|Ground beef pizza, Pizza East|
I ended up in Shoreditch as I was thrown in at the deep end on an evening out with Jon's work colleagues! He has been working at a local council for just over 6 months and he finally thought it was time to unleash me on to his work friends! I like to think I'm quite an acquired taste - my sense of humour is terrible and I never know when to stop talking, but hey...my friends love me so why wouldn't his?!
We met up with them first of all at a sports bar in Shoreditch - but not any sports bar, Bar Kick. It's an international bar that sells a wide variety of international beers, has a row of table football tables which you can reserve along with tables in either their bar area, or their food section. We didn't stop for a bite to eat as we had reservations at Pizza East but the grub looked like perfect American style sports food - I saw nachos, burgers, and amazing looking hot dog but the menu suggested there was so much more on offer! Perhaps we will have to return soon to give it a review.
We did however sample quite a bit of their drinks menu. I had a couple of cocktails including a Caipirinha made with cachaça and an El Mexican a blackberry and tequila cocktail -yummy! The bar staff weren't bad either...
Afterwards we moved on to Pizza East, the real star of the evening.
56 Shoreditch High Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 7729 1888
Pizza East can be found on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road in East London, just a short walk from Shoreditch High Street Station. A modern pizzeria complete with a deli and a bar (Concrete) in its basement, it really is the place to eat in Shoreditch!
The website describes the menu as featuring "traditional and rustic ingredients, with a progressive approach to gourmet pizza and a commitment to sourcing seasonal and local produce." To be honest, I couldn't put it better myself! You could really tell the quality of the ingredients and the thought that had gone behind not only the combination of pizza toppings, but even the selection of cheeses found on the different pizzas and other dishes.
So what did we eat?
All 3 of Jon's friends went for the veal meatballs, prosciutto and cream pizza. I don't know if they knew something I didn't but I thought for my first visit I wouldn't go for what is arguably the most adventurous thing on the menu. Their pizzas looked delicious, cooked to perfection and they certainly had no complaints!
Jon went for the courgettes, tomato, fontina and chilli. He absolutely loved it. What made it really impressive though, was that they wasted no part of the courgette plant: they topped it with the courgette flowers too! It’s lovely to see a restaurant using more unconventional parts of a vegetable. That reminds me...I have a recipe for deep fried courgette flowers...
I on the otherhand went for the ground beef, dried tomatoes and scamorza pizza. At £9.50 it is the second cheapest on the menu but this didn't mean it didn't taste as good or have ingredients of a high quality! The pizza seemed to be just bursting with flavour! They use the same crisp base and home-made tomato sauce for each of their pizzas, but I felt the dried tomatoes really took it to another level! The punchy, sweet tomatoes then accompanied the slightly spicy ground beef perfectly. The ground beef looked like small rustic meatballs, which meant you had a good amount in every bite! It really is the little things like topping distribution that make a good pizza!
The cheese was also a perfect choice. It was creamy and relatively mild which balanced out the sweetness and spicyness of the beef and tomatoes. It also meant that the herbs they used were not lost among too many strong flavours.
Every pizza had also been seasoned with fresh herbs! Not something you'd get at your average pizza chain.
With the pizzas ranging from £8 to £13 we decided not to go for starters or desserts but ordered breads instead. Jon, Charlotte, Rob and Tom all went for garlic bread, and there were no complaints! Each portion at just £3.50 was made up of two large 6-inch long half baguettes topped with plenty of garlic and parsley goodness. It may have been a little oily for some, and the parsley got stuck in EVERYONES teeth, but still top-notch garlic bread!
I felt the odd one out wanting to try something a little different off of the menu so decided to get the bruschetta as a side. At £7.50 the fig, burrata, honeycomb bruschetta was slightly smaller in size than the galric bread. It was only one slice of bread but was topped with the hugest mound of burrata! For those of you who don't know... (I had to Google it!) ...burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozarella and cream. It is super indulgent without being too rich as it is light and mild. This worked really well with the sweet figs.
When I ordered the bruschetta, I commented on the fact that I was being the odd one out and breaking the mould, and out lovely waiter chipped in saying that I wouldn't regret the decision and that people came just for the bruschetta...to begin with I thought he was just being a good salesperson, but now that I've had the pleasure of trying it, he was most definitely right! I hope to take my family to the restaurant the next time we're in London, even if it is a bit out of the way, and I will be making sure at least one of us orders the fig bruschetta.
To wash it all down, I went for a soft drink (I think those cocktails in Bar Kick were the equivalent of quadrupils *hiccup*), more specifically the watermelon fizz.
All in all we had a lovely evening. Dinner was perfect, it was super relaxed and super tasty and we didn’t feel like we were being rushed at all! When we were ready we simply moved on to the next bar (Boundary Bar) which had a roof top terrace boasting 360 degree views of East London! We could see the Gherkin and the Olympic Park’s lights! A few more cocktails later (including the Boundary Project made with egg whites and charged with CO2?!) we decided to head home.
If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend heading to Pizza East for a bite.