Atomic by name, Atomic by nature.
a·tom·ic (adjective): Of or forming a single irreducible unit or component in a larger system
I managed to unearth the definition above, and I think it is particularly appropriate. Following on from the roaring success that is Atomic Burgers, the quirky 80’s comic book chic that is the Atomic brand finds a welcome home as a Pizza joint at the Cowley end of the Cowley Road (our larger system if you will), and fits in seamlessly in this Bohemian area.
So, you can imagine my delight when a Golden Ticket arrived in the post inviting me to the launch party on the eve of the opening of the new restaurant. I duly attended, along with many others and sampled some of the appetizers and pizzas that will be on offer on a night of fine food and banter.
Martin and James, who run both establishments, greeted us upon arrival with a glass of punch on the house, and welcomed everyone in with the kind of warmth and charisma that has seen their other restaurant become a cult hit on the Cowley Road. One of the reasons behind the Atomic brand’s cult status is not that they just like to be seen as different, it’s because they actually are.
After taking many pictures of the unique decor, including amongst other things Gonzo from the Muppets and other 80’s childhood comic book heroes, we were requested to mingle, make new friends and have conversations with people we had never met before, and with the gentle encouragement and a pep talk from James so it began. What followed was nothing short of a pizza filled extravaganza where guests were treated to the new pizzas on the menu. Particular highlights were the Scooby-do (hot-dog pizza), Dangermouse (four cheese) and the Popeye (Spinach, goats cheese, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, olives). My personal favorite is the Scooby-do and it captures everything Atomic encapsulates: fun, quirky but most of all – top quality. Also on offer, following from the success at Atomic Burger, is the Godzilla challenge – not for the feint palletted – which will actually blow your mind. I tried a slice, and took several minutes to recover! It wouldn’t be Atomic if you couldn’t sample the burgers, and alongside the classic dishes these are also available.
In a city where faceless, corporate restaurants dominate proceedings in the city centre, Atomic pizzas is yet another string to the Cowley Road’s bow, and the reason that many people prefer to dine in this Bohemian suburb where character is on offer as much as craft. Martin and James are a different breed of owner, who don’t just rely on the food to make the experience work, they make it work themselves.
As the definition says, the atomic brand cannot be reduced – it’s on its way to greatness.
Food of the Ox rating: 8.5