Have you heard about this new local independent gem?


In a month when a national pizza chain opened amid a hullabaloo of publicity a branch in Birmingham city centre, quietly an independent pizza joint opened three miles away.

Poli is a new venture by the young guys behind Grace & James, a bar and deli that specialises in natural wines, trendy beers, charcuterie and cheeses.

It’s next door to G&J in York Road in Kings Heath, an area that can boast some great little businesses.

What a shame that Poli hasn’t enjoyed the same blaze of publicity as the local outlet of an expanding national chain.

It’s an absolute gem and is destined to become a go-to place on those midweek nights when I can’t be arsed to cook.

Like G&J, the wines and beers are artisan and likewise the ingredients that go into and on the Neapolitan-style pizzas.

As well as a range of pizzas (obviously), there are snacks, small plates, dips for the pizza crusts and desserts.


Pickled grapes were an interesting nibble as we waited for other dishes to arrive – their natural sweetness offset by perky acidity.

Though I enjoyed their sharpness, a little added sugar may have made them a better companion for the Puglian red wine I was drinking.


But they went well with a plate of Black Hand English Coppa – ruby red slices of pork with a good level of sweet fat and a rich flavour.

A plate of wood fired cauliflower was nicely scorched and came with a punchy red pesto and hazelnuts.

The cauli itself retained its firmness and earthy flavour.


But now on to the stars of the evening – the pizzas.

My pizza bianco was a glorious thing – the sourdough crust as soft and yielding as a pillow and blistered here and there by the woodstove’s intense heat.


On top lay buffalo mozzarella and a gently smoked version of the southern Italian cow’s milk cheese scamorza.

A sprinkling of pecorino added saltiness and a touch of umami, a black pepper cream gave a hint of heat.

Opposite lay a margherita – that simple combination of tomato, mozzarella, basil and pecorino which leaves no room for error or cost-cutting.


Here the cooking was spot-on and the quality of the ingredients top-notch.

After the generously-sized pizzas came a shared dessert – a strawberry, shortbread, marshmallow, jam and chocolate ice-cream sandwich from the snigger-inducing Happy Endings company.


It was great in an adult childish kind of way.

Glancing now at the menu, there’s not a single pizza I wouldn’t order – though high on my next-to-try list are the puttanesca and guanciale versions.

Likewise a lunchtime visit for a plate of roasted bone marrow with sourdough alongside a glass of something robust and red.

It’s a pleasant place to sit – more cafe than posh restaurant.

Business seems rightly to be brisk – proving that quality and passion can succeed even without hype.

Need to know

We spent £30 a head on lots of food and a good bottle of Primitivo.

There are vegetarian dishes.

Poli is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Opening times vary the rest of the week.


York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 7SA.


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