One of my New Year’s resolutions has been that I would try and support local, independent business more. This is something that in my area (Forest Hill, SE London) is fortunately very easy to do, as the local businesses are something that the local residents are, quite rightly, immensely proud of. We are blessed with a plethora of independently run food, drinks, arts/crafts outlets and there is hardly a “regular” high-street name in sight.
One of the businesses that I had heard a lot about, but never actually been able to check out was the Van Dough pizza company, who cook pizzas in a wood-fired oven in the back of a vintage 1970 Citroën van. I first became aware of them via Twitter when I saw that they ran a pizza evening at the rather lovely St David’s Coffee Shop, but every time I tried to get tickets I found that they were sold out… It was then that I saw that every Thursday evening they parked their van up in a church car park around the corner from my house! So, last Thursday I went down to check them out.
The van itself is certainly charming with the serving hatch nicely decorated with fairy lights to give it an extra touch of glamour, but what really impressed me was how busy they were. There were people arriving constantly to pick-up pre-ordered pizzas, as well as a steady stream of people (like us) who hadn’t pre-ordered. We had to wait about 15 minutes for our pizza, but that was fine as it gave us a chance to chat to the guys running it (Steph and James) who were exceedingly friendly, despite how busy they were.
There were a number of regular pizzas available as well as a couple of specials. All of the pizzas are made on sourdough bases and are made freshly while you wait. They costed around £5 – £6 and in terms of size I would say that one person can definitely eat a pizza on their own. The pizza I had was one of their specials, which was a four cheese pizza featuring mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and stilton. It was very nice and very well made. It reminded me of the pizzas that I had at Franco Manca in Brixton, which was also a sourdough pizza (see my post on it for more info).
Given that these pizzas are being cooked weekly around the corner from me and are so reasonably priced, I will certainly be returning… Plus it all helps me with my resolution to shop locally and support the great Forest Hill businesses!