Have you heard about this new local independent gem?

Poli

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.

Poli

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.

Poli

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.

Poli

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.

Poli

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.

Poli

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.

Poli

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.

Poli

York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 7SA.

https://www.wearepoli.co.uk

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