REVIEW: ‘Prooving’ authentic pizza taste is key

Head chef Michele Magnotta at Proove with a magherita pizza. Picture: Andrew Roe
Head chef Michele Magnotta at Proove with a magherita pizza. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Grown in the shadows of Mount Vesuvius, proclaimed as the world’s best by some chefs, and now served in Broomhill.

Yes, the San Marzano tomato is one of three key ingredients imported from Italy to make the menu at Proove as authentic as its three Italian chefs.

A bel paese pizza at Proove. Picture: Andrew Roe

A bel paese pizza at Proove. Picture: Andrew Roe

Then there is the Italian 00 grade Caputo flour, and the elusive Fior de Latte cheese...

“We went to Naples which was an interesting experience because we thought we knew a lot about pizza”, said co-owner Deepak Jaiswal.

“We got there and said ‘we need to start again!’

“Some of our ingredients are imported because you just can’t buy them here.

Head chef Michele Magnotta at Proove doing pizza acrobatics. Picture: Andrew Roe

Head chef Michele Magnotta at Proove doing pizza acrobatics. Picture: Andrew Roe

“The Fior de Latte is less watery, it has a really creamy flavour. Before we went out there we thought we’d use British mozzarella but as soon as we got back we scratched that.

“It’s one of the hardest things we do, sourcing the cheese.

“One of the biggest questions every month is are we going to have enough cheese?”

While in Naples, co-owner Rob Engledow went to pizza school with a local expert, while the pair also hunted down a traditional wood-fired oven to bring home to Sheffield.

Proove, Fulwood Road. Picture: Andrew Roe

Proove, Fulwood Road. Picture: Andrew Roe

It has been blazing at the site since September, and has already built up something of a following - with customers also remembering Proove from its previous pop up days.

The restaurant is another foodie addition for Broomhill, which recently welcomed Primoz and Rod’s Dogs, and is well known for staples such as Thyme and La Vaca.

Deepak, of Dore, added: “It is becoming a little restaurant row, people are seeing Broomhill is becoming a nice destination for people.

“We are doing really well with the Italian community.

A diavola pizza at Proove. Picture: Andrew Roe

A diavola pizza at Proove. Picture: Andrew Roe

“I think a couple of them at the beginning came in to see whether it was actually true to the Naples style and then told their friends it was.”

That style is brought to life by head chef Michele Magnotta, who hails from Caserta, near Naples.

And you won’t find any quirky ingredients - often seen in other pizza joints - on his menu.

Think spicy pepperoni or roasted mushrooms. anchovies and lashings of parmigiano.

“We run a specials board and I think we are going to have some fun flavours on there but unlike some pizza places in Sheffield we’re not going to start putting barbecue chicken or pear and walnut on pizzas”, said Deepak.

“That’s just not what we do.

“We’re not trying to be quirky with our toppings.

“One of our pizzas is margarita and it is nice to have one that tastes like margarita should because you go to Pizza Hut and they are topped with quite crappy ingredients at an expensive price.

“We are about premium ingredients sold at an honest price.”

We had heard reports of long queues as people waited for their dough fix, but got in with ease just after New Year.

It’s a bright, airy and welcoming space with a simple wood style and that open oven roaring away.

Tins of the famed tomatoes line shelves on the walls and our table had a fragrant basil plant, which was a nice touch.

Service was swift, friendly and helpful, but the waitress did not explain just how large my starter of bruschetta would be.

Four squares of crusty bread arrived - with a surprise ball of that hard-to-source cheese in the middle.

For some it would be enough for a main course, for £4.80.

The mushrooms, truffled and then drizzled with garlic infused oil, were sliced thin, alternately crispy and soft, with a wonderful earthy flavour.

That cheese - as promised - was creamy and fresh. It was a dish best eaten together with hands rather than a fork, to get the full balance of flavours.

My only quibble was the finely crafted bread was a little dry - a dab more oil would have helped.

He tucked in to tronchetto, small parcels of dough topped with fillings, when they arrived a couple of minutes later.

There was yeasty dough, gooey cheese and spicy meat - and a first taste of the imported tomatoes in a lively side dip that he described as having a slightly aniseed flavour.

Main courses were a compromise - as both wanted the diavola (£9.90), so we split half and half.

I am one of those abominable people who quite enjoys an unexpected topping or two, but the use of fiery nduja sausage was well executed in the base to build heat over minutes rather than seconds.

There were pockets of cheese, those tomatoes and much thin ‘cornicione leopardo’, or the fired crust with black spots, too.

A few torn basil leaves on top would have made it for me.

On the Americana option the sweet, silky yellow peppers were the stars of the show.

We couldn’t hack more dough for dessert, although the pizza dolce smothered in Nutella and filled will probably tempt us back another day. Instead I had a sharp, refreshing and sticky lemon slice (£5) from Forge Bakehouse with salted caramel gelato, and he a standard scoop of chocolate.

We paid £44.90 including soft drinks.

Proove, 261 Fulwood Rd, Broomhill, S10 3BD

01142 94 5185