Pizza East is the epitome of the new, polished vibe that’s been steadily taking over East London for some years now. Located on the ground floor of the oh-so-cool Tea Buildings, and right next door to fashion’s favourite Shoreditch House (not to mention set up by canny owner of said members' club, Nick Jones), it has the grungy feel that Shoreditch used to boast – all warehouse spaces, bare floorboards and exposed metal pipes and rafters – combined with all the polish of a west London eatery. Whether you approve of the combination depends on how you feel about the area’s makeover, and it’s easy to be cynical about its too-cool-for-school credentials. But there’s one thing you won’t be able to deny: the food’s damn good.
The clientele is an eclectic mix of post-work City types, East End cool kids, tourists and Shoreditch House members, and the atmosphere is relaxed and laid-back, but with all the buzz you could hope for. And thanks to its late opening hours – on Friday and Saturday you won’t be kicked out until 2am – you can get yourself into the party spirit before heading downstairs to bar-cum-club, Concrete.
As the name suggests, it's all about the pizzas, but there are no flimsy margheritas on offer here. Instead the toppings are of the gourmet variety, the pizzas piled high with fresh, seriously tasty ingredients. The menu is pretty meat-heavy but the kitchen is flexible and are happy to tweak the options to suit your eating requirements. The waiting team are friendly, helpful, and expertly know their way around the menu. On ELLEuk's visit, they were happy to patiently explain to us some of the mysterious ingredients listed on the topping line-up, all of which turned out to be carefully sourced varieties of cured meat and cheese, and to help us make the almost impossible choice of what to eat.
We started with a selection from the choice of cold, baked and fried antipasti – Sardine escabeche and peppers; asparagus, speck and pecorino bruschetta; and fried artichoke, courgette flowers and aioli. This was followed up with perfectly thin and light pizzas (well it would have been rude not to), opting for the finocchiona, tomato, pine nuts, rocket and parmesan option and the more veggie-friendly courgette, tomato, chilli and taleggio, both of which we could have happily eaten twice. If (shock horror) you find yourself fancying something different, though, there’s a line-up of grilled meats to choose from instead. To finish up, we found space to fit in some Spanish-style hot cinammon sugar doughnuts with Amedei chocolate – we practically rolled out the door.
The ELLEuk Score
Style of food: Modern Italian
Good for: Quick bite after work; special occasion; first date; group dinner; work lunch/dinner
Prices & Other Details at Pizza East Shoreditch
Address: 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ
Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 12pm -12am; Thurs: 12pm-1am; Fri: 12pm-2am; Sat: 10am-2am, Sun: 10am-12am
Average price per person for a two-course meal without wine: Around £40
Price of bottle of house wine: Pieno Sud Rosso or Blanco, both £19.50
Price of glass of house wine: Sangiovese, Italy 2009 (red) or Trebbiano, Italy 2009 (white), both £4.50
Price of a glass of house champagne: Rotari Rosado, Mezzacorona, Brut NV, £7
Price of a bottle of house champagne: Rotari Rosado, Mezzacorona, Brut N, £38
Private dining? There’s a semi-private dining room just off the main restaurant – so you’re not hidden away from the buzz of the place – that has bench seating for up to 16 people
Outdoor dining? No
Bar? There’s a small bar in Pizza East and bar/club Concrete downstairs
Best table: Bag yourself a seat on the long upholstered leather seat for the best people-watching opportunities.
Who goes? An eclectic mix of post-work city types, East End cool kids and tourists, and Shoreditch House members. Chances are you’ll spot a selection of fashion’s familiar faces – Alexa Chung and Henry Holland are regulars.
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street or Old Street
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