Hidden Ancient Grains

I am standing in front of a narrow entrance way on a busy street. Inside the entrance, to my right is a closed electronic shop and to my left is a massage parlour and at the very end, perfectly hidden from the world is a tiny pizza restaurant, Picky Wops. The restaurant name comes from the English word picky as in being fussy or hard to please and the Italian word wops which, is an offensive word used to define Italians.

A friend told me about this place, which serves good vegan pizzas but the main attraction is the base which is made of a variety of different and unusual grains. We settle down at one of the small tables and pore over the menu. Each pizza can have four different types of base, kamut, hemp, turmeric and spirulina.

Using different grains in the pizza base was something I had not seen before and thought was an excellent idea as this would add subtle flavours to the pizza. Some grains that were used contained only small amounts of gluten, allowing people who have a gluten intolerance to have a pizza.

After a lot of deliberation, I finally decided on a simple margarita pizza with cashew mozzarella and crust stuffed with almond ricotta with a kamut base. Kamut is derived from the ancient Khorason grain. It is rich in proteins and minerals and contains less gluten than wheat. As it was placed down in front of me, I noticed that the different grain used in the base was not very obvious, unlike the others which had black or even a light green base. However when tasted, it was very different from a normal wheat dough.

The base tasted ever so slightly of toasted walnuts, which complimented the rich tomato sauce very well. The cashew mozzarella was excellent and was a good substitute for cheese as the cashews added a lovely milky and creamy texture. The tomato sauce was thick with added herbs that boosted the flavours of everything else. Fresh basil leaves had been scattered on top and helped slightly refresh my palette each time they were consumed. The almond ricotta was a real delight when you got to the end of the slice of pizza as it provided a new taste and texture to keep you interested in that single slice. The ricotta had a slight sweet creamy and almond taste which complimented the slightly bitter walnut tasting kamut dough. I finished off every crumb and even eyed up my friend’s pizza.

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Only one more slice left!

This is an excellent place, especially if you are looking for a good vegan or gluten free pizza. The majority of the toppings have been freshly made within the little restaurant and it was a delight to watch the staff making the pizzas. Picky Wops, I believe are the only restaurant in London at the moment that is offering alternative grains for pizza bases. The only problems is that the place is very small and seats only about eight people at any time. It’s a little bit difficult to find as it’s not directly on the street. Apart from that, it’s a splendid place which I shall definitely return to as I want to try out the other doughs with interesting grains.

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The creation of a pizza by the amazing chef.

 

Address: Shopping Palace, Unit (7)347 North End Road, Fulham, SW6 1NN, London

www.pickywops.com

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