There’s a dog down my park who answers to the name of Otto.
His owner can often be heard calling the creature in a strident tone that puts me in mind of Sybil Fawlty berating the hapless Basil.
Thus the first image the moniker summons to mind is of a scampering dog rather than something I’d like to eat.
Which has changed since a visit to Otto, a trendy pizza joint in the Jewellery Quarter.
Henceforth I shall think not of a scampering daschund but of a pizza so gorgeous that I’d happily dress it in a wedding dress and marry the thing.
Otto – the restaurant, not the hound – has been around for a couple of years now but this was my first visit.
I hang my head in shame at my tardiness and can offer no explanation other than rank stupidity.
It’s not a posh space – a long(ish) and thin(ish) room tarted up with a bit of paint and artwork leading towards an open-plan kitchen.
The room was fragrant with the seductive aroma of baking dough as I read a menu that’s short and to the point.
Pizzas (obviously), a few simple starters, sharing platters, a couple of side dishes.
There’s a concise wine list, a selection of cocktails and some interesting craft ales.
After schlepping across town, I quenched my thirst with a tangy Stray Cat lager made in Staffordshire and, at 4.0%, not too hefty a drink before a visit later to Birmingham Whisky Club up the road.
But on to the main business – the pizza.
There’s a choice of eight on the menu, with a few specials scrawled a blackboard.
That which I chose was a wonderful thing.
Slices of coppa – usually Italian air-dried pork but here from Wedlock Edge in Shropshire – was rich and flavoursome, in parts crisped like well-done bacon.
Roasted cauliflower added earthy notes, caramelised onions gave sweetness.
There was a moistening but unobtrusive smear of tomato and a scattering of salty yet mild crumbled goats’ cheese.
But the star was the pizza base, made with properly worked dough that had been blasted quickly in an intensely hot wood-fired oven so that it was spotted here and there with dark, toasty blemishes.
That I carried on eating well after I was satisfied is tribute to its gorgeousness.
Were I to carp, I’d observe that the plates are a little too small to accommodate the pizzas. But that’s a minor matter.
For this is a restaurant that knows exactly what it is about – simply creating top-class pizza.
And, sodding heck, it doesn’t half succeed.
Need to know
Pizzas are priced between £6.50 and £9.50.
There are vegetarian options.
It opens 5pm-9pm Sunday-Thursday and 12pm-10pm Friday-Saturday.
They do takeaways.
Otto Wood Fired Pizza
14 Caroline St, Hockley, Birmingham B3 1TR. 0121 448 2388.