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Would You Drive 82 Miles Each Way for a Pizza?

If you answered in the negative, you’ve obviously never eaten at GB Pizza in Margate.  If you answered “YES,” then I’m guessing you’ve already had the pleasure so you’ve no need to read further.  This article is to enlighten the uninitiated…

GB Pizza Interior with Sunset Margate
Sunset from Inside GB Pizza, Margate

It wasn’t my first visit to GB Pizza, I’d eaten there on a previous visit to Margate about four years ago so I immediately noticed that the décor had changed somewhat.  Although it retained its utilitarian ambiance, it appeared less metallic and industrial than before.  I mentioned this to our server, the lovely Ben who was working there during summer break from studying Economics at university in Brighton.

From Ben, we learnt GB Pizza had survived a fire in October 2022.   Sure enough, there were some pretty dramatic photos printed in Kent Online news at the time.  Apparently, it was started in GB Pizza’s doorway, the culprit being a homeless man who took the opportunity of serenading the arresting officers with his rendition of The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter.’  None of this came as a surprise to me since one of the things I love about Margate is its quirkiness.

I’m pleased to report the fire has in no way affected the quality of the GB Pizza overall experience.  Ben confirmed to us that it’s still manned by a friendly team and said he’s loved working there all summer.  This sense of enjoyable industry communicates itself to the customers and undoubtedly adds to the restaurant’s popularity.

And popular it is.  Fortunately, we’d pre-booked our table, but four hopefuls immediately in front of us on entering the premises weren’t so lucky. They were sent away with empty stomachs and sad faces.

On this occasion, we’d arrived too late to appreciate one of the gorgeous sunsets but I know, from my previous visit, how spectacular they can be.  GB Pizza makes the most of its great sunset-viewing location by having a picture window that takes up its entire frontage and positioning tables and chairs on the pavement outside.  I asked Ben how the sunset had been that night and he confirmed it was another stunner.  He told me that some nights, for a few minutes when the sun’s at a certain depth, the entire restaurant is bathed in a bright, orange glow – quite surreal.  So my tip is to check the time of sunset before you book and schedule your visit to take advantage of this wonderful natural phenomenon.

Rose Wine, Pale Ale and Olives
Delicious Pinot Grigio Rose, Neck Oil Pale Ale & Fresh Olives to start

There was nothing for it but to console ourselves with a couple of drinks.  I stuck to my usual pink: Pinot Grigio Rose.  This came in the form of a 175ml glass of La Calvisana, Delle Venezie.  It was simply delicious. Very delicate with a fresh, slightly fruity flavour.  Hub chose a Session IPA called Neck Oil manufactured at Beavertown Brewery.

Based in London, Beavertown is one of only a handful of suppliers GB Pizza use that aren’t based in Kent, but we’ll forgive that as Beavertown is still a pretty quirky operation.  Had Hub been enjoying their Neck Oil IPA in a sunny beer garden, he may well have been one of the lucky 10,000 people to receive a free sachet of Oil Your Neck SPF 50 sunscreen that Beavertown have created in partnership with Lifejacket Skin Protection following research – commissioned by Beavertown – that showed only 18% of Brits wear sun protection when drinking in the great outdoors.  Ideas like this, plus the psychedelic packaging, put Beavertown into an idiosyncratic category that fits perfectly with Margate itself.

Nevertheless, I’m pleased to report GB Pizza’s menu is heavily geared toward locally-sourced supplies.  The drinks menu alone offers you Cider made in Ashdown, Pale Ales from Whitstable and Folkestone, Gin from Folkestone and Tenterden and Vodka from Tenterden and Chatham.

Spinach, mushrooms, caramelised onions, hazelnuts, rocket pizza
Spinach, mushrooms, caramelised onions, hazelnuts, rocket pizza

Turning to the pizzas, ingredients include Kentish goat’s curd, sausages handmade in Thanet and Jam Face hot sauce and chilli jam made in Margate.  There’s a note on the menu that tells you their pizzas are “Made in Margate with Great British ingredients.”

Margate-rita pizza with fresh black olives

So how do they taste?  Well I first had to get over the dilemma of which to choose.  There were several I really wanted to try but eventually I narrowed it down to two, one was ‘Pear & British blue cheese on a ricotta base’ but I’m happy to report that my eventual choice of ‘Spinach, mushrooms, caramelised onions, hazelnuts, rocket and cheese pizza’ (also available without cheese in a vegan option) was juicy and addictive.  The ingredients were clearly very garden-fresh and the made-to-order dough was just chewy enough.

One challenge when preparing a pizza with several ingredients is making sure they’re all perfectly cooked.  These were.  The onions were beautifully soft with that slight caramel flavour they ought to have, the mushrooms were chunky and soft without being soggy and the spinach was wilted but not “dead.”  Crispy, raw rocket was scattered over the top, retaining its full flavour.  With pizza dough, you know it’s fresh when it continues to expand in your stomach and fills you up after the event, as was the case here.  The dough was just the right thickness so it didn’t overpower the ingredients.  It remained intact, didn’t go soggy and the crusts had some crispy bubbles that made them ideal for dipping.