Among the bounty of food on offer in East London, the standard of pizza around a few squares miles within East London is preposterously high. And it’s fiercely competitive. We’ve reduced it down to just five, but there are plenty of others. Apologies to those that didn’t make the cut.
Non-residents of Clapton are paying a visit to the food spots in this little neighbourhood. Places such as Maeve’s Kitchen, Shane’s of Chatsworth, Dreyfus, Dom’s Place and Nama Cafe are drawing a crowd. However, it’s Sodo, and its sourdough pizzas that are probably Clapton’s best attraction. There are locally brewed beers and an outstanding homemade ginger beer to wash down the sourdough pizzas. The veggie Lorena is terrific – tomato, mozzarella, butternut squash, rosemary, feta and pine nuts.
As its name suggests, the pig takes centre stage with Lardo pizzas. It’s a festival of the finely cured, fatty, salty, good porky stuff. Ticking all the right boxes, it has had the instagramming-foodies queuing up: high quality ingredients, attention to detail, slimmed down menu, a well considered under designed space and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s located on Wilton Way in Hackney, a delightful neighbourhood street with great coffee, food and a nice mix of shops.
These are pizzas that draw inspiration from the New York tradition of the satisfying late night slice. The tiles, neon fronts, music and open to the elements frontage work together to give that 2am feel. All the pizzas have inviting names, the best perhaps is the Cabbage Batch Kid – savoy cabbage, bacon, tomato sauce and mozzarella.
Voodoo Ray’s is the brainchild (and neighbour) of those behind Dalston Superstore, a Kingsland Road spot that’s established itself as a veteran of the area’s essential-places-to-visit list.
Big trays of pizza emerge from the Malletti ovens, carried by flour-flecked pizza chefs who slide them onto marble table tops, ready to be carved up in front of customers.
At the original site on Noel Street in Soho, queues have long snaked round the corner. Now, the distinctive yellow and black Malletti logo can be spotted among the narrow streets between Liverpool Street Station and Spitalfields Market, as well as on the edges of Clerkenwell by Grays Inn Road. City workers stand alongside students gawping at the sturdy-based pizzas on the counters before making their difficult decision of what to order. Our favourites are the potato, leek and rosemary, and the the spicy sausage.
Pizzas don’t get any lighter than the crackly ones at Story. They are ridiculously thin, cook fast, come laden with fresh leaves, and snap rather than fold. It’s disconcerting for many to see a pizza in this format and will undoubtedly have Neapolitan purists waving the arms in disgust, but it’s worth trying, if only for the novelty alone. But it also means you don’t leave in a pizza coma and can try more than one.
Part of the attraction is Story’s white washed, ‘temporary’ aesthetic. While the drinks and desserts menu is limited, you sit at long canteen style tables on home made boxes and eat off chopping boards. Located on the corner of Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Road.