Jan 21 2011 Dan Hodges, Fulham Chronicle
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The Bake At Home Pizza Company
PIZZA in its classic form is one of the simplest of all dishes, but also one of the hardest to get absolutely right.
The dough must be thin and crispy, with just the right quantities of tomato sauce and cheese, and - crucially - it has to be served piping hot.
This last condition is one of the most perplexing, particularly when ordering home delivery from one of the innumerable gourmet pizza shops now populating our capital.
After 15 minutes on the back of a Vespa through the sodden, cold streets of west London in winter, the chances are the finished product will have lost much of its fresh-out-the-oven appeal by the time it reaches your front door.
That at least is the working assumption of Joshua Beth, founder of the newly opened Bake At Home Pizza Company in Fulham, who believes he has found a clever way to get round the problem.
Operating from a bunker-like kitchen in Peterborough Road, Joshua transforms carefully sourced ingredients to create fine raw pizzas, which are then delivered in brown-paper wrapping with foolproof instructions - crank your oven up to its highest temperature, slide the pizza and parchment paper off the cardboard disk into the hot cooker, wait for about 12 minutes, remove and enjoy.
There is clearly a knack to this, however, which may not come naturally to an absolute beginner.
Unless the cardboard disk is shoved deep into the oven before sliding the pizza on to the shelf, there is a risk that the soft, supple dough will fold awkwardly in on itself during the process.
Thankfully, we were able to experiment with a starter of bake-at-home garlic bread, which was easy enough to rescue after some initial ineptitude, and truly delicious on its re-emergence from the oven.
The pizza itself was a fiesta of fungi, with chestnut and portobello mushrooms, grana padano cheese and the luxurious aroma of truffle oil.
It lived up to its freshly cooked promise, with the caveat that it could perhaps have done with one or two minutes longer than stated to make the centre of the base as crispy as desired.
The menu offers a range of concoctions, involving such delights as pancetta, meatballs, mascarpone, aubergine, artichoke and butternut squash, and it's not all about the pizza.
Bake-at-home almond cake metamorphosed from a disk of beige paste into a fluffy and moist pudding, and chocolate-chip cookies were transformed from tightly packed spheres into deliciously sweet hot biscuits with melting middles.
Apart from the extra effort of turning on your oven, this new local dining option is as inexpensive and convenient as any other takeaway, with the added guarantee of freshness. And with a touch of training and a flick of the wrist, most Fulhamites ought to be able to learn how to cook their own pizza with confidence.
THE BAKE AT HOME PIZZA COMPANY
South Park Studios 88 Peterborough Road Fulham SW6 3HH 020 7736 1200 bakeathomepizza.co.uk