The Southwark branch of the Gourmet Pizza Company is located on Upper Ground, just down from the Oxo Tower and a short walk from the Tate Modern. Outside tables offer a great view of the river along the Thames Walk and the South Bank or alternatively of the Gabriel’s Wharf square area and there is also plenty of seating inside. We visited on a Sunday afternoon and had pre-booked, but they were able to seat us immediately, despite arriving half an hour earlier than our confirmed time.
Established in 1989, the restaurant’s claim is to offer ‘tradition with imagination’. The starter dishes are fairly standard, including pizza restaurant staples like garlic bread with mozzarella for £3.45, avocado and bacon salad at £5.25 or mussels served with crispy bread for £6.45 but also available for £8.95 as a main course. There are various main-course salads, their recommended one being the Gourmet Salad for £8.95, consisting of fresh prawns, avocado, salad leaves, pineapple and a lemon and olive oil dressing. There is a good range of pasta dishes starting from £8.15 for fettuccine Bolognese or mushroom fettuccine. The pizzas are where they really strive to be different though, offering traditional options such as the Fiorentina for £8.15 but also serving up a range of unusual toppings like bacon and goat’s cheese for £8.65, Chinese duck at £9.35 or Thai chicken for £9.25.
We started off with a mixed salad and the bruschetta gourmet, a garlic bread with chopped tomatoes, onion and olive oil, both for £3.45. We followed this up with gourmet fettuccine, the most expensive of the pasta dishes priced at £9.65, a beetroot and goat’s cheese pizza for £8.65 and the chicken and spinach pizza for £8.45. The pasta dishes contained spicy cajun chicken, shrimps, mixed peppers, coriander and spring onion, and matched all expectations. The pizzas looked small on arrival, but were actually very filling. The staff were flexible enough to agree changes to the standard fare, removing bacon from the beetroot and cheese pizza and the spring onion from the fettuccine, while extra ingredients were also available at cost. Both pizza topping combinations worked well.
The Gourmet Pizza Co. serves a selection of wines plus soft drinks, beer and champagnes. The Italian house white and red come in at £4.65 per glass, or £12.95 for a bottle, with the most expensive choices being a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Spanish Rioja for £6.65 per glass and £18.95 per bottle. There are two rosés, Prosecco starting from £18.95 and one champagne at £34.95 per bottle. The beer is bottled, ranging in price from £3.30 for Nastro Azzurro to £3.50 for Becks or Moretti. We went for a £14.95 Pinot Grigio, so drinkable we ordered a second.
The total price came to just over £81 for two, including starters, pasta dishes and pizza for two, plus vanilla ice-cream as dessert and soft drinks. Service was friendly and fast, and the staff were very attentive in bringing us extra drinks. The view was great, but the restaurant can get very busy, and reserving in advance is recommended especially if you prefer a table specifically with a view towards the river.