Saturday, 7 January 2012

Pizza East - Shoreditch

Picture by Pizza East
Sorry, no chocolate this morning just pizza! 

Pizza East, Shoreditch High Street, is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the frenetic craziness of Liverpool Street, especially at 5:30pm when commuters dash for home, like migrating Wildebeest.  

Shoreditch, according to Google Maps, is but a 15 minute walk or probably 5 minutes on a Boris bike from Liverpool Street,  god knows where you'd park it.  Allegedly the name Shoreditch originally derived from 'Shore's Ditch', Jane Shore, an unlucky mistress of Edward IV supposedly died in a ditch and was buried in the area.

Pizza East is situated on the ground floor of an old tea warehouse, a rather ram-shackled old building which from the outside looks like it might be close to demolition.  The entrance is dimly lit and not clearly signed, but having been before I knew where we were going.  The bouncer on the door, well we assumed he was, gives the restaurant an edgy and imposing feel.

Arriving early we are seated quickly and efficiently by the receptionists.  The restaurant interior is dark and cavernous with banquette chairs and communal tabling stretching for what seems like miles.  It's almost institutional and refectory like.  The pizza ovens can be seen way out in the back, you can sit at the Counter if you so wish to watch some pizza action.  Service is very quick and our hostess reminds us that, "we need the table back in an hour and 30 minutes".  No problem dear, we'll be out of here in 45 minutes!  

The menu is not vast and is simply written with little or no explanation of the dishes but we ask our waitress and she has the knowledge and quickly fires off an explanation to our questions, which is always a positive. 

Picture by Pizza East
The lighting is a tad too dark for me and I have to hold the menu up to the candle to see it. Think I've spotted a potential health and safety hazard here!  In total there are eleven pizzas to choose from but if you don't fancy pizza you can select from the 'Wood Oven', beef lasagne or chicken cacciatore to name just two.  Without setting fire to my menu we order two pizzas, Soppressata (a cured dried salami), tomato, burrata (mozzarella and cream), olive (£12.50) and a Mushroom, ricotta, spinach and egg (£9.50), which arrive quickly but, not too quickly. 

The pizzas are very well presented and my fried egg is cooked to perfection, mushrooms are extremely tasty, almost meaty.  The pizza crust is chunky, but not overly chewy and the base is thin and crisp, the burrata is soft and melts in the mouth.  However, I do like to see what I'm eating and low lighting is not helping. What I'm lacking in visual stimuli is certainly made up for by the delicious tastes and different textures.

The tables are very close together and you can catch most of the conversations at the next table which can be interesting but annoying at the same time.  A strange mix of background music including Deep Purple, Smoke on the Water, which was enjoyable for my date, but it was not something I was expecting. With a bottle of water and a cider the total bill came to a few pence over £31 including 12.5% service. Pizza East is part of the Soho House Group of companies.

Overall very good value for money, service is excellent, but they only had half a dozen tables to serve so I suppose that was expected!  Certainly well worth a visit and being a chocolate fanatic I'll be back for the Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart!

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