“ Blackheath. „
Let's make no bones about it, zero degrees is simply great. It is always packed out on peak days and at certain times in the week even. They often cater for large parties making it a great place to go to celebrate a birthday or even for a work evening.
The menu hasn't changed much in the last few years but that's probably because it's just perfect as it is. The interesting pizzas such as the hoi sin duck or the porcini mushroom add a nice different element to what could potentially be very boring.
If you are a vegetarian you will certainly find something here that takes your fancy. A particular favourite of mine is the BBQ quorn salad which is just a dream. If it's a dessert you're after then I can wholly recommend the bannoffee tart, just delicious.
Zero degrees makes a great evening or even lunch out, and the relaxing yet cool environment makes it perfect. What really makes Zero Degrees unique is that it is a microbrewery and you can therefore not only try out some nice beers but you can also take small mini kegs home with you to enjoy the flavour out of restaurant. These are brilliant for parties, and you can even get an even larger party keg if a small one isn't enough!
Pizza and beer. What a great combination. Me being a bit of a foodie (some might say snob) I am very particular about my food and drink. A Pizza Hut deep pan ham and mushroom and a pint of Stella will not quite do the trick for me. I like my beers micro brewed and my fast food gourmet. When I want pizza and beer I head for London's trendy, bohemian and rather picturesque Blackheath home to Zero Degrees, one of my favourite wining and dinging places in London.
Zero Degrees is a restaurant and bar with a difference. You will not find any Stella, Grolsch or even Tiger beer. Zero Degrees has its own micro brewery that produces natural, chemical-free beers which are also very reasonably priced. It was for this reason I sought out Zero Degrees after reading a a short article in a local newspaper. It was not until my first visit that I discovered that they did good food including a range of interestingly topped pizzas to rival Croma, my favourite pizza place in Manchester.
Zero Degrees is easy to find. It is located in Blackheath village facing the heath. Its only about a mile from Greenwich and the Meridian hence the name. It's only a short walk from Blackheath train station and on a number of bus routes. The entrance is quite unassuming with some tablas on the pavement for al a fresco dining in the summer. Once you enter you are greeted by a corridor with the microbrewery on the right hand side. It is nice to see all the equipment so you know where your beer is coming from. Make your way down the corridor to the main eating and drinking area. It is on two levels with an upstairs dining area (accessible by a spiral staircase, a smaller downstairs dining area and a more informal bar area with lots of low tables and very comfortable sofas. The decor is very sparse with white breeze blocks and metallic diagrams of the brewing process Zero Degrees uses.
I like the atmosphere of Zero Degrees. It is usually busy and there is a very good vibe about it. There is music on in the background but I have never felt that it overpowers everything else and you can hear yourself think as well as your companion's conversations. Due to its changing image throughout the day there is a big screen showing sports on Saturday afternoons so all you football widows be warned you can not get away from it.
I'm not the only fan of Zero Degrees. Booking is a must on a weekend night and I would advise it on a weekday evening if you do not want to wait for a table. The first time we visited was a Saturday afternoon and we were lucky to get a table (the upstairs restaurant is closed during the day). I would not arrive without booking on a weekend night. We tried to get in one Saturday evening but there would have been a forty five minute wait to be seated for a meal. My last visit was on a sunny Thursday evening where we had about a fifteen minute wait to be seated.
When at the wide, semi circular metallic bar I would advise you to try one of the beers. Zero Degrees offers four house beers (pale ale, pilsner, wheat beer and black lager) and a specialty beer that is changed regularly. The beers are mostly continental or American in style but are very good. I think I have tried all their beers and they range from not bad to rather tasty. I would particularly recommend the wheat beer and the pilsner which is light, zesty and very refreshing. My all time favourite beer from Zero Degrees is their mango beer. It sounds a bit weird but it is nice. It tastes like a good lager with a hint of the sweetness and viscosity of the mango juice. The mango does not take over the flavor but compliments it . It's a refreshing summer drink. The special beer when I last visited was a banana beer which I did not fancy. The beer is served in pint and half pint glasses with a distinctive Zero Degrees logo. I would love to have one for in my house (but will not steal one) The good news for beer drinkers is that the beer is very reasonably priced for this part of London. A pint is £2.50 whilst a half is £1.30. For those sharing they do a four pint pitcher and also do party packs to take home. The even better news is that Zero Degrees has a happy hour between four and seven Monday to Friday. I tend to stink to the beer when visiting Zero Degrees as the beers are unique and the other alcoholic drinks are less value for money. They do a rang of cocktails that are around about the £6 which is average for London or wine from £3.50 for a glass of house wine.
