Stratford Road, Wolverton is hardly a go-to of high-end gastronomic delight; Dixy Chicken, Silver Sea Chinese, Al Kebab Hut but to name a few. Oh, and a rather run down (but admittedly good) hand car wash and a petrol station. Not then a likely location then for a new (and credible) authentic family-run pizzeria.
Well, my friends… I give you Murati’s Pizza in Wolverton, Milton Keynes.
Muratis Pizzeria, Wolverton Milton Keynes
I’ve been driving past Murtatis on the site of the Wolverton Hand Car Wash since it’s opening earlier this year; no matter what time of day I’ve passed, it always appears to have been packed with hungry customers. Last Saturday night at 9.30pm was certainly no exception, with cars littering the carpark outside. Whispers that friends of friends had heard good things about the place was also rather encouraging. On the trail of satisfying a late evening craving for pizza, I threw caution to the wind (because that’s the kind of guy that I am) and headed on in.
I will admit that I let the hand car-wash setting lead my expectations when I stepped through the door, greeted by the Italian staff (family, I later learned) as a long-lost friend. As I was simply passing and intended to takeaway with a bunch of friends, we declined the offer of a table and headed over to the back of the restaurant to order… and catch a sneaky peak at the preparation area, marveling at the traditional wood-fired oven in all it’s glory. I have to say, it was at this point that I had completely forgotten that I was located at the site of a Milton Keynes car wash, instead inside an authentic family-run pizzeria that could have easily been located just off a cobbled Italian piazza.
Now, it was at this point, following some friendly banter and general tomfoolery with the chefs, I misunderstood that I was required to catch a flying pizza base tossed in my direction… which ended up slapping me square in the face, much to the delight of the chefs and my guests. Nevertheless, this was all in good fun and (thankfully) the offending freshly rolled dough made it’s way to the bin. The owner popped over with some complimentary olives and a chat as we waited for our pizza. Top service.
Stood at the back of the restaurant with my guests, we observed a steady trail of gorgeous looking Italian dishes (pizzas, pasta, seafood and antipasto platters) flying past to waiting diners, all of which encouraged major food envy. It was quickly concluded that a further visit to explore the menu in greater depth would be needed, but everything certainly looked very promising.
After just ten short minutes, our pizza was boxed up and ready to go and we were, after a round of goodbyes from the owners, on our way back home with our pizza.
Now… this was a *good* pizza.
A fresh thin and crispy pizza base, topped with tomato, mozzarella cheese, Parma ham, Parmesan shavings and rocket. All rather delightful. Murati’s pizza, unlike many counterparts (even highly acclaimed restaurants such as Franco Manca in London), wasn’t soggy – hooray! – instead, perfectly crispy. Bravo!
The only slightly disappointing factor was the Parmesan shavings which, at least to me, tasted processed despite the other ingredients of an obviously higher quality and superior taste. Still, I had paid £9.00 (yes, £9.00!) for a large, freshly cooked pizza, prepared right in front of me before spending a few minutes in a wood-fired oven… which frankly is amazing and great value for money. My expectations (and taste buds) were blown away.
Throw in the independently-owned and family-run nature of the pizzeria, not of course forgetting how genuinely lovely and entertaining the staff are, and Murati’s Pizzeria is onto a real winner. It is no wonder then that the place is packed out most evenings and becoming increasingly busy I understand for breakfast too. The success seems, on the basis of a superb pizza, much deserved. The local independent food scene of Milton Keynes has delivered once again!
Muratis Pizzeria, Milton Keynes @ Wolverton Hand Car Wash
There is, of course, a plethora of pizza options in Milton Keynes; not withstanding the vast amount of chains and national takeaway outlets, independently owned Affamato Pizza is probably the best pizza I’ve had in Milton Keynes, so far.
However, for the price (under a tenner for a large fresh wood-fired pizza…!) and friendly service, Murati’s Pizzeria in Wolverton absolutely becomes a go-to and somewhere I will come back to if my first experience is anything to go by. It’s a community gem, if you will and one of many exciting new food ventures in the local area. If nothing else, it is for sure a lesson in not to judge a book by it’s cover!
If you’re local to Wolverton, I also highly recommend the new Taco Shack.
EDIT: since our review, we’ve also visited the Antep Kitchen at the top of Stratford Road, further addition to the culinary delight and growing food scene in Wolverton. For breakfast lovers, there’s also Wrap It and Run.