Roland 'Roly' Simpson, formerly a real estate agent in London, made a career shift by opening east PIZZAS in 2017, trading one type of dough for another - sourdough.
Initially, the pizza company operated in various locations but has now found a permanent home at Bonnie & Wild, the food market in the St James Quarter. Each pizza is crafted using a dough ball that contains the original starter and just three ingredients, flour, water, and salt.
To embrace the local food community, Rowley prioritises sourcing ingredients from nearby suppliers. During Bite’s visit to east PIZZAS we had the pleasure of meeting some of these suppliers. One notable encounter was with the Kedar Cheese Company, farmers from Dumfries who have ventured into producing mozzarella using milk from their Swiss Brown cow herd. Additionally, Anya from Great Glen Charcuterie showcased her exquisite smoked venison and pork and venison salamis.
The types of flavour combos you can expect are:
smoked chorizo, mozzarella, and oregano; venison salami, Hebridean Blue, and caramelised onion;
kimchi, Hebridean Blue, Arran Cheddar and Mozzarella;
organic nduja, smoked mozzarella, cream, and chilli;
wild garlic, Scottish goats curd, and smoked chorizo;
harissa-spiced roasted cauliflower, smoked almonds, red onions and garlic!
However, east PIZZA’S contributions extend beyond their delicious pizzas.
Throughout the pandemic, there was a rising demand for sourdough balls and pizza bases, which east PIZZAS met by selling them to the public.
During our visit, we were allowed to become trainee pizza chefs. Each of us received a ball of dough and was taught how to shape it into perfect rounds. It was revealed that all of east PIZZAS’ dough undergoes a 72-hour proving process, resulting in an extremely elastic, malleable dough.
Once we had our rounds, we had the opportunity to show off our skills by tossing and flipping them in the air, just like the pizza acrobats of Naples (well, almost).
All of these meticulous steps result in delicious, freshly baked pizzas which are blistered by fire on the outside and springy on the inside. We also felt a sense of satisfaction knowing that we played a part in creating our meal.
If you're interested in having the same fun and satisfaction, you can purchase dough, bases, and toppings online. (S. Wilson)