Portswood has enjoyed a refresh in recent years and now boasts a quirky selection of eateries. Over the last five years, this suburb just outside the city centre is home to a few gelaterias, a Greek taverna, a burger joint, a shisha bar and now *drum roll* a Neapolitan Pizzeria too! I was browsing Facebook one night and I saw on the Baffi page they listed a branch in Portswood. Eagerly I sent them a message asking more about this branch. I sent them a link to Keith’s Kitchen and they very kindly invited me in for a complimentary meal for two. Amazing! How could I refuse another free pizza?! What’s more, I was the only blogger to be invited!!
I invited my lovely friend Nichola to dine with me. We we amazed at the transformation of this former Lloyds Bank building and joked at how we both used to do our banking here. We loved the exposed brickwork with the giant mural and the exposed ceilings. Of course, the real attention-grabber is the wood-fired oven which can be seen from almost anywhere in the dining room. What a beautiful thing…
Before we were seated, the really friendly manager, Vania, showed us one of the old bank vaults which is now used for drinks storage. We were then showed to our seats. Being an old bank, the dining area is really big and airy with high ceilings; very unique. The candles on the tables were a nice romantic touch. We were offered drinks; Nichola had Peroni and I had San Pellegrino Orange. Then Vania told us a little about the menu, which had a lot of choice, and explained the Neapolitan style of pizza. Nichola ordered pizza #7 with prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, rocket, (more) tomato, mozzarella, parmasan and basil. Nichola asked for lactose free cheese and this wasn’t a problem. It didn’t take long for the skilled chefs to prepare our pizzas and the wood-fired oven cooks them in well under 2 minutes.
I ordered pizza #6 with spicy pork & fennel meatballs, tomato, mozzarella, basil and parmesan…
Forgive me whilst I go all ‘pizza geek’ now, but I was very impressed with the cornicione (crust) of the pizzas; they were so puffy with great charring. So flavoursome! The base had more volume and char than the 4 pizzas I’ve eaten at Franco Manca, Southampton and was equally as soft. It’s making me hungry just writing about it!! There was just the right amount of topping because with Neapolitan pizza, less is more. The pork meatballs gave a real spicy and fennel kick. Nichola’s pizza was very generous with the prosciutto and the lactose-free cheese was delicious too. Both pizzas also had that irresistible soupy middle; a mixture of sweet tomato sauce infused with fresh basil and molten cheese which is typical of Neapolitan pizzas. Moreover, they were very airy and easily-digestible, leaving more room for dessert!
The dessert that jumped out at me the most on the menu was the Nutella pizza, but I fancied the tiramisu instead as I needed a ‘pick me up’!! It sure packed a coffee punch and was not too heavy to eat either. The addition of a cantucci biscuit poking out of the top was a nice touch. Nichola had blueberry sorbet and tells me it was light and zingy! I loved the presentation of both desserts, although for some reason my camera went out of focus!!
It was smiles all around and we both had a great night! We spent a good couple of hours there with many customers coming and going; brilliant when you consider that it was mid-week at a restaurant that opened only a few days before. The separate bar area was nice too and had 25kg bags of the famous Neapolitan Caputo pizza flour atop it. The service was so friendly and fun too. We never felt rushed even though we stayed until near the closing time. The staff insisted on a couple of group photos as we were leaving 🙂 Say cheese…
All-in-all, if you’re after amazing wood-fired Neapolitan pizza in a lovely setting then this is the place for you. It’s slightly pricier than Franco Manca (which has below-average prices), but the prices are about what you’d expect to pay here in the UK. Moreover, I’d say I prefer the pizza at Baffi by a small margin. I can’t wait to go back, especially as I live nearby!!
Keith’s rating: 4.5/5
Date of visit: 9th August 2017
267-271 Portswood Rd
Have you visited Baffi? Let me know what you thought in the comments below…