Fratelli La Bufala, Piccadilly Circus, decent

It has been quite a while since Big Matt and I had been gigging but we decided to take a chance of The Temper Trap at KOKO. Not my favourite venue in London but relatively cheap, intimate and it afforded us the opportunity for a couple of beers and a bite to eat. From my point of view it was fortuitous timing as I could regale/bore big Matt with my trip to Munich to see the mighty Blues triumph. We met up at the ever excellent Toucan off Soho Square. After a fairly average pint of cider we fancied something to eat before going to the gig. If there is one fact I have learnt in the amateur restaurant reviewing game it is never eat in Camden, it’s a drinking area only. So bearing in mind that life lesson we thought we would try something in Soho. I considered “Pierre La Victoire” around the corner but Big Matt had been enticed by an Italian place handing out free pizza on his walk up from Piccadilly circus. So off we set to “Fratelli La Bufala” on Shaftesbury Avenue. It has to be said that it’s not a road that inspires culinary confidence, rough round the edges Chinese restaurants that didn’t make the Gerrard st auditions, a couple of chain places and fast food places after the tourist money are it’s staple. Fratelli La Bufala is right down by the Trocadero and we were greeted by a couple of waiters enticing punters with stone baked pizzas.

On entering we were offered a choice of tables and settled in for a brief bite to eat. The room itself is bright and airy. In one corner you have a huge pizza oven with chefs working on the bases. Over by the other window is a big fresh/raw bar with lots of nice looking salads meats and cheeses. This is definitely a step up from the norm. We order a couple of beers and a pizza each, the pizza comes before the Peroni! However the pizza is lovely, you can really taste the freshness of the ingredients. After a really average effort at “Pizza Metro” the other day it was nice to taste proper pizza. Big Matt went old school margarita which he thought was spot on. Mine had mushroom and ham along with some really creamy mozzarella. Top effort. Service was friendly but a bit confused. It took a while to pay which is a pet hate of mine. The bill was about £15 a head which was perfect, with these places what you lose on the booze you make up for on the food. They do a lot more than pizza and if the other produce is of such a high standard then this is a real find.

This is a really big restaurant, they have a floor upstairs as well so they need a lot of punters to stay in business. It was busy the night we went but not sure how they can cover what must be a huge rent flogging £10 pizza’s. It is heartening though to see a place as good as this in a traditionally poor area for eating out. We felt we had great value for money and a tasty meal. It set us up nicely for the gig which was pretty good though KOKO decided to shut the bar 10 sharp before the gig had even finished! I will definetly go here again.

Thursday, May 24, 2012
Overall rating
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9

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