Earlier this year, Leopard Pie opened in Worsley – and it immediately got everyone talking.
Though only open for takeaway at the time, the new Neapolitan pizza joint regularly sold out of their wood fired pizzas, with locals pre-ordering to make sure they could get their fix.
Now, Leopard Pie has opened as a dine-in restaurant, complete with a peaceful sunny courtyard so you can enjoy your pizza – or perhaps one of their new freshly made Italian panuozzo sandwiches – al fresco.
We couldn’t wait to try it out.
The restaurant itself is simple and stylish, with a mezzanine level for intimate dining and an open kitchen for a full view of the pizza action.
And the pizzas are, of course, the main attraction, though a tempting range of starters, from £7.50, includes garlic bread vesuvio (“you must love the lava”) with Italian tomato sauce, garlic oil, fresh garlic, fresh chopped chilli and chilli flakes, or LP honey butter rings filled with garlic butter mash.
The name Leopard Pie comes from the leopard-like charred pattern that you find on the raised edge (the ‘cornicione’) of pizza baked in wood fired ovens; bubbles in the edge char certain spots quicker than the rest, creating this leopard pattern.
The dough, made using only flour, yeast, water and salt, is fermented over three days before it’s ready.
Simple, fresh Italian toppings include organic tomato sauce and extra virgin olive oil for a simple marina, with fior di latte mozzarella added for the traditional margherita.
Other toppings include everything from wood oven roasted portobello mushrooms and tangy goats cheese to meats such as Calabrese salami, freshly in-house sliced prosciutto and n’duja spicy sausage meat that melts into the cheese in the flames.
Then, it’s cooked in the hot wood fired oven (at 550-600 degrees) for just 60 seconds, resulting in a light, chewy base and a crust that’s full of structure and air.
For although these pizzas are huge – and they really are – they’re also not in any way stodgy or heavy.
At Leopard Pie, it’s all about canotto, the Italian word for a round inflatable raft with a large raised edge – that is, a dinghy – which makes sense when you see the large, puffy crust.
Our margherita (£10) is simply superb, with an excellent crust and molten pools of milky mozzarella oozing into the rich, sweet tomato base.
Meat lovers will be thrilled by the all-new carne (£16), which is topped with salami Napoli, fennel salami, wild boar, spicy Calabrian n’duja, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil.
And vegans are offered more than just a marinara thanks to the vegan n’duja pie (£15), which comes with vegan mozzarella, plant based Calabrian style n’duja, roquito sweet and spicy peppers, ancho smoked chilli flakes and basil, dripping with their homemade vegan garlic and chilli honey.
Alongside the 13-strong list of pizzas, you can also get creative and build your own pie with a range of toppings.
Desserts are all about the cannoli (£2), with fillings such as salted caramel cream with crushed peanut or pistachio cream with pistachio dust.
Drinks include Italian beers, but the perfect summer tipple is their zingy frozen margarita (£7.50 or two for £12) made with gold tequila, countless fresh limes, cointreau and agave syrup, served with or without a sweet and salted chilli rim.
For authentic pizza all the way from Naples – via Worsley – you can’t beat Leopard Pie.
Leopard Pie is open now on Barton Road, Worsley. Find out more here.