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Pizza East, Portobello, Meh

It was the week of baby G’s birthday and after a fairly badly behaved visit to The Electric Diner for breakfast we decided to chance dinner out Friday evening after work. We usually take him to the ever reliable Sophie’s Steakhouse but we fancied something different. I suggested trying Pizza East at the top of Portobello. It’s part of the Soho House stable so based on how good the Electric Diner is I thought it was worth a go. It’s on a corner site so benefits from natural light on both sides which gives it a light airy feel. There is a bar towards the back wall but the open pizza oven kitchen is built over the over side so commands the dining room. It’s open all day so works well as early dinner venue. It was fairly quiet when we got there so were seated straight away. The tables aren’t massive but it does have that homely rustic feel. No crayons or anything like that for baby G so luckily we had some bits with us. He was quite happy though.

Clientele was a mix of tourists looking for sustenance after doing Portobello, a few families like us and locals in for a Friday post work drink. Service started off well, with lots of friendly staff but then they all disappeared either on a break or for a briefing so the whole place was being served by two managers. This coincided with us ordering so there was a bit of a wait for drinks. I ordered a Negroni which is so hot right now, I really didn’t enjoy it, I can’t understand these bitter drinks. Anyway onto the food, we ordered a macaroni cheese for Baby G (adult portion as no childs menu available) and my lovely wife and I ordered pizza. She had a spinach concoction and mine was an Italian meats and cheese topping. The pizza’s came out artisanal style so big uneven crusts with all the toppings in the middle. We have them like this at home either from the excellent Pizza @ home or the very good Tesco finest stonebaked ones. Obviously you get left with a fair bit of crust but dip these in the flavoured olive oils you can get from M&S. They come with their Etna, Riveira or Seville jars of olives, Really tasty and just right to perk up the dough. Anyway at Pizza East there is only an uninspiring chilli oil on offer. So I sort of lost interest in my pizza half way through, too much dough, not enough topping. Baby G liked his macaroni cheese and they boxed up the leftovers for us. My lovely wife was hungry (no time for lunch) so finished her pizza.

The staff all re-appeared whilst we were eating so normal service resumed. I was bloated after the pizza so we skipped dessert. Overall I wasn’t that impressed with this place. It suffers from a common Soho House afflictions in that it all looks good but the food isn’t that great. This place gets a fair bit of hip hype so I was expecting something on a par with the Electric Diner but this was very much in posh Pizza Express territory. I appreciate it’s hard to do much new with pizza but I’ve ate better at little independent places like Il Pizzaolio than here. The bill wasn't that much but I still felt we could have eaten a much better pizza at home.

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Overall rating
Food 5 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7

Joe Allen, Covent Garden, bags of atmosphere but not the food to match

The Lord Wargrave, Marble Arch, great pub