Monday, 27 May 2013

Restaurant Review: Cal's Own, Newcastle

Pizza heaven
Imagine for a minute that you're called Cal, and then further  imagine that you've decided to open a pun-titled business. What are your options? Maybe a Cal-ender shop? Or you could flog Cal-or gas, or perhaps even set up a Cal-centre (sorry, that's truly crap). Thankfully for the good people of Newcastle in general, and Heaton in particular, Cal of Cal's Own went down precisely none of these avenues, instead selling pizza, both in titular folded, and regular format. Thankfully indeed, because on the evidence of our recent visit it's by some distance the best pizza in town and, actually, I'm buggered if I can remember one I ever had, anywhere, that was better. 
I've been meaning to pay a visit for a while, having heard pretty great things from reputable sources (here and here), but we're west end folks, and scarcely ever venture over to Heaton these days. Needing respite from an afternoon of sofa hunting which took us to these unfamiliar environs, we popped in for lunch. The first thing to say about the menu is that it's pretty short, with only 5 main options, which can be expanded on with a range of extra toppings. Secondly, it's quickly apparent that there is a focus on quality ingredients; both the Grana Padano and Buffalo Mozzarella for example are DOP. Finally, there isn't a mention of pineapple in sight. So far so good. I went for 14 inch white pie, adding n'duja, Kasia went for the red pie, adding mushrooms and onions.

That joy-inducing white pie in full
When they arrived, smelling absolutely incredible, we were very happy indeed. Firstly, the crust was just sensational, neither too thick nor too thin, beautifully crisp, but with just enough chewiness to render it a substantial wonder of a thing. The mozzarella and grana padano had become burnished and molten, the ricotta added freshness, the n'duja some spice. These are clearly being cooked in a stupendously hot oven, just perfect.

That's what a pizza base should look like
On Kasia's red pie the tomato sauce (absent from the white pie) was the star. Either some serious (San Marzano?) tomatoes are being used, or some clever sauce-making is happening here. Or maybe both. Again, the sheer power of the oven had given the base a beautiful smokiness. I manfully made it to the end of my pizza, we took a bit of Kasia's home (incidentally, it still tasted phenomenal the next day). Be warned; the 14-incher is plenty for one person and unless you're starving, probably enough for two.

Red pie
Being lunchtime, we were on soft drinks. I had a well made latte, Kasia a pink lemonade. They don't have a license, but you can bring your own booze for £1 corkage (per person I think). We were too full (and had too many sofas to look at) to consider desserts, but I've heard from friends they're excellent. Cal himself came over to ask how things were. Things, as you've probably sussed out by now, were very good indeed. He's really into what he's doing, proudly noting he'd fitted the place out himself and engaging us in conversation about the origins of n'duja. He specifically asked what we thought of the dough, I gushed something to the effect of it being singularly prodigious. Apparently it takes three days to mature and rise. I mentioned that his was exactly the kind of place that would be creating twitter-hysteria if it opened in London. "This is better than anything in London" he said. Fair enough.

If you live in the Heaton side of Newcastle I'm guessing there's a fair chance you're already a regular here. If not, you probably should be. Yes, the pizzas are pricier than your standard geordie-Italian happy hour fare, but it really is worth it. I've had great pizza in Italy and in New York, and it's really gratifying to be able to say there is something just as good in Newcastle. I'll be back in the evening with a bottle of something rustic and assertive to hand; I strongly recommend you do likewise.


Cal's Own, 207 Chillingham Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5LJ.   0191 276 5298

Cal's Own on Urbanspoon


  1. Yes, that's got the arse burnt out of it. Cal lous or what?

  2. Love the pizza base - a bit of uneven cooking adds some depth of flavour


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