Dough Project has Mike Batho won over already
A wise man, possibly Pliny the Elder or Socrates, once said “Even bad pizza is still better than being hit by a tram”.
I’d spotted the signage for new kids on the block - Dough Project - on Northenden Road a few weeks ago and was interested to see what would be revealed when they peeled away the plastic from the windows and threw open the doors. They seemed to have sprung from nowhere, and offered little information besides the caption “artisan pizza”.
Owner Lisa cut her teeth at a pizza academy in Florence
Last Friday those doors opened, and after a few excellent cocktails across the road in Num6er, we piled in to see what they were up to, and found people doing one thing really, really well.
Dough Project is the baby of owner Lisa, a life-long foodie and self-confessed pizza aficionado, she cut her teeth at an academy in Florence, specifically set up to train pizza chefs. Further visits to Italy helped her select the finest cheeses and other ingredients - such as the whole San Marzano DOP tomatoes she uses in her tomato sauce.
Here, there is no wait for a timer to ping while your pizza sweats behind glass as the owner shakes a fryer basket with one hand while carving slices of kebab with the other. Here you chat about the process as your pizza is being formed and topped, then watch as it’s lovingly baked, turning occasionally, until it emerges perfectly blistered and delicious. Dough is king here, and Lisa’s three-day biga ferment results in world-class flavour and chew.
We ordered the (white) funghi (£12), which first delivered a massive smack of mixed woodland mushroom flavour, enhanced by the addition of good truffle oil without overpowering, and the whole thing was brought together by their silken signature white sauce.
Pizza Melanzane (£10) had the tangy, sweet/savoury hit you get from a very good melanzane alla parmigiana. The aubergines are chargrilled in advance to extract a delicious slightly smoky flavour. Spectacular.
That long, slow dough really shines, and the sauce is applied in quantities so as to give bags of flavour, but not to result in pizza that is wet in the middle, as I’ve found with other artisan pizza joints in and around Manchester.
Only garlic bread (£3.50) scores slightly lower, as without the protective blanket of sauce and toppings, the dough became a little hard in the centre, but the flavour was excellent, and I’m sure they’ll sort this out.
The menu seems to include something for all tastes, some classics and some of Lisa’s own ideas, as well as a few desserts and a couple of decent looking salads. But make no mistake - the pizza is the main event here.
They offer take out, or have very limited bar seating for eating in. Dough Project are a small operation, and how they’ll deal with the crowds they deserve remains to be seen, but they’ve hit the ground at a sprint, and you should head their way before everyone hears about it.
Dough Project, 22 Northenden Road, Sale, M33 3BR. Tel: 0161 905 3629