Sacro Cuore

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
1 Love It
Kensal Rise

Many ingredients go into a great pizzeria: slick and friendly service, a fun and lively atmosphere, and of course terrific pizza made with great dough and high-quality toppings, seared in a scorching-hot oven. Following an exhaustive quest in 2010, we named Ealing’s Santa Maria as home of the best pizza in London, and had hopes that this newcomer might rival its celebrated sibling. But although Sacro Cuore makes good pizza, it also made our heart sink.

Poor customer service has been a running criticism of Santa Maria, if the user feedback on our website is anything to go by. Yet the opening of a new branch seems to have taught its owners little in this respect. Our waiter seemed off in a dream world, taking our order three times yet still getting it wrong; it was as if he’d never eaten in a restaurant, let alone worked in one. Other staff weren’t much better: we watched as the pizzaioli fumbled and poked our pizzas into shape, handling the wooden peels as if for the first time.

Despite this, our pizzas were very good. The low-salt dough, made from Caputo flour and slow-fermented for 24 hours, puffed up quickly in the 400°C oven, forming a crisp yet pliant cornicione that seals the moisture within; the result is a chewy, pliable pizza base. The intense heat also chars the base in a pleasing way.

The toppings should also benefit from the high temperature, sealing in the flavours of the hand-crushed San Marzano tomato sauce – though in this case too much had been applied, making the base soggy. Yet the ingredients were good quality: just the right amount of scattered fior di latte (cow) mozzarella, plump and sharp capers, and aromatic herbs on our Napoli.

The creativity of the kitchen is kept within limits – there’s no hoisin duck or lemongrass here. Instead, the crumbled salsiccia (pork sausage) and friarielli (the tops of Neapolitan broccoli) on our second pizza smacked properly of Italy.

There are several wines to choose from – all described, unhelpfully, as merely ‘house’ by our waiter – and simple frozen desserts, but after waiting and waiting for service we decided to abandon this sacred heart rather than prise open the freezer door ourselves.

Venue name: Sacro Cuore
Contact:
Address: 45 Chamberlayne Road
London
NW10 3NB
Opening hours: Dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Thur. Meals served noon-10.30pm Fri-Sun
Transport: Tube: Kensal Rise tube or Kensal Green rail
Price: Main courses £6-£12

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:5
LiveReviews|16
1 person listening
Margaret W
Staff Writer

We are here last month for the first time. It’s a very attractive venue that always seems to have a good crowd. The pizza was good (not the best I’ve ever had, but definitely good) and the service was alright as well, by London standards. Probably the best thing about this place was the price… four of us got out of there with a few pizzas and carafes of vino for only about £15 per head. I thought that was pretty reasonable for London standards. The only thing that was kind of annoying is that there were a lot of large family groups there and the kids were running around a bit crazily, but I think it’s because we went to dinner a bit earlier than we normally do.

Bex

Absolutely appalling - the worst customer service I have ever experienced in my life. I am new to the area and so have been enjoying getting to know the local food venues around. My friend and I went out to eat last night and decided to go to two different places for dinner and then dessert. We had a lovely main and then decided to go into Sacro Cuore for dessert (as the menu in the window advertised 'the best ice cream in London'). It was half empty when we got there, but seemed like a nice relaxed place. We were seated immediately and asked what we would like to drink so we both ordered a beer (to clarify up to this point we had not drunk any alcohol, so their oncoming rudeness could not have been caused by us appearing inebriated). They brought us the beers and then asked what we would like to order and we said we'd like some ice cream. The waiter said nothing and immediately fetched a woman who then loudly and angrily said to us that we were not allowed to only order dessert and that we had to order pizza. We explained that we had eaten already and that we only wanted dessert, and she became louder and more angry (we were very much being 'told off' in front of the other customers) and practically shouted that it was company policy that customers had to order a pizza with anything else. We calmly tried to explain that we were definitely not going to order a pizza, but that as a one off we would just finish our drinks and then leave - as we had not been aware of the 'must order a pizza policy' (I have never come across a restaurant before that will not allow you to just order dessert). Both my friend and I would have liked to have been more assertive with this woman, but felt that if we had stood up for ourselves further she would not have backed down, but instead it would have escalated to a loud and angry argument - which neither of us wanted as we had been enjoying our evening. When she left, we both commented on the poor customer service and her rudeness but carried on with our conversation. However, five minutes later the waitress returned and began to tell us off again and asked us to drink our beers as quickly as possible so that we could get out of the restaurant (those were her words). Had the restaurant been full we could almost have understood why this would be necessary, but there were plenty of empty tables around us. She then stood behind my chair giving my friend angry glances whilst we continued our conversation and the second that my friend finished his beer she grabbed the bottle from his hands. I kept hold of mine for a while, but similarly she waited behind me and grabbed it as soon as I let go. To top it all off, when we got up to leave she loudly said 'Finally!' in full hearing of the rest of the restaurant. Her intention seemed to be to humiliate us in front of the other customers. It is a huge shame as I have heard their food is lovely, but under no circumstances will I ever be going back to Sacro Cuore because this waitress is rude and a bully.It was an entirely negative experience and spoilt our evening.

