Bianco

Sometimes it takes me forever to get round to reviewing an eaterie, but, however unfair it may be, pizza places do seem to skip to the top of the list and it’s only taken me a week to get round to Bianco – not least because I’ve been hearing some extremely positive things about it – and the way it’s run. 

It’s where the old Taste of India used to be. I didn’t hate the ToI but I didn’t love it either – it was, frankly, unmemorable, and the dishes seemed to have an awful lot of sugar in them, so although I don’t like to see a shop close in Greenwich (unless it’s Pizza Luna, which was the second worst meal I have ever eaten and is now, happily, Helva) I am much happier to see somewhere with a bit of character opening in its place. It’s Italian family-run – and it shows.

Someone told me about how she walked past one evening, saw it full of people and decided to eat there herself – turned out the place wasn’t open yet, it was just the family eating – but they invited her in anyway.  Other people have reported that the owner or another family member has come to say hello to them during the meal (a very Italian thing to do.) I often wonder why other restaurant owners don’t work out that talking to their customers, welcoming them and including them costs absolutely nothing and creates an awful lot of goodwill before a single mouthful has been taken. 

The family is from Naples, the (occasionally disputed) birthplace of pizza, which is why the dishes you’ll get there are very different from most pizza joints (even in Italy) and they do take a bit of relaxing into. For starters they’re very simple – not the thousand-and-one topping varieties that you get elsewhere – and could even be described as spare. The base is wood-fired (I can’t say how pleased I am to see an independent, proper wood-burning oven in Greenwich at last) and not as crispy as we are often used to over here.

A good half of the toppings are without tomato (our group ordered a variety – just to get a feel for the place across the board, you understand, nothing to do with greed) and aren’t as anemic as white pizzas I have had elsewhere (pizza without tomato doesn’t seem quite ‘right’ to me, but it’s perfectly acceptable in Naples.)

In fact, these are such simple pizzas that they do, to our stuffed-crust-Hawaiian-mega-hot-chicken-tikka-supreme tainted tastebuds, take a little getting used to. I reckon it takes about five mouthfuls to really begin to appreciate the flavours here and once you do, there’s no turning back. The wine list is suitably Italian. I liked the Chianti best. 

I like this place a lot. There are minor improvements to be made – the pasta arrived on cold plates so was lukewarm by the time it got to the control-guys who had bravely chosen pasta rather than pizza, and it will be easier to pay with cards rather than needing actual folding money when they get the machine sorted out (though it’s no real hardship, there’s a cashpoint just round the corner) – but the welcome and the pizzas are very good indeed. I look forward to them being around for some time.


25 Comments to “Bianco”

  1. cerletone says:

    Sounds great GP. Forgive my ignorance, but where is it?

  2. Paul says:

    When I went it was so busy I had to sit upstairs. My starters bowl was cold as well, and made my starter (melazane) go cold very quickly. It was delicious though. As was the pizza, although i would have preferred a more crispy, less doughy base.

    Our service was very patchy though. That irritating thing of taking my plate while my friend was still eating! We also found it difficult to get our waitress to understand us. Hopefully this will be smoothed out over time.

    Despite these minor grumbles it is a great addition to central Greenwich.

  3. Mike says:

    Well. We are there last night and thought it was great. Paul, while your minor grumbles are valid I can’t see things changing there in a hurry. The pizza will always come like that as that’s how they do them down south, and we thought the service was typical Italian (which I must say we enjoy).
    We had a couple of pizzas, small bowl of olives and the deep fried zucchini. We forced a couple of dolci down (tiramasu and cannollo) followed by two esspressi. The deserts were very good, and i was impressed with the Illy pod machine (not the best ive ever had but better than much more expensive places!). No complaints about any of the food and so much closer than travelling to Brixton for proper pizza!
    The wine was serviceable. But not special.
    I thought the service was very typical Italian. A mix of curt, and overattentivness.
    We’ll be back to sample our way around the menu. Pasta is next for me. Or maybe a white pizza.
    A welcome addition to the food scene in Greenwich.

  4. Katua says:

    Had a very ordinary meal at Helva last weekend. Beware the meze: it says “for minimum 2 people” – half the dishes arrived, half only arrived when we’d just about finished, then we got charged the full price each, so the ‘for 2 people’ is very misleading.
    It does say “per person” on the menu but in tiny print right at the bottom. We pointed it out to the owner who said he would look into it, but we won’t be back. Bread was warm but not fresh either. I will say the building is nice and the staff friendly though.

  5. Ricorazzo says:

    Ate at Bianco last night, very nice interior and atmosphere good, perfect for a casual local meal. However whilst it’s certainly the best pizza in Greenwich, have to confess to being slightly disappointed by it – although the base had a nicely wood-burnt flavour it was much more chewy and doughy than true Neopolitan pizza, and was far too salty. For a truly Neopolitan pizza will have to stick to Fratelli La Bufala in Hampstead – long way to go but the pizzas are out of this world!

  6. annabel says:

    I made a special trip with my family yesterday afternoon to try out Bianco but having sat down for five minutes we were then told they had run out of pizza, how disapointing but apparently they had a very busy day so I’m glad for them. We ended up going to a rather bland GBK.

