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I bet it’s warmer in there, I say to the man in the van by way of idle chit-chat as I stamp my feet and huff and puff in the dank and frankly Baltic air.

“Warmer than out there anyway,” he quips in the sort of tone that makes me think – pizza oven or no pizza oven, it’s probably freezing in there too.

His side-kick has just dodged into a little hatch in the wall of this former horsebox and the two of them are huddling take-away coffees in paper cups.

So we’re all cold and yet I’m about to take my pizzas and sit on a bench in that little mini-park that Dough Man’s Land is parked almost up against.

In November. Madness? Yeah, but actually there’s something seasonally warming about seeing the bright glow emanating from this van. Like Dickensian roasted chestnuts without the, er, boring chestnuts.

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They chat, I stamp the pavement, we all wait while hunks of wood blaze, flames lick lazily, sparks enchantingly fly and we glance at the two just-rolled-out circles of dough flicked into that igloo oven bolted into a corner.

They told me a few minutes ago that the oven actually weighs as much as the whole horse box that contains it. Sheesh. I can believe that.

I’ve got a pal who built a proper pizza oven in his back garden and they poured so much concrete into the base, it takes about a week to heat the damn thing up properly.

It now stands as a sculpture to fading food fads.

Here, the oven runs for most of the week, and right now split logs are fully ablaze, embers glowing like crazy.

The Herald: Dough Man's LandDough Man's Land (Image: Colin Mearns)

That dough for my pizzas is rising and bubbling up so hard and fast against that wood that when I sit out there to eat them in a few moments I’ll be picking charred flakes off the very edge of one.

Authenticity, that’s what we all crave. Isn’t it? Do wood fired pizzas ever taste of actual wood?

Or even wood smoke? Not that I’ve ever noticed.

And I’ve eaten a few. But the magic is not in that flavour, it’s in the oven’s super-high heat, the two- or three-minute cooking time and what that whole process does to the eating experience. Mamma mia. I can confirm, maybe not that exclusively, that there is indeed still something special about the old wood-firer experience.

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Now, I ordered the dough balls with garlic butter, parsley, parmesan and salt out of curiosity and for four whole Scottish pounds. I wouldn’t bother.

They’re just a roll of dough roughly chopped, tossed in the oven and tossed with butter and some (very little if any) parmesan. I try a couple and then turn back to the pizzas.

These are much better. Soft, just-cooked, deliciously doughy dough, chewy as I go on, crisped on the outsides and for the couple of minutes it takes to get through them: worth the trip, and the cold. Saying that, the fennel salami (surely aka Milano?) and olives was sold out when I got here.

No doubt due to all those students with their £5-a-pizza-today discounts.

On reflection I should have ordered the pepperoni and hot honey that student ordered as I was waiting.

The Herald: Dough Man's LandDough Man's Land (Image: Colin Mearns)

Not that there’s a problem with the Italian sausage and fresh chilli at £8. It feels completely hand-made, very fresh and is a pleasure to eat. Likewise the Margherita and basil.

But I will make this point. Back in the day when my mum used to make us pizza in the coal-fired (yes really) oven at home – never round always oblong incidentally – to the exact same recipe that my Nonna had given her and used, they never used plain tomatoes for the sugo or topping.

It was always simmered and seasoned tomato, fennel seeds in it, tomato flavours intensified.

Salted too.

These ones could do we a wee bit of that oomph seasoning. If that’s not too radical a suggestion.

Dough Man’s Land
Derby Street,
Tel: 07517 374299

Opening hours: check the internet but seems to be closed Monday and Tuesday otherwise open til 6pm. 

Menu: It’s a pizza van, well horsebox, with a glorious wood-fired oven blazing away in the background,  simple stuff: pizzas and pizza balls. 4/5

Service: Served through the hatch by a pleasant guy who shaped the dough, flipped the pizzas into the oven and packaged it all up while being quite chatty. 5/5

Atmosphere: It’s on a street in the west end, outside one of the gates to Kelvingrove Park, with that oven burning it’s quite atmospheric. 3/5

Price: Full fat (that’s not student) prices go up to £8 for the more exotic toppings. Given the quality: fair enough. 3/5

Food: They don't have the monopoly on the pleasure of a hand-made, just fired pizza served in the fresh air, but the dough was good and the firing righteous. 8/10

TOTAL: 23/30