Vincenzo

It's a shame I have to give a 3 star to this place (same thing that happened to me with its counterpart Santa Maria in Ealing, where my experience was worse if possible). So, let's review the good stuff first. The pizza. It's very good. Dough, taste, the way it's cooked, I mean, really, you can't complain - To get better you only have to go to Napoli (where I am from, by the way) and get fresher ingredients (for obvious reasons: it's local ingredients). Considering we're in London, I could give this pizza a 4/4.5 out of 5. And that's the only reason why this place is getting a 3 star, otherwise it'd have got much less. Also good was the waitress; at Santa Maria (instead) I was treated like I was doing them a favour by eating there. Now, let's go on the bad stuff. This bad stuff are things that will probably not affect an English speaker eating there. It will probably affect an Italian speaker to a certain level. But it really gets into you if you are a Neapolitan like I am. Half of the music played in background by this place represent the worst part of the Neapolitan culture; which I can't deny, but I also don't like and by far prefer they myriad of positive aspects of the Neapolitan culture instead. While I was eating my delicious pizza with my wife, I had to cope with "Cornutone" by Squallor, a song in Neapolitan language full of swearwords and sexual vulgarity. To follow, songs belonging to the so-called "neo-melodic" genre, which are inspired (and funded) by criminality and often speak of such (more or less explicitly, depending on the song). Much better would it have been if they'd have stuck with classics like "Torero" (by the worldwide known artist Renato Carosone), which was also part of the playlist yesterday night. I don't want to get into the personal taste or life of the people that own/run the place, by I really don't think that's the kind of stuff you should be playing in a restaurant.

Jason

Sacro Cuore seems to be the hot venue in the hotspot that is Kensal Rise. Packed out when we visited, the atmosphere was great and the staff friendly and attentive (and busy). The pizzas were exceptional - the best we had tried in London - and the total bill under £15 a head. A little gem

John Carter

Pizzas were OK, over salty, rather soggy, and the toppings, particularly the ham, suggested that they were a cheap alternative. Accompanying salads were basic and unexciting. Despite the obvious cost of installing an expensive wood fired oven, it would seem that the craft knowledge of creating and cooking an authentic pizza was missing. The finished product was comparable with any of the much derided High Street pizza joints. It seems that quite a lot of thought has gone into creating a much needed individual local restaurant. A real shame, as this currently looks like an opportunity missed. God is really in the detail, and sadly the devil too.

Mark Coombes

This is the BEST pizzeria in London! We went for the first time last night after many recommendations and we were not at all disappointed. The decor is cool and the restaurant had a great buzz. The pizzas were by far the best I had ever eaten in London. I have been to Italy many times but not found pizza this good anywhere. The prices are cheap and the service quick, and that's how a pizzeria should be.

Monica

Would absolutely NOT go back which is a real shame because we live around the corner. Very unfriendly and unwelcoming service. The 6 jars of nutella in the case were weird. The bottles of wine on top the case with big white labels and the price were also weird. They have a wine list...why not just leave it at that. They only sell the house wine by the glass. Why? They were not at all flexible with the pizza so I ended up paying £2.50 for two slices of parma. The thing is I could have overlooked all of that isfthe pizza was really good but it was not at all. Would not recommend.

Ben

I don't normally ever write a review, but I was so disappointed with this place I felted I needed to vent. I won't even make this about the service which was pretty shocking. Firstly if you are going to open a place that specialises in cooking on dish (pizza) at least have the decency to learn how to cook it. We started with a garlic bread - again pretty simple stuff - this came out half burnt to a crisp - when we complained we were told this is how it should be?? Anyway on tho the pizza which was pretty much uncooked in the middle and swimming in sloppy ingredients - Again I complained and was told this is how they are made in Italy and Naples, which actually made me laugh out loud. The whole point of a pizza is a crisp base which holds the ingredients so you can eat it. Strange thing a lot of people did seem pretty happy in there so perhaps I am completely wrong and mushy / sloppy pizza is what people want. Anyway another local restaurant to avoid. If you are wanting a pizza Primi is pretty good as Salisbury in Queens Park

Bob Flapp

The pizza was uncooked, we were upsold a bad bottle of wine and we where rushed off out table. A bit of a disappointment.

Miranda

Not impressed at all. Cheap ingredients (eg "coton prosciutto ham on pizza was inedible) and not great service. The Sacre Cuore special starter (ham covered buffalo mozarella) was pretty inedible too. Won't be going back.

Bob

Food is good, I will definitely give it another go. But its true about the service, they just don't seem to be very switched on. Our order was wrong, even though it had been a recommendation from the waitress. I had finished my beer and despite the fact there was a member of staff for every table, nobody offered me another!

Sarah

Whatever the teething issues of the opening may have been, by now they seem to be running a slick operation. Every table was rammed, the atmosphere great and the food and house red excellent. The pizza bases are a bit more doughy than most, so there was a lot of edge left on both our plates, but the ingredients were fresh and tasty and a half litre carafe of house red went down fine. Definitely one to revisit.

joe

Extremely bad experince. Really rude waitress and poor service. At least the food was good ;-)

beast

Review is very unfair - pizzas are excellent, salads fresh, wine well chosen and not only ice cream but fresh hand made deserts. Go and visit and have a high quality good value meal - even take the orange line for those stuck on anglo pizza east. The reviewer should be ashamed of comments and get stuck into high quality good value food with friendly but not fawning service or just get in the freezer and be quiet!