Pizza pizza pizza. What can I say? I’m a fan. A big fan! So when I heard there was a new pizza place in Bayswater called Old Lira I was pretty keen to give it a whirl. Tucked away on the corner of Garratt and Guildford Roads and currently only open from 5 to 9 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights it meant there is only quite a short window to get in and sample their wares.
At Old Lira we use fresh, hand-stretched sourdough bases and simple combinations of quality ingredients to create delicious pizzas you can take away and enjoy.
Now last Friday I had it in my head that I wanted pizza for dinner and initially I had planned to grab it on the way home, but I ended up finishing a little earlier so went home so GG and I could fine tune our selections. After considerable “umming” and “ahhing” we phoned through our order for a Number 3 – Pepperoni, Mozzarella, Marash Pepper, Red Sauce ($16) and a Number 8 – Salami, Basil, Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola White Sauce ($19). Oh and a serve of Garlic Bread (Baguette Style – $5). I was told it would be ready in about 20-25 minutes, so knowing traffic could be an issue I hightailed it to the car and set off for Bayswater. Thankfully the roads weren’t too busy and I made it there in about 20 minutes.
I wandered inside and was told my pizzas were just in the oven and would be about 10 minutes. I found myself a stool and enjoyed the opportunity to check out this new pizza place, which while new was clearly doing a roaring trade if the ringing phones and parade of folks coming to pick up orders was any indication.
The place had a homely feel to it, very welcoming and lovely and warm from the pizza ovens and they have made it their own with some artistic paintings adorning the walls. Their menu was on display along the wall behind the till and it confirmed what I already knew, but there were definitely other pizzas I was keen to try. From where I sat you could see into the kitchen, the action centre, where the Old Lira crew was busy preparing orders. Early days in their new home here but they had a good production line on the go.
Soon enough I was getting waved over and my order was ready. I hastily scampered back to the car and drove home as quickly (and safely) as I could. I got a good run of traffic lights and soon enough it was time for dinner.
We started with some of the garlic bread, which came in chunky baguette pieces. It was nice enough and the baguette tasted as though it had been baked fresh in house (yum). Potentially could have been slightly more garlicky, but I recognise that GG and I are in the camp of the more the merrier for garlic on garlic bread. It was fine though.
On first seeing the pizzas they looked good to me, albeit they had slightly more cheese than I would tend to favour, but the test was in the tasting. I started with the Number 3. I’m a long time fan of pepperoni on pizza and it was delicious. I didn’t actually know a lot about Marash Peppers but as I found out (via the wonder of wiki) they are peppers that are grown in Turkey, are sun-dried, stemmed, seeded, and ground. A sprinkling of this special pepper really added something extra to this pizza, a nice amount of spice and lifted it from being a regular pepperoni pizza. I enjoyed the base. It was different to those I had recently fallen in love with at Ace Pizza that were a lot thinner and crispier. At Old Lira they use a sourdough base so they are a little thicker and have a bit of chew to them. Still very nice, just different. Personally I probably prefer something thinner, but we weren’t talking deep dish by any means. Just marginally thicker than the last pizzas I had eaten was all.
There was a quite a mild blue cheese flavour in the gorgonzola white sauce on the second pizza. I’m a big blue cheese fan so I wouldn’t have minded if it had more of a blue kick but it tasted delicious all the same. Something indulgent about a rich cheesy sauce too. The cherry tomatoes added a lovely sweetness and the salami had a pleasant amount of spice. The fresh basil was a welcome addition too, however both GG and I wished that perhaps they had been slightly more liberal with their sprinkling of this fresh herb. Another delicious pizza though. Different to the first and the both of us found it hard to pick a favourite, liking elements of both equally.
It had been a tasty introduction to Old Lira. They have some interesting flavour combinations on their pizzas and I’m sure they will be a popular addition to that Bayswater corner :)