The popularity of Pizza East, one of the first bastions of Shoreditch gentrification, hasn’t waned. This Soho House operation still packs out the landmark Tea Building, with hipsters and City boys arriving to eat well past 9pm during the week.
The huge warehouse space features sharing benches, industrial decor and more bare brick and concrete than your average multistorey car park. It’s busy, noisy and dark: a formula some people justifiably love to hate. The regularly changing menu, however, remains inventive and original. Pea and pecorino croquettes were commendably light and fresh, while calamares with caper aïoli proved a cut above the norm.
Pizzas cost from a reasonable £8 to £14, with toppings frequently rejigged. Courgette, olives, robiola cheese and thyme was excellent, but a promising combination of pork belly and mushroom fell short of expectations; greasy chunks of crackling proved the wrong match for the floury crust and tomato base. The only other gripe is that staff insist on serving rather nice wine in chunky tumblers. Still, booze is for glugging not savouring here. Service veers from affable to slightly snooty, but you can’t fault nice touches like American-style takeaway boxes for your leftovers.