Olivia Potts enjoys pizza and frozen margs at Leopard Pie in Worsley Village

What do you want from a local restaurant? I want somewhere with good food and good booze, obviously, with a price point that means I can go there semi-regularly without worrying; somewhere that I’m not going to get bored of even (especially) if I order the same stuff. Somewhere relaxed, that I can go to with my partner, but also take someone if they’re visiting. Somewhere I don’t need to plan visiting three months in advance just to secure a reservation.

2023 08 14 Exterior – Leopard Pie
Outside Leopard Pie Image: Confidentials

There’s always room for a cannoli, right?

Leopard Pie is my local pizza place. It’s one of those food businesses that started up during the pandemic: its now-owners found themselves with free time on their hands, and used it to perfect their pizza-making, then began holding pizza parties on Thursday nights to celebrate the NHS. The pizzas were a runaway success, and Leopard Pie opened as a restaurant early last year in Worsley Village, with a second site slated to open down the road in 2024.

2023 08 14 Exterior 2 – Leopard Pie
Outside Leopard Pie Image: Confidentials

Even from the outside, it’s set to shake things up in green and pleasant Worsley. The key lime-coloured swinging sign stands out amidst the black and white half-timbered housing and whitewashed cottagey shops and bars. Inside, it’s all neon, bare brick, and bold spray-painting. The pizza oven is distinctively spray-painted and changed up every so often by a local artist; right now, it’s covered in acid house smiley faces. The menu is equally bold, frozen margs are front and centre on the menu, as are Leopard Pie’s own creation of honey butter rings. Jaunty little annotations, exhortations and pizza facts litter the page. It should be irritating, but with a frozen marg in hand, and a wildly generous bowl of Nocellera olives, it’s hard to feel annoyed about anything.

2023 08 14 Frozen Marg – Leopard Pie
Frozen margs at Leopard Pie Image: Confidentials

But doing something a bit differently only gets you so far. Good pizza lives and dies by its dough: you can put whatever you want on it, but nothing can make up for flabby, flavourless crust. And that’s where Leopard Pie get it exactly right: the dough is brilliant. The pizzas are made in the traditional Neapolitan way, with slow-proved dough, a thin base with a puffed, char-spotted crust (putting the ‘leopard’ in Leopard Pie), wood-fired in their domed pizza oven. 

With dough this good, making honey butter rings their signature dish is a smart call, because they’re basically a ball of dough, with lots of garlic butter melting in a central divot. They arrive puffed, plump, sticky with honey, and a blizzard of parmesan on top, speckled from the wood oven. There’s no neat way to eat them: you have to tear them apart, tarring and feathering yourself with the honey and parmesan in the process. But it’s worth it. Smokey from the wood-fire, cooked until blistered, and oozing criminal amounts of garlic butter, they’re excellent.

2023 08 14 Honey Butter Rings – Leopard Pie
Honey butter rings Image: Confidentials

For the pizzas, I have the Tuscan pie, a white pizza with finocchiona (fennel salami), chilli flakes, and big, fat olives. The star of the show is, rightly, the finocchiona, which is somehow simultaneously punchy and delicate all at once, perfect against the foil of the soft, mellow mozzarella. Whole olives cascade from my slices, unable to defy the gravity of the floppy base, but it’s a minor criticism. My pal has the Amalfi pie, tomato-based, with anchovy, capers, olives and parmesan. It’s a briney, sweet-savoury, umami riot. And the crust on both is, naturally, great, with depth and complexity from the slow-fermentation. It’s easily good enough to eat alone.

2023 08 14 Amalfi Pizza – Leopard Pie
Amalfi pizza Image: Confidentials
2023 08 14 Tuscan Pizza – Leopard Pie 1
Tuscan pizza Image: Confidentials

The pudding menu is slim but well-judged: affogato, tiramisu and cannoli. Not a slice of cheesecake or a chocolate fondant in sight. I love that there are cannoli - sold individually in a host of flavours – it’s in keeping but also a bit unexpected. And even after a whole pizza, a honey butter ring, and more than my fair share of olives and crisps, there’s always room for a cannoli, right? And ok, the cannoli are not brilliant – very sweet, more like brandy snaps, with cold, firm buttercreamy fillings, instead of the luscious, light, barely sweetened ricotta the Sicillians favour    but honestly, I don’t care. Because by this point I’ve been swept along by the whole experience, and I’m having fun.

2023 08 14 Cannoli – Leopard Pie 1
Cannoli Image: Confidentials

And that’s the bottom line about Leopard Pie: it’s fun. Frozen margaritas? Fun! Honey rings? Fun! Cannoli? Fun! Leopard Pie know exactly what they’re doing, from their neon signage, to their brightly painted pizza oven, and their silly menu: they’re bringing a bit of fun – and it helps that there’s some really excellent pizza dough along for the ride. As we pile out of the door, with bright yellow boxes full of leftovers, I realise that for me, that’s what makes the perfect local restaurant: somewhere I want to keep coming back, because it’s doesn’t take itself too seriously, because it’s good at what it does, because it makes really great pizza.

2023 08 14 Bill – Leopard Pie
The bill Image: Confidentials

The scores

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidentials and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.

  • Food 8/10

    Frozen marg 8 Olives and crisps 7 Honey butter rings 9 Amalfi pie 8 Tuscan pie 8 Affogato 8 Cannoli 5

  • Atmosphere 4/5

  • Service 4/5