Base Face Pizza celebrates two years

Image above: Tim Thornton, founder / owner of Base Face Pizza

A pandemic inspired life change which has paid off

Base Face Pizza celebrated its second birthday this summer. The neighbourhood pizzeria was started by Chiswick native Tim Thornton at 300 King Street in June 2021, as a result of a Covid enforced period of reflection and reassessment.

Tim was a professional jazz bassist, a member of the house band at Ronnie Scotts until the pandemic hit. When that put paid to touring he turned his attention to his other passion: pizza, which he had consumed in vast quantities in far flung places on world tours, becoming something of a connoisseur during his time on the road.

Before opening the restaurant he first tried out his homemade pizzas on the neighbours, serving sourdough pizza from his driveway during lockdown to raise money for NHS charities.

Not all Covid inspired life changes have paid off, but Base Face Pizza has flourished.

“Base face in Hammersmith is tiny, we only have 26 covers. When we first opened we were doing 30 – 50 pizzas a night, not we are doing 300.”

Tim relies on takeaway custom as Base Face is situated in what he describes as the “no man’s land” between Chiswick and Hammersmith proper (opposite the small Tescos at the Chiswick end of King Street). Luckily for him pizza lends itself to delivery.

Image above: Classic pizza

Second branch opened in Barnes in January

He has also opened a second branch, by the river in Barnes, across the road from the Bull’s Head pub.

“I was out jogging one day and as I came across the bridge from Dukes Meadows I saw that the premises was up for sale. I knew it would be the perfect place for a pizzeria and put an offer in that same day.”

When he started the restaurant he was developing all the menus himself, but he now has a team of chefs – two Italians, an New Zealander and another Englishman also from west London. Together they dream up new toppings so that in addition to the core menu which stays the same, they can offer new specials and refresh the menu every three to four months to reflect the seasons.

At the moment they have a Halloween special, with pumpkin puree instead of tomato as the base, Nduja – a kind of spicy sausage paste with chilli – Stilton and Mozzarella. Tim and the New Zealand chef Mat Blak are about to spend a day trying out recipes to choose their Christmas special.

Images above: Chefs at work; (L) Mat Blak

Last year Tim created a ‘Devils on horseback’ pizza, based on his mother’s Christmas breakfast special involving prunes, pancetta and sprouts. In the pizza version the sprouts were shredded and roasted with garlic, so they came out crispy.

With such original toppings, he has caught the attention of restaurant critic and food writer Richard Harden, whose guidebook Harden’s London Restaurants is now the longest-established pocket guide to London restaurants. Base Face has appeared in the 2022 and 2023 guides.

Base Face has a focus on locally sourced ingredients from small independent suppliers, so Tim’s menu features Burrata made freshly in local La Lateria in Acton, beers from Mondo Brewery in Battersea as well as organic flour from Shipton Mill. The pizza dough is a slow dough fermented over a minimum of 48 hours.

Tim also prides himself on good service:

“I wanted it to be a neighbourhood restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere. We rely on repeat customers. We want people to go away and recommend us to their friends, not to be the kind of place where you’re kicked out after 45 minutes so we can serve someone else.”

Judging from the reviews they receive on Trip Adviser and Google, he has achieved just that.

Base Face Pizza is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering generous discounts to our Club Card holders.

You can see the current offers here: Base Face Pizza Club Card offer