The ONLY restaurant to serve real Neapolitan pizza in Norfolk and Suffolk
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Many restaurants claim to offer authentic Italian pizza - but few actually have the official seal of approval.
But Beccles' Oakfired at The Royal Oak is the real deal.
The Ravensmere restaurant has earned a slice of international accreditation from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) in Naples allowing it to legally claim to serve 'real Neapolitan pizza'.
It is among only three restaurants in the UK to earn the mark – with the others operating in Kent and Newcastle.
The pizzeria is the brainchild of Paul Jackson and Paul Williams, who opened the restaurant last year after being inspired by the culinary pleasures of southern Italy.
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Mr Williams explained the couple were determined to provide the most authentic experience possible.
He said: 'We didn't take on the running of a restaurant without knowing we wanted to be the very best.
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'We set our sights high – we wanted to be recognised as a destination restaurant.'
In the heart of the pizzeria stands the huge oak-fired Valoriani oven which reaches temperatures of 450 degrees Celsius and cooks pizzas in just 90 seconds.
During service Mr Jackson assumes the role of 'pizzaiolo' – expertly crafting perfect pizzas in full view of waiting diners.
His skill and precision, learned during an apprenticeship in Naples, has been central to Oakfired's success.
Mr Williams said: 'Achieving this feat has been down to the total dedication of Paul Jackson, which is reflective of his approach to everything he does, and the strength of our partnership, which dovetails in everything we do and allows one of us to pick up the reins if the other is gaining new skills or working on business planning.
'Together, we always strive for perfection and we there is a lot of drive and tenacity behind our achievement.'
Mr Jackson hopes the restaurant can become an ambassador for Neapolitan pizza and keep expanding its fast-growing reputation.
He said: 'Until you have tried true Neapolitan pizza, you have not lived, so we also hope to attract diners from across the country who wish to eat like proud Neapolitans and perceive the difference that this style of pizza brings to the plate.'
Mr Williams added: 'Instead of flying to Naples you can come to Beccles.'