Pizza seems to be in vogue here in London. It makes sense really: pizza is affordable, delicious and a sensible night out during times of economic hardship. I know that even Toronto's undergoing a pizza renaissance – some friends took me to Pizza Libretto on Ossington last summer and the place was packed to the gills, as if Torontonians had only just tasted proper pizza for the first time (sure Terroni's does a nice pizza, but it's not their focus).
So here's a look at the pizza scene here in East London.
The Stringray Globe Cafe
Sitting at the top of Columbia Road is the Stringray Globe, which is well known amongst East Londoners for its delicious, inexpensive pizzas. It's tough to get served though! Tables are usually in short supply and we've been refused take-out a couple of times just because the kitchen is so busy. Usual selection of wine and beer. Their Bosciola and Capricciosa (hold the egg) pizzas are favourites of ours.
A bit of a hike for us, the Lauriston is actually a local pub just off Victoria Park that happens to have fantastic pizzas cooked in a proper Italian pizza oven. As its a pub, their selection of beer, ciders and wine is really quite decent as well. Throughout the week you'll find all kinds of Hackney hipsters lounging about, taking part in the Wednesday pub quiz, or even belting out tunes with Hot Breath Karaoke (don't worry, it's only held once a month). On the weekends, it's very family friendly with babies, toddlers and accompanying strollers everywhere. Apparently, they do a great breakfast and brunch as well.
The latest to the scene, Pizza East is definitely the current hip joint (the girl who checked our coats was wearing a sweater that may have formerly been an ostrich). Located over the main floor of the Tea Building in Shoreditch, it also has a nightclub, Concrete, in the basement, hence the dressed-to-impress crowd. Excellent pizza, a unique, fluffy soft crust and a wide range of delicious toppings. Do order the spicy sausage, mozarella, sprouting broccoli and garlic pizza – fantastic! Good selection of beer and wine as well; our Peroni and Moretti beers came ice-cold with chilled glasses. My only critique was the sparkling water (bottled in-house) was quite flat.
All three are quite different but equally delicious. The Globe probably gets most of our business, only because it's right around the corner from us. In addition to these ones, two more pizzerias have recently opened up – an Italian one in Broadway Market and a Sardinian place on Kingsland Road. More to sample soon enough...