Images above: Tim Thornton; Base Face pizzas
Tim Thornton makes pizzas, but not maybe as you’d imagine them to be. The owner of Base Face pizzas in Hammersmith likes to make up his own toppings and rings the changes according to what’s seasonal and available. Traditional Napolitan pizza it is not.
Nor is Tim Italian. He grew up in Chiswick (Barrowgate Rd), lives round the corner from there still and went to school at Latymer. He became a professional jazz bassist, a member of the house band at Ronnie Scotts, playing with the likes of classical violinist Julian Bliss and at the Proms with Clarie Teale. (Bass face / Base face – geddit?)
When Covid 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.
“I’ve always been really into food. When my daughter was born I was away most of her first year touring, so I thought this is the best opportunity I’m going to get to start something near home”.
Image above: Base Face Pizza, 300 King St, Hammersmith
Starting out in lockdown
He started by selling pizzas on his driveway to neighbours, asking for a £5.00 donation to the NHS. Having practiced on them, he met Jules Kane (who curates the Chiswick Cheese Market stalls and has her own business Jules the Foodie, delivering fresh homemade dishes to your door (also a Club Card member).
Having worked in catering in Chiswick for years, she was able to make introductions to Vindinista wine shop in Churchfield Rd in Acton and to the Hogarth Club, who had to close their cafe in 2020 but were delighted to serve Tim’s pizzas as a takeaway service to their members outside. You may also have seen Tim popping up with stalls at various open air markets in west London during the past year.
He opened the doors to his own restaurant at 300 King St, Hammersmith and is now working with Natalia as his manager (previously bar manager at the Hogarth) and Marcos (previously a chef at Soho House, White City) as his pizza chef.
Making ‘slow dough’ pizzas
They make ‘slow dough’ pizzas, fermented over a minimum of 48 hours.
“We use fresh yeast – beer yeast – and all the gluten is broken down by the yeast. I wanted to make pizzas which didn’t leave you with that heavy feeling” he told me.
“The benefit of not being Italian is that I don’t have to do it the traditional way. The Sausage & Chilli and the Cheeky Pineapple are two of our biggest sellers – the pineapple takes the place of the tomato, like a pineapple jam spread over the pizza with ham on it. Not pineapple chunks”.
He likes to have something different for customers to discover when they come back and always has a choice (currently five) of purely vegetarian options which can easily be made vegan.
Image above: Map of Base Face suppliers
Using local suppliers
Tim is big on using local suppliers. “It’s the way the whole world is going to have to organise itself soon. Why destroy the planet when you can find delicious produce made round the corner?”
Apart from pizzas, also on the menu are Burrata made in Acton, beers from Barnes and ice cream from Shepherd’s Bush. He has maps on the tables showing where everything comes from.
La Lateria in Acton make his mozzarella. “They make it at midnight; they have a key so they put it in the fridge at 3.00am and we come in to fresh-made mozzarella. It’s the highest quality as well”.
Vindinista provide all his wines. They buy from Renegade Wines made in Bethnall Green using UK grapes. Jeffersons Beers provide the beer; they’re just over the river in Barnes. Chiswick Chilles provide the hot stuff. Owner Caitlin McCall grows her own chillies.
You can see the current menu here: basefacepizza.com/menu
Club Card offer
Face Base Pizzas offer a 10% discount to Chiswick Calendar Club Card holders.
See all the current Club Card offers here: Club-card-offers/a-z-directory
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