Legendary Californian chef and restaurateur Nancy Silverton will make a long-awaited London debut by opening a branch of Pizzeria Mozza at the Treehouse Hotel, at the top of Regent Street in central London, in July, as first reported by the Evening Standard.
Such are the realities of hotel partnerships and London-to-Los Angeles flight times, it is likely that Silverton’s direct, day-to-day involvement will be limited, but diners can expect a faithful adherence to the Fairfax institution in key areas:
Pizzas, with “well-structured crusts” — ranging from classic margheritas and Napolitana to the “unconventional,” such as a take on clam pie, which adds red onion, garlic, parsley, and Pecorino to the shellfish toping, and Siliverton’s take on the Hawaiian, which features speck, pineapple, jalapenos, tomato, and mozzarella. Her own brand of ice cream, Nancy’s Fancy’, will also make an appearance on the London menu.
Its primo central location on the ground floor of the hotel, next door to the BBC’s headquarters, will ensure the restaurant has no issues with footfall. It will nevertheless do well to court the city’s pizza hypebeasts and increasingly critical bakery nerds.
With a preference for privacy over limelight, Silverton’s influence on the direction of American food culture may be less apparent to Londoners than it should be. Founding Campanile and La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles in 1989, and her pair of Mozza restaurants in 2007, Silverton is an undisputed architect of both the California cuisine that shaped 1990s America, and the modern bread movement that is apparent in bakeries across the globe, including in London, today. Anywhere featuring food driven by market availability with a California/Italian slant — i.e a lot of restaurants — is operating somewhere within Silverton’s orbit. Silverton is also behind the Michelin-starred Osteria Mozza on Melrose Avenue in LA.
In 2020, the chef faced a stern online rebuke for an op-ed she co-wrote with the reporter, Michael Krikorian in the Los Angeles Times in which the authors likened looters to “roaches” and used racist references when discussing the coronavirus.
Silverton will open the London restaurant with a drinks programme developed by restaurateur Joe Bastianich, the former long-time partner of disgraced chef Mario Batali who was the subject of numerous sexual misconduct allegations, reported by Eater NY in 2017 and 2018. The Bastianich family’s B&B Hospitality Group itself has been the subject of grave allegations in recent years — a workplace described as a “boy’s club” that fostered a culture of a misconduct.
In January 2020, Eater NY reported that the New York state attorney general was “looking into” Bastianich as part of its wider investigation into the Batali allegations. The attorney general’s office confirmed on 16 June that the case was “ongoing.”
Silverton trained at Le Cordon Blue cookery school in London’s Marylebone in 1977. The London she returns to four decades later is a very different place. One, she told the Evening Standard, “of the great dining cities of the planet.”
More on this new opening soon.