The team behind Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room may make some of the best breakfasts and buttery brioche burgers in town, but it seems they’re staking a claim on pizzas now, too. Hail Pizza is a brand-new space accessed through the popular Bree-Street diner’s courtyard, serving a handful of wood-fired pizza options and craft drinks. Eat Out critic Linda Scarborough checks it out on day two.
Serves: Simple, tasty, wood-fired pizzas
Best for: After-work drinks and rowdy socialising in a crowd
Cost: On average, R95 for a pizza and R70 for a salad
Parking: Good luck finding something on Bree or Wale Street; rather Uber
Star rating: Food 4, ambience 4, service 5
A neat paper menu comprises just five pizza options, a couple of salads and West Coast oysters to start – your choice of them fresh or wood fired with artichoke-and-ham stuffing. Anything but an afterthought, the baby gem salad is a surprising delight of crunchy textures and creamy dressing, with green beans, broccoli, toasted sesame seeds and deep-golden pecans. If you’re feeling virtuous and you have a willing date, you could share it alongside a pizza.
The wood-fired bases are thicker than average – who likes those cardboard-thin crusts anyway? – but they are deliciously charred, chewy and cloudy-soft in all the right places. If you want to try something more adventurous than a margherita, option #5 packs a punch, topped with anchovies and a generous scattering of mushrooms and green and black olives. Else try #2, with kale, gorgonzola and grana padano, #3, with pepperoni and peppers, or #4, with lardons, mushrooms and avocado.
The reverse side of the one-pager menu is all about the drinks. Belgian beers on tap, a dozen wine options by glass and bottle, and delicious cocktails will serve well for after-work quenchers. The lemon verbena G&T could be more lemony, but comes with Fitch & Leedes Indian tonic – this is craft country, after all. The Pineapple Party (tequila, beer, fresh pineapple juice and mint) should get the party started, and the Lillet Blanc Champagne cocktail with blueberries will kick off a celebration nicely.
Your waiter might be a youth wearing an ironic Micky Mouse T-shirt, but instead of standoffish and too-cool, staff seem super keen and excited about the new space. Everything runs smoothly and professionally. The pretty salad bowls are a nice touch.
To get to Hail Pizza, head for the verdant courtyard of Clarke’s and pass through to the space on the other side. It’s edgy and simply put together, with long communal wooden tables and some stools at the bar, whose burnished copper pipes will beckon beer lovers. It’s a space designed for socialising and will surely prove useful for – to use a Capetonian parlance – ‘overflow vibes’ from Clarke’s.
Pay for your meal at the counter before you leave.
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