Disclaimer: I was invited to review the below restaurant and our meal was complimentary but all opinions and photos are mine.
Firebrand is a relaxed and informal pizza place in Marylebone, quite close to the train station. Surrounded by restaurants, gastropubs and private residences, it is a refreshingly humble hangout compared to its poshed up neighbours. The interiors are minimal and modern with a casual air about them.
Firebrand specialises in wood-fired sourdough pizza, matched with a curated wine list. They also offer a small menu of fresh pastas and Secondis, although pizza is their headline offering.
Fresh Bufala Milk Mozzarella | Aubergine Caponata
Pan Fried Goats Cheese | Spinach | Balsamic Caramelised Red Onion
My starter had a fat, wobbly chunk of mozzarella cheese, perched on shards of thin crispbread and sloshed with olive oil. The creamy cheese was cool and refreshing on the palate, contrasting well with the smoky, flavourful caponata. Opinions were divided at the table with regards to the crispbread. Whilst I welcomed the texture next to the mostly soft constituents, Kris found it distracting. The goat cheese and balsamic starter was a classic marriage (although they could have reduced the quantity of caramelised onions to balance the dish better). Whilst we both enjoyed our starters, we found the choices slightly conventional.
Pasta | Gnocchi with Creamy Four Cheese Sauce
Pizza | Spicy Salami, Roasted Peppers, Rocket, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Tomato
It was a delight to watch the pizza being prepared before it appeared on our tables. They use Caputo Flour from Naples, with dough proved in excess of 72 hours.
The pizza crust was thin, crispy and well-proven. It was anointed with a very flavoursome layer of tomato sauce (made from San Marzano of Naples), topped with milky mozzarella, fresh rocket and generous shavings of parmesan. Every ingredient shone brightly on the plate and the good thing about their pizza was that I did not feel heavy or bloated afterwards.
The gnocchi arrived smothered in a cheese sauce but looking refined at the same time. There was a noticeable tang of gorgonzola so if you are not a fan, approach with caution. Gnocchi is one of my favourite pasta and being a cheese lover, this dish ticked all my boxes as a soothing, comforting plate of carbs.
Moving onto desserts, we tucked into a Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream and Tiramisu.
We had to end our Italian-accented meal with a classic Tiramisu. It was presented in a nicely sized mason jar, the layers underneath working harmoniously, topped with a generous dusting of cocoa. As far as Tiramisu goes, this was a fine rendition; quite light, which made it rather appealing.
My fondant was delightful; it was perfectly portioned, warm, gooey and indulgent. A fitting finish after a fairly pleasing two courses.
Overall, I feel the pizzas are their strongest act, closely followed by desserts. This is where their menu really shines. The starters were comparatively small in portion as opposed to the sizeable pizzas. I guess they want us to save room for the mains. Whilst I enjoyed my starters, I was expecting something a bit more inventive and wasn’t entirely blown away.
The pizzas on the other hand were stellar. My recommendation would be to gather together a bunch of mates, go big on the pizza order and have a mighty sweet finish with their desserts.
Location : 41-43 Lisson Grove, Marylebone, London NW1 6UB