I’d been for lunch with a rather good food writer and was following it with some wine when we discussed getting a second, later, lunch at the very newly opened Smoke and Ash in Edgbaston. I’d seen the pictures and was genuinely intrigued by the pizza which looked authentic Neapolitan in style by a team I’d not heard of before. We decided against it, partially out of greed, partially because it felt unfair to judge a pizza that is barely a day old, given that a living, breathing dough is likely to be at its worst in those early days. We skipped the food and drank more wine. Loki, if you’re wondering. It’s rather wonderful.

In hindsight it appears to be the right call. Two weeks after opening and the little restaurant on Greenfield Crescent is showing signs of being a very good pizza. One that is still being tweaked and refined, but has the bones of a product which will likely end up as one of the best in the city. They do the basics correct, sourcing high quality ingredients and blitzing them through a super-hot pizza oven until the early signs of cornicione appear across the crust and base. The menu is tight and they use local where possible. The environment is suitably upmarket for the area. I like it.

Boards of cheese, meat, or both aside, the menu is essentially stuff on bread so it helps that the bread is very good indeed. We try it on garlic bread, as salty as it is garlicky, with mozzarella and rosemary. Perfumed and decadent, it is excellent. And then the pizzas, for which they were experiencing slight supply issues. A busy weekend means they are out of the superior Fior Di Latte mozzarella, and whilst they could have snuck a cheaper product on, they are upfront about it and offer mozzarella, burrata, and scamorza as alternatives. We take the burrata on the margherita which stars a tomato sauce a fraction high on the acidity, and the mozzarella with ‘nduja, taleggio, and honey. For my liking could the centre be a little more soupy and the leopard marking a little more pronounced? Absolutely, but that is me nit-picking on a business a couple of weeks old. The star of the pizza is that dough – full of lactic tang – and it is only going to improve.

The drinks show a similar level of care, whether it be the yuzu and chilli margarita or the fairly priced carmenere from the concise and affordable wine list. The bill for two including two drinks apiece is £60 and we leave very happy to watch the football down the road in Harborne. There is a lot to like about Smoke and Ash. They have a product that stays true to the Neapolitan style whilst trying to use local where possible. They exude a warmth and understanding of what they do, and they’ve taken a punt in a time when everyone else is being suitably cautious. I’m eager to see how that product evolves, as I expect it is going to get extremely good very quickly.