Happy Dough Lucky @ Nottingham

Happy Dough Lucky is a pop-pup pizza parlour situated in the Lacehouse opposite Annie’s Burger Shack in the Lace Market area of Nottingham. According to their signage, they are there for 12 weeks, but I’m not sure how long they’ve already been there, so perhaps they only have until Christmas and then they’ll be popping off. Hopefully they’ll pop up somewhere else in the city when their lease is up.

The menu tells the story of how Happy Dough Lucky came to exist

We arrived at about 12:30 and were the first customers closely followed by a couple of women and then later a couple of men. Considering how busy the city was that day (very, despite the cold weather) and how busy Annie’s was it was a disappointing turn out, but it’s no reflection on the food which was superior to my only real comparison – Peters pizza in Loughborough.

The decor was typical Nottingham trendy to appeal to millennials and get them thinking about how cool it would be to travel around Italy eating local dishes. They had industrial styled toilets with rusty corrugated iron on the wall and a sink that conjured up images of a Victorian work house (I’m not sure why it just felt rather oppressive).

The restaurant was very warm inside and smelt slightly of chip fat until our garlic dough balls started cooking and then we got the nice smell of fresh dough cooking. Rather in conflict with the Italian/travel themed decor was the music which was a mix of Motown, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and various old funk soul tracks. But we weren’t there for the music anyway.

As Meghan Trainor might say, you know it’s all about the pizza base and at Happy Dough Lucky they are excellent – crispy on the edges and chewy and flavoursome toward the centre like a classic Neapolitan pizza should be.  I am assuming they use the Caputo branded soft wheat flour for their dough since there were bags stacked near the kitchen area.

I ordered the Lacehouse lager which was a nice light lager that went down smoothly during the meal. Siggy was driving so she stuck to Diet Coke especially when she tried to order a coffee and the quietly spoken chap serving us (and making the drinks, the food and working out the bill – a real ‘write the them tune, sing the the theme tune’ one man band) apologised that they didn’t have any milk. Or other staff apparently.

We forgave him as the fresh smell of basil wafted through the air con and our dough balls arrived. These were covered in hot buttery goodness and very nice to eat.

Our pizza, the number 8 (see menu above), arrived soon after. I was able to watch him make up the pizza and the cooking time (in a standard industrial looking pizza oven rather than a wood burning oven – it’s a pop-up remember) was about ten minutes max. The tomato sauce on the base had a nice basil and deep tomato flavour and the spicy but sweet chilli jam complimented it well.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll probably have already figured out what I ordered as dessert as I enjoyed my second pint of lager – it really was slipping down nicely despite my second pint tasting more hoppy than the first (my taste buds had woken up by then I guess).

The tiramisu pot was an original twist on the classic tiramisu – all the constituent parts deconstructed leaving the finger biscuits half soft with coffee flavour and half crunchy. It was nice, but serving it in hipster jam jar frustrated rather than augmented the eating experience.

All in all, I’m very glad we decided to give Happy Dough Lucky a go rather than opting for the path of least resistance (i.e. Annie’s). The pizza is very authentic and blessed with a fairly decent amount of topping, but I imagine Pizza Express regulars might be disappointed by the pop-up’s limited menu and non-chain alternative ambience. Plus the air-con system did leave my clothes smelling of the chip fryer once the lad’s chips and pizza order was on the go.

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