We’re going to be VERY busy tonight, so I’ll put you at the end of this table,” said the waitress.
And, so, I took my seat at the head of the long communal number at this new restaurant.
I’d passed one of the owner’s other places, Ting Thai Caravan, on the way, and, on a Saturday night, there was a queue out of the door. But, once my two buddies had arrived here, that made for a total of five or so people in this space all evening.
Oh well, WildManWood has opened quietly, and, in its cool stony tones, looks rather camouflaged on its corner spot opposite the university.
So far, their low-on-information Facebook page just seems to be a repository for complaints, mainly about things like the signposting for the toilets, which are labelled by chromosomes – XX for women and XY for men (pretentious, or clever, depending on your perspective or how well you did in biology).
Their food seems to have gone down better. We wanted more than just pizza, so opted for a couple of their Big 5 Salads to share.
On top of one leafy pile, served in a giant metal container like a great dane’s dogbowl, were three venison rarebit (£8.20) – slices of bread topped with cheddar and wads of meat, pomegranate seeds and “burnt onions” that were more like transparent fried ones.
It was good, but the botanical garden’s worth of chard, lettuce and other greenery seemed superfluous, though I suppose without them it couldn’t be classed as a salad.
Same goes for the squid and chorizo option (£8.20), with discs of baked potato, squid pipes, sweet tomato, and shreds of orange confit.
Like seagulls over a rubbish dump, there was a duel for the tasty niblets amongst the future compost (I’m sorry, but would anyone have the time or the inclination to chew through ALL those leaves?). Anyway, the salads are just an aside, as this place specialises in Neapolitan pizza, which, according to the rules of the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana is made with high protein wheat flour, specific ratios of yeast and other ingredients.
As is authentic, they should also be topped with San Marzano tomatoes, which our choice of three were.This made for a pale and sweet sugo on top of our frutti di mare (£12.60), which also featured mussels and clams in their shells, plus blobs of mozzarella, blush coloured squid tentacle and chopped parsley, all corralled by a buff coloured crust, as dusty as Spaccanapoli in summer.
It was a little too wet in the centre, but that’s par for the course with seafood pizza. Apart from that, great.
I enjoyed the mozzarella dappled ortolana (£9.40), with a wilted and harissa coated yellow half pepper, like a deflated balloon, on top, as well as thinly sliced aubergine discs and five creamy cubes of goat’s cheese, while, the diavola (£8.60) was stealthily hot, like sunburn on a breezy day, thanks to pale green halved and vinegary guindilla peppers, and shavings of spianata calabrese sausage.
It’s not the most glamorous point, but all of these offerings felt relatively light and digestible. None of us had the post pizza sensation of being pregnant with a giant dough baby.
We even had room for pudding – an excellent affogato (£3) made from good espresso and ice-cream, and a mojito sorbet (£3.40), a lime and mint-y sorbet with a frozen rum shot.
All nice, and this is probably the best pizza I’ve had in the capital, where there are more Domino’s than in a retirement home, but a dearth of good independents. There’s also prosecco on tap (we had a carafe, 500ml, for £16.40) and, cutely enough, the waitresses top up one’s water glass using a metal teapot.
So why is it so quiet? Perhaps, like their pizza oven (which can heat up to 600C, so they can bake the base in seconds) WildManWood might be a slow burner. But, still, hot, very hot.
Dinner for three, excluding drinks,
WildMan Wood Pizza
27-29 Marshall Street, Edinburgh
(0131-667 7001, www.facebook.com/wildmanwoodpizza)