ASAP Pizza, the ingenious lockdown innovation from Flor’s Pam Yung and Helen Evans that treated the pizza base as a space for witty creativity and a showcase for ingredients and farmers from around the U.K, will return from Sunday 1 November.
Dubbed “ASAP Sundays,” Yung and her team will return to slinging out pizzas for sit-down diners and takeaway, ostensibly from 1 p.m. — 7 p.m.; the pizza almost invariably sold out earlier at the end of its first life. While this second coming is designed as a series of collaborations between suppliers — the first Natoora — the attitude and confidence behind the pizza is unlikely to change. The first pies to come out might include braised greens with green Meyer lemon and bottarga; ricotta salata with lurid orange miyagawa satsumas; and Black futzu squash with bitter leaves and sundried tomatoes. Viva the 1980s. Soft serve is also making a reappearance, whose creative swirls were a summer draw alongside the pizza, while Beattie and Roberts — from P. Franco’s Tom Beattie and Francis Roberts, formerly of Westerns Laundry — will look after drinks.
When ASAP opened, this website wrote that “London, by contrast, is a city that has a healthy Neapolitan pizza scene and some decent proprietary operators, but its most cutting-edge chefs have, until now, seldom strayed into [ASAP’s] realm.” That contrast was to New York, the city from which Yung had to come to London — where operators like Ops and Leo had already taken pizza as a dish on which to privilege the stamp of personality over fealty to the traditions or orthodoxies of countries or cities.
ASAP and therefore Yung and her team’s version of great pizza is a long-fermented, sturdy, flavourful base made from heritage wheats, which acts as a platform for the frequently name-checked suppliers at the restaurant: leaves and vegetables from Flourish Produce and Namayasai farm; with pork from Gothelney Farmer. While Flor, its home, is now reopened with a menu just as driven by Yung’s personal experience of several cities as ASAP’s pizza, the return of one of the most innovative responses to COVID-19’s impact on restaurants will likely be welcomed with extremely open arms.