The Evolution of London Pizza: A Slice of Innovation

There’s a misconception about pizza that academic and part-time “pizza whisperer” Vaughn Tan is quick to debunk. He argues that pizza isn’t just a product of cities but a reflection of the person making it. This insight challenges the widespread belief that pizza is tied to specific locales like Rome, New York, or Naples. It got me thinking about the state of pizza in London and whether there is such a thing as a “London pizza.”

While some attempts have been made to define a unique London pizza style, it has been largely unsuccessful. Writer Claire Finney explored pizzerias in the city that experimented with unconventional toppings, but the results fell short of greatness. London has been slow to identify and embrace exceptional pizza, unlike cities like New York, where culinary greatness is quickly recognized, refined, and adopted by the market. But that’s where Pamela Yung’s pizzas at Flor’s ASAP Pizza come in.

ASAP Pizza, created during the lockdown, took over the space of Flor in Borough Market. Initially seen as a pivot for income, ASAP Pizza surprised critics and food enthusiasts alike with its London-centric pizzas. Pamela Yung, with her pizza pedigree and experience, reinvented the concept of pizza, offering truly great pizzas in London. The pizzas at ASAP Pizza are a testament to her expertise and creativity. They have become an instant hit, captivating the taste buds of Londoners.

Yung’s pizzas are distinctively different. The dough, meticulously crafted by Flor’s baker Helen, is made from a blend of heritage flours, resulting in unique textures and flavors. The base is moon-like, with crusts that blur the line between well-done and burnt. The stiffness of the slices, despite the weight of the toppings, challenges the soupy Neapolitan style that has become the norm. It’s a pizza experience that is both familiar and revolutionary.

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ASAP Pizza doesn’t adhere to traditional pizza conventions. Their menu showcases a range of toppings, from high-end options using “Natoora trash” to country-inspired pizzas featuring locally sourced produce. The creativity knows no bounds, with pizzas even turning green. Yung’s pizzas are not only delicious but a celebration of the artistry of baking and cooking.

As ASAP Pizza prepares to close its doors and Flor gears up for reopening, the future of ASAP is still undecided. However, for a few glorious months, London had a taste of exceptional pizza. The question now is whether other chefs will take up the challenge and embrace this new style of pizza-making. Will they see it as an opportunity to pursue creativity and redefine London’s pizza scene? It remains to be seen.

One thing is clear: Yung’s dedication to excellence has paved the way for a potential London pizza revolution. As she rightly says, good pizzas are the product of cities, but great pizzas are the product of passionate individuals. Whether ASAP Pizza becomes the catalyst for a new London pizza style or just remains a temporary pivot, one thing is certain – for now, it’s Pam’s pizza, and it’s definitely worth a try.

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