There is not a foodie in town who was not excited about the opening of New York’s famed pizzeria, Motorino. Having been named “the city’s best pizza” by The New York Times, it’s not surprising that its opening here in March caused quite a stir by pizza lovers all over town, all eagerly awaiting an authentic Neapolitan pizza.
The space, which was previously Shelley’s Yard, next to the escalator, is reminiscent of a hip New York pizza joint, with exposed bricks, distressed hardwood floor, marble tables and pressed tin ceiling. More important than the décor, however, is the authentic Ferrara pizza oven that Motorino’s founder Chef Mathieu Palombino prides himself on, to create his popular Neapolitan pizzas.
Before putting the pizzas to the test, we shared a starter of meatballs and immediately knew Motorino was going to make us happy. The meat was incredibly smooth and tender, having been braised in a thick, mouth-watering tomato sauce. Who needs spaghetti when you have meatballs this tasty?
Onto the main event, we first shared a soppressata piccante pizza. Whilst some pizza restaurants skimp on toppings, Motorino is thankfully very generous, loading this one up with spicy soppressata, chillies, fior di latte, oregano, pecorino and slivers of garlic. Although often considered burnt, real Neapolitan pizzas carry that ever so slightly charred flavour on the crust, which Motorino perfected just right. The base was wonderfully airy and light, yet unfortunately could not cope with the load of ingredients, resulting in a rather soggy mess that would definitely not impress on a first date.
Also generously topped was the prosciutto pizza, one of my all time favourites. Unlike the classic version, however, this had a white base, laden with creamy fior di latte and pecorino, making it deliciously comforting and not nearly as soggy as the first pizza.
To finish, we were presented with a large slice of tiramisu. Only two trays of tiramisu are made fresh every morning, so when it’s gone, it’s gone. Although slightly on the creamy side, it had a wonderful balanced flavour that wasn’t too coffee-heavy and perfectly rounded off our seriously indulgent meal. All was washed down with a bottle of Gragnano (apparently the ‘perfect pizza wine’) and we finished, just as we would have in Naples, with a glass of refreshing limoncello.
Unlike a lot of Soho restaurants, service at Motorino was surprisingly good – in fact a little too good at times, with waitresses ready to take our plates before we had even finished each course. The total bill came to just over $400 a head and we definitely did not leave hungry. Motorino in New York may well merit the title of the city’s best pizza. I’m not sure it deserves quite the same title here, but it’s certainly trying and I will most definitely be a regular customer; after all, I need to try the infamous Brussels sprouts pizza everyone’s talking about to see what all the fuss is about!
14 Shelley Street
Tel: +852 2801 6881 (Note: they don’t take bookings)