Last week I was invited to the Ecco Pizzeria* new restaurant launch in Roundhay, Leeds to preview some of their authentic Italian cuisine and boy, it was fun and delicious. Having successfully ran a popular Italian takeaway in Headingly, Ecco Pizzeria decided to expand their business and open a new restaurant in Roundhay. The restaurant mission to use the freshest and finest ingredients - all of which are imported from Italy, to make the most authentic Neapolitan Pizza.
The restaurant is a fair trek out of Leeds with it being a 25 minute bus journey or at least a 15 minute car journey, but it is definitely worth a visit. I loved the cosy decor with little reminders of Italy such as Sicilian tomato cans and pizza flour bags all elegantly displayed behind the seating.
Ecco Pizzeria is currently unlicensed so there's no booze at the restaurant, but fear not there are plenty of sweet tasting authentic Italian soft drinks that will quench your thirst. I found the cola I had very refreshing and it really complemented my meal.
Starting the meal in true Italian style, the waiter brought us a plate of dough-balls and these dough-balls were possibly the best ones I have ever had. The garlic and herb dipping sauce was so fresh and light, while the dough balls were really fluffy and moreish, ten times better than a lot of Italian high street chain restaurants.
The star attraction was of course the pizza, made with the traditional Italian technique of using an old wood burning stove. I opted for the Funghi pizza, which consisted of roasted mushrooms and fresh basil on a San Marzano tomato and mozzarella base. The pizza was really fresh, barely any ounce of grease - which is great for me as my stomach can't handle fatty foods since I had my gallbladder removed and despite the incredible size, I had no problems eating it all. I was really impressed with the large variety of vegetarian options on the menu and even more impressed when they told me that they also do vegan pizzas, substituting the cheese for a vegan mozzarella.
No true Italian meal would be complete without Gelato and at Ecco Pizzeria there are many different and quite unique flavours to choose from, all of which are freshly made at the restaurant. Out of their 18 flavours, I chose the Ferrero Rocher and Salted Caramel Gelato, which was a match made in heaven. I admit the gelato did defeat me, after a really large pizza and dough-balls my stomach could not handle anymore rich food, but nevertheless it was really good and next time I will definitely make sure I save more room for dessert.
If I had paid for the meal, it would have been approximately £13 - £16 for the three courses and drinks (depending on the drinks and pizza I choose) which I think is definitely affordable for the amount of food you recieve and the fact that a lot of effort has been put into making these dishes - you can tell the pizzas have been made by those who are passionate about truly authentic Italian food and it shows in the flavours and quality of the meal. I would recommend Ecco to anyone in the Roundhay area or those looking to travel out of town to find a hidden gem that will get people talking. There's no doubt in my mind that I will be going to back to Ecco at some point in the near future.
Have you been the Ecco Pizzeria?