Pizza To Go at Oregano

Takeaway goodness for the connoisseur

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108 Strand on the Green, Chiswick, W4 3NQ

0208 995 24 52


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It must be a nightmare for take-away pizza companies such as Oregano, that are attempting to compete with something that has the same name, sits in your fridge or freezer, requires no more cooking skill than “18-20 minutes at 200 degrees” and may be half the price. Shop-bought pizzas, fresh or frozen, get better and seem invariably to be sold in offer form eg buy two get one free style. So it’s up to takeaway pizza places to fight back with quality, variety and extra convenience. Not bad weapons for foodies to fight with, though.

Located on a nice little parade at the Kew Bridge end of Strand on the Green, right opposite the new Kew Bridge flats development, Oregano’s menu says it is a Traditional Italian Pizzaria but unfortunately telephone orders mean you can’t really vouch for that. It’s not a restaurant, so there’s nothing to invite diners to come and possibly witness twirling dough or wood fired ovens. The menu does say the dough is made daily on site but obviously all you have to go on is what arrives at your door and goes on your plate.

About 8.15 one evening, we ordered a 13 inch prosciutto cotto & funghi pizza for £13.99 and a 10 inch diavolo pizza at £9.85 and a £3.95 tricolor salad. Explaining we were hungry, we asked how long they’d be and when the answer was 35-40 minutes (why is all takeaway 35-40 minutes?) I suggested that as I lived just down the road I could come and pick them up. I thought I could perhaps take a squint at the kitchen while I was there. “No, no” came the friendly reply “we’ll get them to you.” I assumed that somehow they’d be a bit quicker. Not so, 40 minutes later on the dot, the pizzas arrived. But our house is a bit tricky to find and I was on the phone.

I do rather wish I’d been more resolute and picked them up. I suspect the texture of the Oregano pizza base is sublime when it’s straight from the oven (a bit like chips straight from the frier). It was delicious even when softened a bit during its journey: thin, which I prefer, not overly yeasty in flavour and with a still crisp margin beyond the topping. Unlike many shop pizzas, there was no inch and a half of toasted dough with nothing on it or, even more hideous, stuffed with something.

I was a bit surprised that the ham on the prosciutto cotto & funghi pizza was diced. I’ve become accustomed to sheets of ham on my pizza but the Oregano pizza proved that, although it might not look as sophisticated, it does cook more evenly when everything is about the same size. This is the pizza that’s more commonly called a La Reine or, in Germany, a Cardinale. (My first great, and lasting for a lifetime, pizza experience was in Italy but staying at a German run campsite. Fabulous weather, pizza cardinale perfection AND sparkling shower blocks!)

Both the honey roast ham and the mushrooms had a good flavour, the mozzarella was nicely creamy and the tomato sauce on the base so Italian and sun drenched it was almost singing o sole mio! This tasted like the real deal.

It was over to my husband to report on the diavolo (devil), one of the four pizzas on the menu marked by a chilli sign: the gamberoni with prawns, the vostra with smoked pork belly and leeks, and the gorganzola with the namesake cheese plus red onion and pepperoni. Each of these claim red hot chillies, which for some reason is madly attractive to my nearest.

The diavola also includes hot spiced beef in little nuggets, pepperoni and red onion and it was certainly spicy. We often feel that restaurants hold back on flavour and spice unless they are serving students. Bravely, this pizza did not play safe and sent all its flavours and heat, especially the chilli, but including the tomato sauce, the mozzarella and the thin crust, into battle. And it won.

The salad gave us perfect-condition sliced avocado, fresh tomatoes, black olives and white mozzarella drizzled with well flavoured olive oil. All prettily presented in its travelling box. I just added black pepper.

All the pizzas come in two sizes 10 inch and 13 inch. A basic margherita with fresh basil is £7.50 or £9.50; 10 of the remaining 23 pizzas listed on the menu are £9.85/£13.50 and 12 are £9.85/£13.99; leaving the frutti de mare at £10.45/£13.95. Can’t quite see the logic in this pricing but there you go. A folded calzone pizza is £8.99.

The extra toppings, £1.50 / £2.00 each according to pizza size, include wood smoked chicken, parma ham and salami Napoli among the 10 meats; wild rocket, grilled artichokes, grilled aubergine, fresh garlic and roasted green peppers among 24 vegetable selections plus 8 cheeses and salted anchovies, tuna, prawns and egg. You really can build the pizza of your dreams.

If you’re wanting the full dinner experience there are starters such as the not very Italian chicken wings and potato wedges buts also meatballs and calamari , a variety of salads, spaghetti, penne and other pasta dishes as well as risottos and to finish ice-cream, tiramisu and a delicious sounding ricotta and pear dessert. But you have to open your own wine or beer because there is no licence.

Our order came to £27.79 including free delivery (over £10).

Liz Vercoe

September 4, 2012