Pizza East

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It’s all about the dough at Pizza East. Elastic and soft with a smoky char to it from the woodfired oven it is an almost perfect pizza base. The restaurant itself is in terminally cool Shoreditch. Henry Holland was at the table next to us, need I say more. I visited with my friends Amanda and Claire and we decided that we needed new haircuts if we were to eat there again, preferably featuring a fringe, afro, quiff, or even a combination of the three.
 
Potato, garlic and rosemary pizza
 
Pizza East is located in the old TEA building on Shoreditch high street. It feels like you are eating in someones uber cool warehouse apartment. The focal point is a big central bar with a few salami strung up overhead and the huge woodfired oven in one corner. The walls are exposed brick and there is lots of metal, polished concrete and mysterious looking piping and ducts. Tables are a mix of long communal tables and smaller tables for twos and threes. The chairs look and feel like school chairs, by which I mean they are not the most comfortable chairs you will ever sit on but that is only a small niggle.
 
When we booked we were given a two hour “slot” to dine in, however in the end Pizza East was not full and so we were able to linger at our table for a good three hours. No one tried to hurry us along at all and service was attentive and friendly. Wine is served in glass tumblers rather than glasses which I am not that great a fan of although I suppose it adds to the casual feel of the place and saves on dishwasher space. On the plus side, wine is available by the glass, carafe or bottle, perfect for those nights when you don’t want a full bottle (as irregular as they may be). The wine selection itself was pretty good and the Sangiovese del Rubicone (£18) was a perfect fruity winter tipple.
 
The menu is divided into “cold”, “baked” and “fried” antipasti, pizzas, salads and a handful of other main dishes. Given the arctic temperatures we decided to order from the baked and fried antipasti. To start, the roasted bone marrow (£7) which was served St John style, in the bone with some toasted bread and parsley and salt as accompaniments. There is something very satisfying about sucking the marrow out of a bone and the marrow was unctuous and warming. The lamb meatballs (£5) came doused in a napoli sauce. They were tender but not hugely memorable. From the fried section, the “Sicilian aubergine” (£4) was deep fried like tempura with a kick of balsamic and chilli. It was quite an unusual flavour combination but I have to say that I quite liked it. Deep fried food, what’s not to love.
 
Now for the main game, the pizzas. As I said, the base was pretty perfect, smoky and billowy. We tried the veal meatball pizza which was topped with crispy thin curls of prosciutto (£12) and a squeeze of lemon giving a hint of tartness. This was pizza with bags of flavour, right down to the seasoning through the base. With pizza though, I find that often simplest is best, so it was that the potato, garlic and rosemary pizza (£10) was the winner with its moreish double whammy of carbs. The baby gem salad (£9) with pancetta and pear was huge and lathered in a creamy gorgonzola dressing which was slightly overpowering.
 
Salted chocolate and caramel tart
 
There was not really any need for dessert after that so called salad but we decided to sample the hot cinnamon sugar donuts (£6) which were almost like fat, round versions of churros complete with a pot of hot chocolate to dip them in. They were fantastically airy and fluffy. Salted chocolate is everywhere at the moment so of course it was featured on the Pizza East menu in the form of a rich salted chocolate and caramel tart (£5). Obama himself (a salted chocolate fan) would have been in raptures over this cake which was rich and decadent.
 
With two bottles of wine our bill came to just over £30 each which seemed fair. Pizza East ticks all the right dining boxes. It is fun, casual and well priced with the polish that comes from being part of the Soho House group.
 
Essentials
Details: 56 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch E1 6JJ (Ph 020 7729 1888) Tube: Liverpool street
Damage: Reasonable
8/10
 
Links
If you liked reading this you might like this review of the excellent Lavender Hill pizzeria, Donna Margherita, or if you are in Shoreditch another good nearby (non pizza) restaurant is The Albion.
Pizza East on Urbanspoon

17 comments

  1. Glad you liked Pizza East as much as I did. I had the fab doughnuts, but have lived to regret not having the salted caramel number as well. A nice warm up for great pizza when you hit Melbourne in a couple of weeks!

  2. Sounds wonderful – will have to try it soon!

  3. Chocolate and caramel have been haunting me! In a good way, of course. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  4. Holy moly, that sounds awesome. And not too far from the office, so definitely on my list of places to try! I don’t think nearly enough places to potato pizza 🙂

  5. I thought you would like this place, I am glad you had a good meal – I think the bone marrow was excellent as was my pizza choice. I am dying to go back and try the doughnuts. Great review as always.

  6. I’ve read such good stuff – Have to get there soon!

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  8. (Above removed for dreadful spelling!)

    Ah, potato and rosemary pizza is so classic – I absolutely love it! The veal meatball pizza sounds good too.

    It’s so funny that all the reviews for this place mention the tumblers. I myself am a big fan. You wouldn’t find wine glasses in a pizzeria or (proper) trattoria in Italy so I think it’s great that they have included this detail. Can’t wait to try it myself.

  9. Nice review GC.
    I really liked Pizza East when I visited the other week. It certainly has a ‘vibe’ about the place, I thought the food was good and pretty reasonable price wise. I have to agree with Fran about the wine tumblers – personally, I like em 🙂

  10. Greedy Diva – Only so much dessert you can fit in I suppose – especially after pizza. I agree Melbourne does great pizza I used to enjoy Ladro and Mr Wolf. It has probably all changed since I was last home!

    The Happiness Project – I really liked it and thought it was great for the price as well

    Vickys – me too

    Jeanne – it is just a short walk away from the liverpool street square mile area

    The London foodie – thanks and yes I do recommend the doughnuts

    Graphic Foodie – I see your point re the tumblers and it is probably horses for courses although Pizza East is not really an “authentic” Italian trattoria/pizzeria rather Pizza East is more New York style (it is based on a New York pizza restaurant) so to me the tumblers were a bit annoying. I am nit picking though – basically I really liked the place.

    Dan – another tumblers fan! Clearly I am out numbered.

  11. I hadn’t realized Pizza East aspired to serve New York-style pizza (the pinnacle of all pizza varieties, obviously). From your photo and description, the pizza at Pizza East doesn’t look or sound New York style. The crust I’d look for in New York would be wide and thin. The slice ought to be foldable for optimal eating-while-walking, comme ca:

    http://www.pizzablogger.org/index.php/2009/07/15/reviews/baltimore-city/slicecapades-v1-0/

    Still, Pizza East appears to be close to my office, so I’ll be sure to drop by. Thanks for the writeup.

  12. I’m really hoping a place here does the bone marrow dish – or perhaps I should just make it myself as it sounds fantastic! 😀

  13. Great post – looking forward to checking it out. Love the sound of that choc and salted caramel tart. Wow. xx

  14. American in London – you are right of course, that was a hasty comment by me in the comments section, on re reading the Pizza East literature it is actually based on an LA pizza restaurant, Pizza Mozza which Mario Batali has a share in. So perhaps it is more like an LA style pizza?

    Lorraine – I have become a big fan of the bone marrow since living in London – I suppose you could always make your own as long as you have the long skinny little forks to get the marrow out it should be relatively simple.

    Top Bird – it was good, very very good

  15. The veal meatball pizza was one of my favourite things of 2009 🙂

  16. Nice review! I went to Pizza East last night and it seems the menu has changed from when you posted as the potato pizza is now potato chunks, pancetta and a lovely italian cheese whose name I’ve forgotten.

    Can’t wait to go back.

  17. […] to wear yoga pants, t-shirts and flip-flops for ten days. Glorying over the skate and samphire at Pizza East; thinking about the prospect of eating nothing beyond noon. Working on a presentation for […]

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