Jazz musician Tim Thornton was known for his well-pitched bass notes when he played in Ronnie Scott’s house band in Soho. But now it’s his base skills that are admired.
The 32-year-old missed his two-year-old daughter Elisa so much when he was jetting round the world on music tours that he changed key and decided to focus on food instead.
He’s poised to launch Base Face Pizza (a pun on the contorted faces jazz musicians pull) at 300 King Street, Hammersmith, close to Ravenscourt Park, on Wednesday 9 June, in the former premises of Mediterranean restaurant Piate, opposite Tesco Express.
Wife Rosanna is Italian, “so she’s a very good taster for the product”, while Tim’s parents are also helping with a venture that focuses on using west London food makers, to reduce food miles and support other local businesses.
“When coronavirus started, I wanted to bring a bit of joy back to the community, so I made pizzas in an oven in the garden and gave them away, just asking for £5 donations to the NHS charity,” he explained.
After a couple of months of ‘Zio Tim’s Pizzeria’, he decided that pizzas had become his new way of life. The guys who run the Vindinista wine shop in Churchfield Road, Acton, weren’t using their kitchen, so it briefly turned into a pop-up pizza takeaway as Tim experimented with dough mixes and toppings.
That led to a regular slot at the Ravenscourt Park farmers’ market, and now – 6,000 home-made pizzas later – he’s poised to strike out on his own with an eat-in/takeaway using ingredients sourced locally.
“My focus is on eating in; pizzas taste best when they’re fresh out of the oven,” says Tim. “For me, the joy of doing this is to create a really nice place for people to come and spend an evening with the family and friends.”
Keep it local
The sausage is from Ginger Pig in Askew Road, spices from Chiswick Chillies, beer from Portobello brewery and from Jeffersons craft brewery in Barnes, with cheese from the La Latteria mozzarella shop in Acton. Puds include ice creams from Bears Ice Cream Co in Ravenscourt Park.
Tim, who lives in Chiswick and went to Latymer School, is looking forward to the stability of working from a restaurant after a decade of touring and a year of running pop-ups.
“I really love doing this. Italian food is so good because the produce is so fresh and local when you go to Italy. We’ve got good milk here, so what’s the point in flying in cheese from Naples when we can make it in west London?”
The pizza bases are made from a mix of ultra-refined double-zero flour and tritordeum (a wild barley and durum mix with cardiovascular benefits), while the toppings range from cheeky pineapple (roast pineapple and red onion jam, crispy cured pig cheek, basil and mozzarella) to ’Nduja love me (spicy, soft sausage, blue cheese, tomato, maple syrup and oregano). Even little Elisa helps test the less spicy toppings.
Base Face Pizza opens at 300 King Street, W6 0RR, on 9 June, with 50 per cent off all food until Tuesday 15 June.
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