When an old friend moved to London, it was decided that a few of us would get together to celebrate. Now in our early 30’s, the days of spontaneous catch-ups are behind us, these type of days need planning, careful planning. There are likely military missions that have needed less planning. Who is coming? What day? What time? What area? What budget? Should we do a bottomless brunch? So after all of this was planned out, we finally had somewhere to eat – Pizza East, Portobello Road.
Part of the Soho House & Co. collection of members bars and restaurants, Pizza East (which is open to those not lucky enough to be members) has three locations across London. The one we finally decided on, hoping to get a good Saturday day vibe was the one in Notting Hill, West London. No, it isn’t lost on me that I was headed to Pizza East, in West London.
Inside a renovated Georgian pub, set over two floors, with large windows, light blue chairs, a mix of wooden and white tiled interior. Even the grey British weather outside didn’t stop the venue from looking like a bright, Italian summer. Although in the pursuit of classic the chairs did have the strangest bum groove, which left you to figure out how to sit in it for the first ten minutes.
After we’d figured out how to sit down and let the Saturday lunchtime atmosphere wash over us, we started to settle in and catch up. There was a mix of 30-somethings and families, creating a great place to start the day. Enough noise to not feel like leaving, but not too much noise we couldn’t talk. We could then get down to the real details and ordering.
We, of course, all went for pizza, and through in some sides to balance out the table. After spending my youth working in a pizza shop and spending any travelling trip trying to find the best pizza, I know a bit about pizzas. So when the Salami piccante arrived, I knew what I was looking for and was not disappointed. A thin base that folded over just right when you tried to pick it up, toppings and a tomato sauce full of flavour, surrounded by a perfectly soft crust. The sides that balanced the table, balanced the table very well and although not intended as a side on the menu, the macaroni and cheese was some of the best. Only the wine not being served in a traditional wine glass could let the table down.
To end the lunch we shared some Salted chocolate caramel tart and Pistachio profiteroles, we had planned on sharing three but unfortunately, the Chocolate pot had run out. After a great meal, the desserts didn’t disappoint the tart was without a doubt the winner of the two. Then when you got some tart and some ice cream from the profiteroles on your spoon together. It was like a trip to heaven. All this was washed down with a good dose of limoncello, which after the bottle of wine and ciders, definitely hit the mark.
The day didn’t end at Pizza East, we headed off to find more drinks and start planning the next time we meet up. As the first of many catch-ups Pizza East proved the perfect meeting point to sit, eat pizza, drink wine and act as if we were in a good episode of The Sopranos.