Behind the cold, industrial facade of an otherwise nondescript building on Norman road, locals in the know can enjoy the best of handcrafted pizza in an ever changing environment.
The buzzer sounds and a friendly voice crackles through the tiny speaker. I am welcomed in from the cold rain and follow the stairs up and into a sleek monochrome space which houses the dining room and bar of Loven’s new premises.
It’s a few days back, before the opening on 22 Dec, and although the kitchen isn’t yet finished and the centrepiece wood-fired oven remained to be delivered, the room was already taking shape.
I’m greeted by one half of the team behind Loven, Kate Allison, and I’m already forgetting about the grim weather I’ve just shut the door on.
Kate’s partner, Fabrizio Interdonato, is the pizzaiolo among them and brings years of experience from Sicily and top Italian bakery Princi on Wardour Street.
This experience is brought to bear on a now even longer list of exceptional pizzas, where the perfectly crafted dough is adorned with hand picked morsels, ultimately delivering an exceptional eating experience.
I’ve become quite obsessed with pizza in the last year or so, and have researched widely, only to find some of the best on my doorstep – chalking up another win for our favourite corner of the city.
Although I don’t get to meet ‘Fabri’, he is brought to life by an enthusiastic description of the passion he has for his craft. It’s people like this that will really put Tottenham’s food offering on the map, and this is a key objective for the pair.
Kate and Fabri met when working at Princi several years ago – they had no money but big dreams. They borrowed a few hundred pounds to build an oven at the back of Kate’s studio and spent two happy summers running a pizza pop-up.
Following the success of their first venture, they were able to save enough money to set up a new oven at arts venue Styx in Tottenham Hale, which proved an even bigger success and enabled them to move onto this newest home.
I’m given the tour and I get a real sense of excitement when I see the circle they had marked onto the floor to receive their new oven.
During our chat, I learn that the oven is not just a feature in the room, or simply an integral piece of kit, it is truly the beating heart of their artisanal pizza venture. Much like its predecessors ‘Albert’ and ‘Junior’, it is a character in its own right amongst the team.
Whereas the previous ovens were handbuilt by Loven to their own designs, this third has been manufactured by a leading UK firm.
Whilst Fabri is bustling away in the kitchen perfecting his incredible pizza menu, mixologist Alex, who joins them from Styx, provides a substantial cocktail list of classics and a few of his own concoctions.
Alongside running front of house, Kate will focus her energy on the restaurant itself as a project. Seeking collaborations with local craftspeople and artists, Loven hope to deliver a truly unique dining room which will also serve as a space to showcase their work.
The first fruits of this initiative are already shaping the stylish dining room, with custom made cushions and blinds from Tottenham Textiles and beautiful tables, crafted by Lee Whiteman.
Next, Kate is on the lookout for ceramicists to collaborate on bespoke crockery for use in the restaurant. Her background as an architect, and more recently as a sculptor, has taught Kate the value of such opportunities and it’s no accident that the space has the look and feel of a blank canvas, ready for the people of Tottenham to develop.
I returned to Loven a week later for their soft opening night and it was a joy to see ‘The King’, as they have named the new oven, up and running and the dining room buzzing. Loven are now quietly open but will be closing for the Christmas break; returning fully-powered from January.
Come rain or shine, Loven promises to deliver an exceptional experience for us all. As a confirmed devotee I am looking forward to having access to my favourite local pizzeria again, and I’m sure that many reading this will feel the same.
Seventhsister will be back with a full review soon.
Words: Timothy Sparrow
Images: Kate Allison