Artisan sourdough pizza restaurant and take-away establishment, Morelli Zorelli, opened its doors – after a long period of refurbishment – in early August 2016. We have enjoyed their pizzas in the past, and so were looking forward to seeing what they had done with the place after being closed for a considerable time.
The competition in Brighton and Hove for “authentic Neapolitan” pizza has been hotting up for sometime, with the recent openings of Franco Manca, Fatto A Mano, and Nu Posto to name but a few. It’s pleasing to see smaller businesses taking on the corporate giants of Pizza Express, Zizzi, Ask et al, and beating them in terms of quality, price and dining experience.
Visited: August 2016
The quality of the pizzas, and reasonably large menu.
Slightly confused interior design, and the service could be better.
We went to Morelli Zorelli as a group of four on a busy Saturday night soon after they had re-opened. The pizza oven is still pride of place upstairs, and while they have limited seating on this level, they also have a further downstairs dinning area. As part of the refit there’s also been a re-brand including a new logo – gone is the red and white lettering, replaced with a navy blue motif. The interior is a mix of post-industrial and vintage shabby chic. Tables and benches made from scaffolding poles, walls lined with corrugated iron, and graffiti daubed here and there. Contrasting this are the vintage retro light bulbs (which seem to be an essential for any trendy joint nowadays) and a large mirror decorated with knives and forks. To me, this style is what I might expect of a cool burger restaurant, rather than traditional Neapolitan pizzas.
We all ordered a different pizza each (Meatball, Ham and Mushroom, San Daniele, and Carne) a garlic bread, and a few dips of garlic mayo, and blue cheese. As a nice touch, the meatballs of their pizzas are supplied by local business, Brighton Sausage Company. The menu is large with various meat and vegetarian options, Cicchetti (Italy’s version of tapas), and sides. There’s also gluten-free and vegan options too. With all this choice, it would be great to visit as part of a larger group and order a variety of items to share.
The drinks menu has many craft beer options (including Brighton Bier) but far fewer wines (four whites, three reds, two rosés). I also noticed that none of the wines were actually Italian, which I thought was a little strange. I would have thought it would be relatively easy to source a good value Nero d’Avola, which would pair well with pizza.
Our food did take a while to arrive (given that pizza only takes moments to prepare and cook) and unfortunately without the dips that we had ordered. Eventually they did come, however these also took some time to arrive after our pizzas, which was a shame. The restaurant was by no means full, however being downstairs we could not tell how busy they were with takeaway orders.
The pizzas themselves were delicious. The bright-tasting San Marzano tomato sauce base was lovely, and the chewy sourdough bases were good and thin in the middle with a nice puffy charred skirt. The quality of the ingredients and toppings really stood through. If you’ve enjoyed their pizzas in the past, then don’t worry – following the recent changes they are just as good, if not better than they were before.
Unfortunately, we were too full to finish all our pizzas (they kindly boxed up the left-overs for us) and so we had no room for a dessert of the excellent Gelato Gusto ice cream that was presented at the front of the restaurant.
When it came to settling up, our waiter was unable to present us with a copy of the bill (something wrong with the systems) and so I was expected to accept what he told me the total amount was. Sensing that I wasn’t particularly happy with this as an arrangement, I was invited to review the breakdown on their till to confirm the amount was correct.
In summary, the pizza at Morelli Zorelli has always been good, and continues to be so. Hopefully the re-brand and refit will help them to compete with all the other excellent pizzerias in the Brighton and Hove. In terms of the service, I’m sure that it will improve, given that it was still in the early days of the re-opening when we visited.
Overall Verdict: 7/10
Cost of food: Pizzas range between £5-£11.50 per pizza. Sides, salads and Chiccetti between £3-£8.
40 Western Road
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