Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Review: Cal's Own, Chillingham Road, Newcastle

I want to write a blog post about Cal's Own, the new and incredibly good pizza shop and slice house on Chillingham Road. I really want to tell you how they're making authentic, top quality pizza and calzones. But I can't, because I've started watching Parks and Recreation clips on YouTube and now it's five hours later.

The link is basically, Parks and Recreation have a long running joke about how calzones are weird and the invention of a shop called The Low Cal Calzone Zone. So when the other half got a calzone this was all I could make jokes about while we were eating. Clearly I'm hilarious but the show is genius, i'll let you watch the show to find out more.

However, to get on to the rather more important topic, the pizza at Cal's Own on Chillingham Road is rather brilliant. In a slightly unusual spot, although with masses of potential given the amount of young professions and students in the area Chillingham Road has always been more at the fried chicken and greasy takeaway end of the food spectrum, and on a rainy and freezing Saturday night I did initially begrudge getting on a bus for pizza.

Now, I'd definitely do it again with no complaints, and that's saying something because I hate public transport.

A dimly lit and functional dining area with around 10 tables is flanked by a large prep area and huge firebrick oven. It's BYOB and there's 4 or 5 options on the menu and a couple of specials. Cal's Own know what it's doing and does it well, no fucking about.

Cal's Own menu
The pizzas are the real deal. I don't want to get into the metaphysics and semantics of what constitutes 'real food' but basically it's hand stretched, well made dough, with top quality ingredients, many of which are DOP and most importantly you can tell all of this when you eat it, cooked on firebricks at scarily hot temperatures. No pineapple or 'bbq flame roasted chicken' in sight.

I opted for the classic cheese pie (£9.00 for 14") which was everything a good pizza should be. Great charring and flavour to a nicely chewy dough, not too thick, not too thin and a lovely sweet tomato sauce.

Cal's Own Cheese Pie

The other half went for a calzone (£12.50) which comes filled as standard with mozzarella, ricotta, spinach, Granda Padano and two extras, in our case sweet fennel sausage and meatballs. Finished with fresh parsley and a dipping bowl of tomato sauce it was all oozy and succulent filling but still crispy and well cooked pizza coating. It was also huge.

Calzone at Cal's Own

We really didn't need to get pudding after these, especially as we were going out drinking. But not needing to do something wasn't a good enough reason to turn down a crazy, diabetic coma inducing layered chocolate cake thing with brownie, chocolate crumb, caramel, cheesecake and creamy topping (£3.50, I think). After two large pizzas this was definitely pudding to share, but god it was good.

With corkage for our beers (£1 per person drinking) pizzas and pudding the bill came to around £30, which isn't cheap by any means but felt like good value. The pizza scene in Newcastle, for a long time a rather barren landscape, seems to have got a bit more competitive in the last few months. I'll never stop loving Slices in the Grainger market, it is my number one lunch spot and it offers a completely different style of pizza so you can't really compare the two, but without doubt Cal's Own definitely makes a better quality (and probably better for you) authentic Neapolitan pizza. It's also fantastic to see someone who's clearly thought 'hey, why not open a really fucking good pizza shop because I'm sick of all this pizza express crap' and then actually gone and done it.

I'm swearing and being enthusiastic, you know it must be good. Go. Even if you have to get on a bus, it's worth it.

Cal's Own is at 207 Chillingham Road, you can reach them on 0191 276 5298 or on twitter @cals_own. Oh and they do takeaway. 


  1. Hurray, I wonder if they open at lunch- a lunchtime pizza run when working at the Freeman would be excellent.


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