Croydon Social was born when neighbouring Red Door Bakery owners Emma and Gareth Grierson saw the opportunity to bring a bit of nightlife to cafe-heavy Croydon.
The star of this show is a wood-fired oven made from COR-TEN steel, a corrosion-resistant alloy that’s sold pre-rusted. It looks as if it’s been there since the start of the building’s history, rather than 2016.
This hulking box crisps up pizza dough that’s mixed and rested next door over two days. Bases are topped with combinations such as Dutch cream potato, rosemary and three cheeses; pancetta and pickled artichoke; and smoked mozzarella, sopressa (aged salami), broccolini and anchovy.
The venue is popular with younger groups, as much for its tumblers of local and Italian wines as for the pizzas. The share plates are also a hit – the Brussels sprouts with sourdough croutons and anchovy mayo being a stand-out, thanks to the slight char and underlying crunch imparted by the wood-fired oven.
Breakfasts are a weekend affair but include the Croydon Reuben with house-made pastrami; house-smoked salmon on Red Door’s rye caraway sourdough; and a pide filled with bacon, tomato, mushroom and a soft egg, cooked in the wood oven.
The clean interior works with the high ceilings to enlarge the small space, while the touches of wood add warmth to the concrete floors.