The arrival of this popular pizza mini-chain – or its kind – has been a long time coming in Leytonstone. The bedding-in of a few new pubs in the last couple of years has signalled the area’s (admittedly slow) metamorphosis into an up-and-coming part of east London. You could say E11 is like the food-business equivalent of a school disco: everybody has been waiting for someone else to make the first move. And it fell to Yard Sale, whose fourth location has just landed on Leytonstone High Road, five minutes’ walk from the station.
It’s small. It has table service. And a chilled vibe. (They also deliver to all E11 and some E10 postcodes.) Their range of 12- and 18-inch pizzas, with requisite daft names like Cheesus Walks, are written across a blackboard covering one wall. The vegetarian I was with was pleased to find three meatless options to choose from, alongside vegan and gluten-free options, too. Our Falco (fragrant, fennely sausage) and Ooh Mama (guindilla chillies, Peppadew peppers) were fantastic – charred but not too charred, topped with restraint rather than stinginess.
Yard Sale were never going to struggle here, not when their main competition is the oil-drenched pies the local kebab shops have been churning out for years. But they’ve exceeded expectations by becoming the nicest, coolest dining spot in the area by miles. Service was lovely: our waitress popped our leftovers into takeaway boxes without prompting. Seriously, even the view of Iceland through the window took on its own pallid charm. And now Yard Sale has appeared, more fun, laidback places will invariably follow. So it begins.