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Buonissimo: A pizza oasis worth the Zone 3 hike

Saturday 24 May 2014
Words Darren Skene

Better than good is what Buonissimo claims in Italian, and with chilli oil, Aperol and Americanos this great, it’s hardly hyperbole.

The first time I catch sight of Buonissimo it’s a Sunday lunchtime, it has rained a few hours ago and the windows to this North London cafe are steamed up so all I can gather is that it’s busy and that they sell coffee and croissants. While that’s nothing to note if you live within Zones 1 and 2, it’s still a novelty in Haringey. As all Londoners do when faced with a truly overwhelming choice of thousands of places to grab coffee in London, I file it away as a “should-try”, and continue my cycle up to Ally Pally.

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But there it is again, late one night on the way back from the cinema, a neon sign in the window advertising what I realise in disbelief are names of pizzas. Pizza. Screens playing football. And with less people crowded in, and a colder evening, I can see to the back bar, dotted with Aperol, Peroni and Campari. Is this some kind of mirage?

So of course I’m back within 12 hours. I don’t even arrange for this trip to fit around a certain meal- my boyfriend and I just need to see this IRL; proper coffee, proper pizza and Italian liquor within walking distance?

It turns out that Buonissimo is a kind of oasis up in Wood Green. Just south of Turnpike Lane, places to eat that don’t involve the Wetherspoons franchise are few and far between, and ones that involve coffee as good as this? Almost non-existent. We arrive on a damp, dreary Thursday at half twelve, to a restaurant doing a swift business with office lunches, two blokes catching up over some amazing looking apple cake and a lot of mums and babies. It’s no wonder- there’s literally no-where else like this, with or without Peroni, for miles.

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The pasta is all fresh, the traditional way, made with eggs, and the salads all sound delicious, but are laced with cheeses, anchovies and hams. Familiar with the fact that Italian food is quite tricky for vegans, I stick with the pizza menu, opting for a Vegetariana pizza with no mozzerella. If we were here for dinner, I would have gone in for one of the starters from the extensive list, and even as a vegan, I’d love to see how the aranchini would turn out on someone else’s plate.

My pizza arrives thin, crispy and juicy, with a generous amount of aubergine and courgette, and a perfectly seasonsed tomato sauce base. Doused in chilli oil, you hardly miss the cheese, and although I definitely wasn’t intending to devour an entire pizza at lunch, it’s not like I’m making any effort to stop myself. The beef lasagne my boyfriend has ordered comes baked in an individual dish, rich, stuffed full of bechamel sauce and dense with flavour.

Service is impeccable,the decor is great, pared down, no frills, just bare brickwork, good lighting and a widescreen television my boyfriend and I plan to watch the majority of the World Cup from. Our bill, which we added mineral water and two spot-on Americanos to, came to just less than £12 each, which is hardly more than a fry up once you’re in central London, but up here seems to get you a whole lot more for your dollar. At barely two months old, Buonissimo is a wonderful neighbourhood joint, and one I can’t wait to get back to.