Feeling hungry? Zero Degrees has a good choice of food. The starters range in price from £3.25 for the bruschetta to £5.95 for the seared beef carpachio. I have no experience of the starters as I tend to go for just a main course.
I have been tempted by a number of things on the menu. They do 1 kilogram pots of mussels in various styles for £12.50. The pots look huge and I particularly fancy the Thai green curry ones. They also do a range of salads for £8.25 (the Cesar salad without chicken is cheaper at £6.25) and a small selection of pasta dishes which are around about the £9 mark. They also do a number of daily specials. I have not tried any of these as on all three occasions I have dined at Zero Degrees I have gone straight for the pizza section of the menu.
The pizzas are freshly made you can see into the kitten) and are cooked in a traditional wood fired pizza oven. They are always a decent size and have a lovely thin crispy base. |I like them as I find deep pan pizzas too heavy and doughy. They have a wide Inge of toppings to suit all tastes from traditional cheese, pepperoni and mushroom and four seasons to more wild and wacky ones such as Thia chicken and Peking duck. My sister had a seafood pizza that comes without cheese. There are also a decent number of vegetarian options which is great. The pizzas I've sampled have ranged from not bad to delicious. I've had a caramilised pear and Gorgonzola pizza that also had walnuts on it. I wasn't quite sure about this one as the pears on a pizza really did not work for me (although the walnuts did). A garlic prawn pizza consisted of lovely big prawns and mussels in their shells in a white wine and garlic sauce was nice but the combination of the sauce and mozzarella on top was a bit too much and made the pizza slightly soggy. My favourite pizza was actually a special. Pizza Toto had lovely big prawn with delicate asparagus and a smoked cheese. I would recommend it as the smoked cheese gave the pizza a distinctive taste without overpowering the rest of the ingredients. I hope it becomes a regular fixture on the menu. What I like abort the pizzas is that the ingredients are high quality and very fresh. My sister was particularly impressed with her seafood pizza as it did hove langoustne on it as well as very nicely cooked pieces of calamari. Pizzas range from £6.85 for a cheese pizza to £9.25 for the seafood one. They may be a bit more expensive than Domino or Pizza Hut but the extra you pay is worth it.
Fancy a little something extra to go with the pizza. They do a selection of side orders including tasty olives and good chips, although pricey at £3 per portion. Zero Degrees does do desserts for around about the £4 mark but I have not tried any of them.
The service is okay but nothing out of the ordinary. It is not snail pace but it can be a tad slow but this may be down tp the busyness of the restaurant as a whole. I have never had any major problems with it and the waiters and waitresses are friendly and always ready to help
Zero Degrees may not be fully accessible to disabled people. The toilets are up a spiral staircases (am not sure if there are any disabled toilets elsewhere). The toilets t like the rest of th interior are clean and are kitted out in diagnose black and white checked tiles).
I have really enjoyed all three of my visits to Zero Degrees and look forward to many more tasty pizzas beers and maybe mussels.
P.s. There are two further branches of Zero Degrees in Reading and Bristol.
29-31 Montpelier Vale
020 8852 5619
Zero degrees is a new micro-brewery that has just opened its doors in the picturesque Blackheath, which revives an old culture of brewing its own natural beers on site, an idea which is becoming increasingly popular by people who are becoming disenchanted with the drab, chemical taste of mass brewed beers. As you walk through the doors of Zero Degrees (which are politely held opened by two smartly dressed bouncers), you are confronted with a long lobby, of which one side is glass, looking into the brewing area, and the otherside a wall, from which hangs a large glass sketch of the brewing process. The main bar itself is very modern affair, consiting of a matellic bar, metal stairs, and behind the bar, enourmous metal containers, where the beers is brewed, and tapped directly to the bar. At the back of the room is the seating area, of which there is an upstairs, which is accessible by a meatl spiral staircase, and gives great view of the entire bar, or a downstairs, consisting of a mixture of comfy sofas, or individual Ikea type chairs (which are surprisingly comfortable). At the other end of the bar is also a restaurant section, which is seperated by a long glass railing. Here they serve the most mouth watering pizzas, as well as many other dishes, including the most delicious mussels you will ever taste. It is also very reasonable, a three course meal with drinks included will not set you back more than £15. The beer is divided into: 1) Pilsner 2) Pale ale 3) Wheat beer 4) Speciality beer (Stout etc.) They all have their own distinctive taste, and are all very, very drinkable. The wheat beer, especially, is light and tasty, and you will quite happily work your way through pints of it, without feeling bloated, although beware, they are fairly potent brews. The most amazing thing, and try it if you don't believe me, but due to the lack of chemicals in the beer, hangovers are small to non-e
xistent. The staff are polite and energetc, and the crowd is a mix of good natured people, who all seem intent on having a good time.