous for its contributions to the craft of pizza making, and so it made sense to start our pilgrimage here.
When we arrived, we discovered a fantastic city where it seemed that everyone lived for pizza. We knew we’d come to the right place.
Did you pick up any pizza making innovations that have made their way back to the Revolution kitchens?
Absolutely. During the visit, we tasted the work of many incredible pizza makers, ranging from small street stalls to large pizzerias and everything else in between.
Early on, we visited a buffalo mozzarella producer to see how it was made and to taste it fresh. It was incredible just how much of difference in flavour there was between fresh mozzarella compared to the slightly more mature varieties we’re used to in the UK. This was exactly the kind of insight we were looking for, and it made us eager to use the freshest mozzarella possible on our pizzas back at home.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected but important insights we gained related to the crockery used to serve the pizzas. In Naples, they always served pizzas on 14 inch flat plates. Not only does this help give the dish a more authentic Italian look, but it also prevents steam escaping from underneath the pizza. We knew that would be an essential for our kitchen from then on.
As part of the trip, we visited 50 Kalo, an authentic pizzeria Neapolitan regarded as the best on the planet. What struck us most about their fantastic pizza was the emphasis on good quality ingredients. It was here that I tasted the best pizza of the trip; it was called a ‘Lardo’ and it consisted of bacon lardons, red onions and fior di latte cheese. The simple but delicate balance of flavours was simply perfect.
It was also at 50 Kalo that I was inspired by the use of an artichoke base on what was called a coppa pizza. I’d not seen this ever done in the UK, and I thought it’d make for a bold new addition for our menu.
Although 50 Kalo was incredible as expected, it was at a lesser known restaurant called Pizzeria Sorpresa where we encountered the most innovative pizzas of the trip. One example was the ‘Concettina’, a pizza which included three different sets of toppings in one. That inspired our new Fifty Fifty pizza, as it showed us that it’s completely fine for one pizza to cater for many tastes whilst still retaining its Italian authenticity.
We also tasted the ‘scarpone’, which included fried aubergines as a topping. Again, this is something you don’t see often back in the UK, but the texture and balance of flavour was phenomenal. Everything we tried at this pizzeria was inspiring and has in some way influenced what you’ll now see on our menu. Most notably, the pizza slices were served rolled up, which gave us the idea for our new Pizza Roulette, as it allows for toppings to be concealed from view.
Finally, it wasn’t just the pizza that caught our attention here. We were also served a superb caprese salad which was so tasty it’s now been incorporated into our own menu.
Speaking of the new Revolution pizza menu, what’s your personal favourite from the selection?
I would give the honour to our artichoke pizza, as not only is it absolutely delicious, it’s something completely new for customers in the UK.
We noticed that the Fresco pizza was created by Phil, the chef at the Leicester bar. Can we expect to see any other chef creations making their way to future menus?
Definitely. The pizza competition will continue in the future as it provides an opportunity for all of our talented chefs to showcase their culinary skills and ability to devise dishes. In fact, Revolution have just re-launched their career progression programme which gives chefs an opportunity to master cooking certain types of food for them then to suggest new ways of preparing our dishes. It’s exactly the kind of creative freedom every chef dreams of having in the kitchen.
Does everyone really dress better in Italy?
Quite honestly, In Naples it seemed as though people were more interested in getting hold of good pizza than finding the latest fashion trends. Although, I’m sure in more cosmopolitan areas like Milan your theory would ring true!
Where’s next on your exploration of culinary delights?
Our main area of focus right now is to continue improving our dough recipe, as well as innovating our use of it. For example, perhaps we’ll start looking at how we can fold pizzas in interesting shapes that are even more fun to share.
We’re also hoping to make another trip to Spain and the US to gain further insight into trends and local ingredients, to see if they have any exciting ideas to inspire our approach to pizza.
Thanks for the chat Mark!
So there you have it. Our interview with Mark Rush, a man who is paid to go around ancient Italian cities tasting the finest pizza in the world.
Not the worst job in the world, right?
But that’s what it takes to maintain the high standard of exciting, authentic flavours our menu has to offer.
Check out the full new and improved pizza range here.