Sunday 27 December 2009

Pizza East - London

I managed to visit a whole load of restaurants I've had my eye on, in the run-up to Christmas. One of these being Pizza East, the newly opened (October) Pizzeria in Shoreditch. It's located in a former tea warehouse on the corner of Bethnal Green Road and Shoreditch High Street, and has the same owners as trendy members club Shoreditch House, next door.

I arrive on a freezing cold Friday evening, its trying to snow and I'm with a group of friends who are celebrating a slew of December Birthdays (Including mine and the GF's).

Entering through the main doors, we are initially bemused to be greeted by what appears to be a pair of black clad nightclub bouncers, we make our way past them and through the door to Pizza East proper.

Jaw Dropping.
The interior is extremely large, moodily lit and dark, and completely stunning....its a fantastic space....benches, wooden floorboards, bare concrete walls... a large central bar and wood-burning pizza ovens to one side...which are surrounded by a whole kitchen crew.....speedily feeding pizzas in, one of them is making the dough for a base and is spinning the elastic dough around his hand - its amazing to watch. The place is buzzing, packed to the gills with trendy East London punters.
We are greeted in a friendly manner and quickly and efficiently shown to our table - which appears to be made out of solid lump of rivet clad weathered steel, like a slab of battleship. We take our first look at the menu.

I'd done as much research as I could beforehand, (One of my aces being an acquaintance on Twitter who actually works at Pizza East and has tried most of the menu - Thanks Libby!!) and I'd heard elsewhere that the soft polenta with Chicken Livers with salsa rossa calabrese was a thing of beauty. I had to have this.... For my main, I chose a San Danielle ham, buffalo riccota, hazlenut pesto and chard Pizza.

Such is the turnover of punters, that I was told upon booking that we'd only have the table for two hours max...happily the staff were extremely friendly and efficient, and despite the place being packed - our food came out from the kitchens quickly.

My chicken liver dish came up in a metal bowl, and certainly looked the part. Creamy yellow wet polenta piled with crispy chicken livers and salsa. I dug in greedily, and it was be honest, I'm not normally much of a liver person - but one of the happy consequences of writing this blog is that I happily wade into dishes that even just a year ago I'd have probably avoided. This dish was seriously good, extremely rustic...and tasty. The crispiness of the fried livers contrasting nicely against the well seasoned polenta..and the salsa rossa adding a nice tangyness. Lovely Stuff.

Around the table various other dishes were going down seemingly just as well, in particular some rather nice lamb meatballs in tomato sauce and a nice plate of aubergine, orange, balsamic and chili.

Onto the Pizzas.
They come up looking nicely bubbled and charred from the wood burning ovens, the toppings are fresh, vibrant and far so good.
The pizza is delicious, but the star of the show is the's beautiful....elastic and extremely tasty....I suspect I could eat on of the pizza bases on its own. I'm very impressed, and my friends around the table are equally generous with their praise for the food. It is superb.

Luckily for me, the GF can't manage the last third of her pizza, so I lend a helping mouth and eat her leftovers happily....I also seem to remember eating the leftovers of one of my mates pizzas as well....the memory is a tiny bit hazy due no doubt to generous alcohol consumption.

Onto desserts - and I'd been told by my Pizza East contact that 'the' dessert to order was salted chocolate caramel tart.
Well - she was bang on the money, it was delicious in an almost soft Dime Bar flavour type of way. I loved it.
Stuffed, and settling up - it was a nice surprise to see how little the bill actually came to, especially in this part of town. Starters and desserts coming in at around the £5 mark, and Pizzas being around £11.

My friends and I had a great meal, helped in part by the lovely and rather atmospheric interior, the buzzing vibe and the friendly staff. The food was superb....and as mentioned, it was extremely inexpensive. Pizza East is well worth a visit, I really enjoyed eating there and will be visiting again soon.

Pizza East.

Tea Building
56 Shoreditch High Street
E1 6JJ

Telephone: 0207 729 1888


Marcus Shingler said...

Good post Dan and relatively easy for me to get to as well so I'll give it a go. I did laugh at your typo though about the "fiendly staff"! Was this a Halloween trip?:-)

Seasons greetings to you.


Dan said...

Marcus - hahaha thanks for picking up the typo (now, sadly corrected). Seasons Greetings to you as well.

LexEat! said...

Great post Dan - this is not too far from me, so will check it out.

Hope you had a great Christmas

Hollow Legs said...

I've been umming and ahhing about visiting Pizza East - there's been so much hype and chatter around it. The polenta dish looks great though, so it might push me in the right direction...

Niamh said...

Looks nice Dan! Another one for my list. Love the idea of the chicken liver dish. The pizzas are a must too. The pizzas are a little pricy though, no?

Dan said...

Lex - Its really nice, well worth checking out. Thanks - I had a good one. Hope you had a cracking Xmas as well :)

Lizzie - yeah it has been quite hyped, agreed - but on the whole the reviews have been really good. Its well worth a visit, the food is actually very good - and the interior and vibe is really nice.

Niamh - Thanks. The Pizzas were on average around £11 - I didn't think it was too bad price wise.

Libby Andrews said...

glad you took my advice and that you enjoyed the food!!! and i agree with niamh, the place is too pricey for the food for me - but the atmosphere is unique to london and i really love it in there!

Unknown said...

Looks great Dan and I love how you had the inside word on what to eat (don't you love twitter)

Dan said...

Libby - thanks for the ordering advice. Was really helpful.. although not sure if I agree with it being pricey.... I mean, locally to me there is a pizzeria which sells far inferior pizzas, and the prices in Pizza East are only a few pound more. I guess compared to Brixtons Franco Manca it IS expensive though.

GC - Agreed, Twitter rocks for ordering tips.

Graphic Foodie said...

Nice. The liver dish sounds great. Perfect with polenta. I've never served the two together before but is on my to-cook list now.

Looking at their menu I'm loving their food. I could order quite a few things. Wouldn't be too happy abut being binned off a table after two hours though. That's not long enough for a meal in my book - call me Italian!

The Ample Cook said...

Oooh what a lovely meal. Your starter sounds wonderful - I love chicken livers and brilliant served on polenta.

Looks and sounds like you had a good time!

Dan said...

GF - The Liver and Polenta dish was lovely - Good Call, would be an easy one to knock out at home.
The two hours thing - I know what you mean, but in fairness - we overstayed the 2 hours by about 40mins, and no one said anything.

Jan - Thanks. Great time had by all :) and once again...bang on - the chicken liver dish was cracking.

Anonymous said...

Great place indeed! Antipasti are very good and yes, the pizzas were one of the best I have ever had in my life. The crust is ... to die for!

Greedy Diva said...

I thought the pizzas here were great - although Franco Manca is still my number 1.

Alex said...

This place has been on my must-visit list since it opened... Pizza and salted caramel tart? Divine.