Date night at Base + Barley

Saturday night was “date night”. Steve and I had a hankering for pizza but not just any pizza though.. Sourdough pizza. Base + Barley boast that their pizzas could hold their own in the backyards of Napoli. They are all about the base. They prep their dough the day before so it is ready and delicious for diners the following day. As Base + Barley happens to be a five minute walk from my front door I was eager to give it a try. Steve and I had been to a few events there before Christmas and had tried our hands at making our own pizzas at “The Base + Barley Great Devon Base Off” (where I came a close second by the way!) This was our chance to sit down and enjoy what Base + Barley had to offer!

When we arrived it was already busy and there was a buzzing atmosphere. Drinkers in the bar area to our left and the diners to our right. A mixed clientele of students, couples and bigger parties created this buzz.

We were shown to our table which was right in the mix of things. A booth style seating arrangement that made us feel cosy amongst the other diners. One thing I noticed was that even though the restaurant was virtually full you didn’t feel like you were on top of the next table. I can’t stand that! I don’t want to hear what “Tom, Dick or Harry” have to say. I want to enjoy the conversation of the people I am with without worrying someone will overhear or interrupt.

We were introduced to our waitress, Amy who took our drinks order. We chose the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Italy. It was billed as a “favourite” with plump, juicy flavours with a hint of cherry. I wanted to try one of their Italian wines because I know that the owners visited Italy specifically to choose their wine list. Making the effort to do this would hopefully mean that they were all pretty darn good. At this point it’s worth mentioning that all of their wines come in at £18.95 or lower with the house wine at £14.95. Pretty good value compared to other pizza joints. Of course if you want to splash out you could have Prosecco at £23.95 a bottle or Champagne at £39.95.

The wine was good and complimented out first course well. We chose a couple of things to nibble on to whet our appetites and plumped for mixed Italian olives and oven roasted chorizo. The chorizo was very tasty served in a red wine jus and breadsticks to mop up the juices. Nibbles and starters range in price from £2.95-£4.95.

It got our juices flowing for our main course. We decided on the piri-piri king prawns and their pizza No.5 but substituted the bacon lardons for anchovies. I’m a massive anchovy fan and adore them in pizza so I was glad to see them as an optional extra if you fancied creating your own. As a side dish we had the tomato and mozzarella salad.

I will start with the prawns. They were tender and juicy, served in a medium hot piri-piri sauce. Alongside the prawns was a crispy, fresh side salad and dough sticks for dipping. This was a good choice as it was light enough to enjoy alongside a slice of pizza. Steve and I ordered in mind that we would share and try a bit of everything so we asked for extra plates so we could pick and choose from our main course.

The pizza was AMAZING… Crispy and not over topped. I can’t stand pizzas that have too much topping so that the bases go soggy.. This was just right. They do live up to their billing and are pretty authentic. I haven’t had pizza in Napoli but I have had pizza in a little town in Italy called Bergamo and this was up there with authenticity. I would highly recommend an outing to Base + Barley and give them a try. The main dishes range in price from £6.95-£9.95.

The downside of our main course (and it is only a tiny thing) was the tomato and mozzarella salad. I know it’s hard to source good tomatoes at this time of year and in this country but I felt they were a little under ripe and the mozzarella didn’t taste like a buffalo mozerella. It wasn’t creamy enough. I will add that it didn’t state on the menu that the mozerella was buffalo so like I said, it’s not a big thing. It certainly didn’t ruin our enjoyment of the meal. 

Dessert was not an option for me as I was feeling pretty full but Steve plumped for the affogato with liquor. A generous double scoop of vanilla ice cream, a double espresso and ameretto to pour over the top. This is one of my favourite Italian desserts. So simple, yet so tasty. I had a sneaky try and it really was rather yummy. I finished my meal with a double macchiato coffee which rounded everything off nicely for me. Desserts are priced between £3.75-£5.50.

We had a great evening at buzzing Base + Barley. Our waitress, Amy was very attentive to our needs and looked after us well. The food came out promptly, it was cooked well and tasted great. I will definately be back. I have already lined up a date with a friend to go again. 

Thank you Base + Barley for a lovely “date night”!

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