  7. Blimey – how does a pizza place run out of pizza??

    Still – it seems like a good omen. All they need to do is warm up their pasta dishes a bit…

  8. Kate says:

    No excuse for not serving hot food on warm plates and bowls!! Considering pasta goes cold so quickly too I thought they might have thought of that. Easy enough thing to solve though should enough people tell them.

  9. Jon says:

    Went to Bianco a week ago and thought it was pretty good. Really interesting selection of pizza and the other stuff looked good too. friendly service as well.
    BTW has anybody else noticed that the Sushi placed has been closed down because of mice…

  10. AGNESE says:

    Went to Bianco yesterday night and it was absolutely fantastic! My friend Sandra went to Bianco last week and she suggested to go there to try the pizza and the desserts. Very good suggestion! It seemed to be to Naples!! The Pizza was perfect and the place is really nice and warm. I spoke with the owners Massimo and Fabrizio and I must say they are friendly and polite people.
    We really needed BIANCO in Greenwich.

  11. scared of chives says:

    @agnese – wow, seems like you really got to know them well!

  12. Richard says:

    Went a couple of weeks ago so I guess it was still feeling its way. The plates were cold then, sad to see that hasn’t changed. The wine was good, the service ok. This may be terrible, but I think on the whole I prefer the pizza at the Hill.

  13. Kate says:

    Tell you where they do great pizzas, the Ashburnham Arms! Really lovely and fresh stone baked taste. Was a surprise to see they had pizza on the menu but well worth a visit. Their Sri-Lankan curry is good too!

  14. julian says:

    I ate at Bianco last night. Overall a very nice meal with good service. The plates for the hot starters were cold, as if chilled, and I did make that point politely to the owner who accepted it was wrong. We enjoyed our pizzas and my companion loved her mascarpone dessert. The owner also gave us a couple of excellent profiteroles. I’ll be going again for pasta.

  15. Anna says:

    We visited this evening with our two children. What a delightful experience, lovely decor, such a departure from the poor standard of hospitality/food offered by the Inc Group, the chains and the below average pub fare. Our food was excellent, the staff welcoming and attentive. The Limoncello shot upon receipt of the bill was also a lovely touch. I would strongly recommend and really look forward to returning.

  16. Liz says:

    Second visit to Bianco last night, and although we had to wait for a table as it was so busy , we were treated to a complimentary glass of wine while we waited.
    We love the ambience and warmth of the place, and the fish ragu pasta was delicious.
    Will definitely keep returning.

  17. Donovan says:

    ABSOLUTELY PERFECT FOOD AND PIZZAS!! VERY GOOD ITALIAN PLACE TO GO TO!!

  18. James G says:

    Went to Bianco on Saturday and was really underwhelmed. The menu looked very interesting but the food was just not up to scratch. Bland and really “English”.

    Fritto Napoletano turned out to be a potato croquette, a really tough bit of something like polenta, and a semi-developed arancino with some bag salad on the side. Followed by a Carbonara that was more bacon and scrambled egg on plain pasta. At least it didn’t have cream in, but really nothing like it should be.

    Service was really good, though and it is a nice setting… I hope it was just an off night for the kitchen, and perhaps my fault for ignoring the beautiful looking Pizza oven. That’ll be top of the list for next time!

  19. Adam says:

    I tried out Bianco a couple of weeks ago after reading some of the positive comments here. To be honest, I wouldn’t rave about the food (although the desserts were excellent). It does fill a very glaring gap in the market though: at the more modestly-priced end of the market, the choice is between boring chains or dreadful (mainly Mexican) tourist eateries. So I’d certainly return.

  20. mikele says:

    Simply the best!!!!!!!!!! Best within miles!!!!! thanks guys to open finally a truly italian place in Greenwich!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Alan says:

    I went there and would not rate it one bit.

  22. Alfron says:

    I can’t believe anybody wouldn’t rate this restaurant. Went on a Tuesday night (tonight…), the food was beautiful (probably the most authentically Italian food I’ve ever had in London) and the service was fantastic. The owner kept up regular conversation with us, offered us many glasses of Strega after our meal and even left the bottle with us to have as much as we liked. When we left we felt as though we’d been with friends and will definitely be returning.

  23. CMC says:

    Went down here last Friday – really impressed, best meal we’ve had in Greenwich in a long while. The starter of Meatballs was particularly good – they do them in a very moist breadcrumb – and the mains were both very good too (I had the Carbonara and my g/f had a pizza). Service was a bit hit & miss, one of the waitresses doesn’t speak much English, but it is a pretty charming little spot and we’re planning on going again tomorrow night. Much better than the Indian that was in there before – they totally wasted such a great little space.

  24. rob says:

    A really nice place and a welcome addition to the food no-go-zone that is central Greenwich. We’ve been there twice since it opened and both times the pizzas were good and the service was very attentive and friendly.

  25. Martin says:

    Just got back after a nice honest hearty Italian meal…simple ingredients used exceptionally well. Friendly service, no rush, a lovely chill-out for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Will definately return.