East London’s plush pizzeria Pizza East has been a much-loved haunt of my Polski princess Maggie and I for a while now and so when our monthly ‘date night’ rolled around a couple of Friday's ago there was no question as to where we’d be booking a table.
Situated on the ground floor of the Tea Building in the heart of Shoreditch, Pizza East specialises in gourmet pizza made with traditional rustic ingredients in a modern, industrial setting. Greeted at the entrance by the uber trendy door staff our coats are checked as per and we are led across the vast dining floor to a dimly lit corner table. The factory feel of the exposed brickwork, pipes, stripped-wood flooring and stainless steel accents nicely contrast the medley of sophisticated menu options. Chicken livers to start anyone? Being creatures of habit and feeling unadventurous Mags and I ordered the garlic bread. Garlic? Bread? Sorry. More of a large bap then your usual sliced number it arrived on a wooden serving board ideal for sharing. Perfectly crunchy on't outside, fluffy on't inside, warm and dripping in garlic butter this old fave did not disappoint. On previous visits I have sampled both the calamari with aioli and lamb meatballs in tomato sauce, very tasty and a nice change from the traditional pizza accompaniments.
Despite appealing to the carnivore in me, offering up dishes of rib eye steak, chicken cacciatore and crispy pork belly, it would be foolish to order anything other than one of PE’s speciality pizzas. Veal meatballs, prosciutto and cream? Potato, pancetta, puzzone and garlic? How about mushroom, ricotta, spinach and egg? Eventually I plumped for the ground beef, scamorza cheese and dried tomatoes, a pizza that I can only describe as buff. But that’s it. Not spectacular. Not legendary. Simply buff. Having gobbled up this disk-shaped delight in record time our waiter returned to remove our crumb covered boards and handed us a dessert menu. After the obligatory ummming and ahhhhing over whether or not we could possibly eat another piece and knowing that we both would, we were ready to order the chocolate vanilla cheesecake. However, rather disappointingly, we did not get to sample this dessert. Did they run out of cheesecake? Nope. Did Maggie and I change our minds? Never the case! In fact the reason we did not get to order our dessert was due to the fact that our 'time was up'. You heard me. Our. Time. Was. Up.
This, my friends, is where Pizza East falls short. Owned by the Soho House Group, proprietors of the exclusive members only Shoreditch House in the very same building, Pizza East possesses a similar air of pretentiousness. Don't get it twisted peeps I do enjoy a poncy night out as much as the next London lass but depriving me of my sweet treat at the end of my meal is no way to win favour. Diners are limited to 1 1/2 or 2 hour slots depending on the size of the group and if you don't finish you food then tough tit. It's a real shame as overall the decor and atmosphere is both trendy and chilled, the food is decent for the price at £8-£13 per pizza and the location is bang on. Yet lately I feel that we have grown apart, Pizza East and I. I think we want different things? Maybe we need some space? Time explore other pizzerias? Figure out if we are still the right fit? And if nothing better comes along at least I am safe in the knowledge that I can always pop in for a quickie. Literally.