The shopping parade may be antique but Pizza Organic, with its organic focus, is a trailblazer in the health food revolution. This extends to a good selection of vegetarian dishes, organic wine and a non-smoking section which, by customer demand, is 80% to 90% of the seating.
The bright décor and glass paneling give a bright, open environment that's nicely counterpointed by the rustic atmosphere and wooden floor boarding.
This initiative is a risky venture that others have failed with due to the difficulty getting truly organic ingredients. But Pizza Organic's strategy might just succeed where having 6 (soon 10) organic restaurants creates buying power. Another good move is their purchasing director being active member of the Soil Association.
So for the food... The starter was Flame roasted pepper and chicken salad which had a sweet, mild mustard sauce. The green peppers were browned on the edges and the salad was a little "tired", perhaps due to the warm chicken.
There is a good variety of Pizzas, ranging from the simple Margherita to American Hot, with salsa sauce. I elected for the Sorrento with spicy beef, pepperoni, roast pork, onion, spicy tomato sauce and red leicester. I found the sauce a little bland for my palate, being used to more herbs, though it had a fresh tomato flavor. It is a deliberately light on herbs, to retain the natural flavors of the ingredients. The crust was perfect - crispy around the edges and not soggy in the middle. There was a buttery flavor to the toppings, probably from the red leicester.
Most of the clientele seemed to be in the 30 to 40 range, clearly successful in their chosen professions and dressed in a comfortable relaxed The meal was rounded off with Rocombe farm ice cream. This Tia Maria flavored desert had a fresh mild flavor enhanced with orange grind. Even this dish seemed lighter and fresher than normal.
Throughout the meal, even with the Serenel Rosso organic wine, freshness came across as a constant feeling. On my departure I felt a fresher palate and less weighed down. This healthy freshness comes at a cost of some tastiness and nuances of flavor. Like drinking coffee without sugar or cream this must be an acquired taste. Something well worth trying out.
If you'd like to try organic food in a casual relaxed atmosphere, while enjoying the English country roads, then I'd recommend Pizza Organic.
Tel: 01494 677758
Wally Robertson, April, 2000
is off street parking