*Update Jan 2023: Pizza East has closed down and is no longer in business
I remember walking past the Portobello Road branch of Pizza East during a pastry run at nearby Lisboa Patisserie and something about the pizzeria just captivated me. Perhaps it’s the charming Georgian pub exterior or simply the vibrant atmosphere around Portobello Market. Ever since then, I made a mental note in my head to pay a visit someday for a nice casual meal.
The occasion finally came over a catch-up meal with a friend. We both enjoy Italian cuisine a lot and the idea of fresh wood fire pizzas was a huge draw to both of us. So we decided on visiting Pizza East and went exactly to said Notting Hill branch.
Pizza East: Rustic Wood-Fire Pizza from East London
Part of the Soho House group, Pizza East started out in Shoreditch, where the word “east” in its name refers to east London. Following its success, it expanded with a second branch a few years down the line at the crossroad of Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill. Funny enough, they didn’t change the name to Pizza West then! Anyhow, the west-London branch is housed in a two-storey Gregorian building, featuring a bright but rustic setting, with plenty of natural light bathing through the windows. It has a very buzzing but laid-back vibe to it, making it an ideal neighbourhood meet-up spot.
Pizza East specialises in rustic, freshly handmade, wood-fire pizzas with a little touch of Californian influence. Apart from that, their menu also features a range of classic Italian antipasti, salads, al forno dishes, and plenty of side dishes to choose from. Please note that Pizza East does not serve halal meats. Vegetarian and seafood options are available.
The Food: What We Ordered
Date of visit: July 2017
Porcini Mushroom, Spinach, Cream, Mozzarella Pizza (£12)
I originally was going to opt for the Prawn, Chilli, Cream Pizza (£13). However, it was unavailable that evening so I ended up with this as my second pick. The pizza was a white cream base one and was topped with Porcini mushroom, spinach and mozzarella.
The crust was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Not as fluffy as a sourdough base does but still pretty fluffy to enjoy. As for the toppings, at first, I thought it was slightly bland. But after adding a little touch of chilli oil on top, the flavours really popped out then. Perhaps it could use a bit more black pepper and some herbs to elevate the flavours, but all in all, it’s definitely a satisfying and delicious pizza.
Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil Pizza (£10)
The other pizza we got was a classic tomato & basil plus Buffalo Mozzarella. As I always say – less is more, and you can’t really go wrong with this classic flavour combo. The tomato base offered a refreshing taste, especially under this summery London weather. The Buffalo Mozzarella was fresh and carried this soft and delicate flavour. With a little drizzle of chilli oil, again, it elevated every bit of flavour on the pizza.
Mac ‘n’ Cheese (£9)
Feeling for a filthy treat as if pizzas are not enough, we decided to share a portion of Mac & Cheese as well. Served in a skillet, it was still bubbling and sizzling when arriving at the table. I liked how the cheese blend got a very nice creamy texture but wasn’t overly rich or too heavy to taste. The good quality of cheese contributed to the amazing flavours of the dish. It was a good classic but I feel it could be even better with a little extra kick of umami to elevate the overall flavour. I’m definitely not complaining though as it left me with such a satisfying sensation in the belly.
Restaurant Review Summary
All in all, Pizza East has definitely accommodated us well and we had a really enjoyable meal. The food was great, though I would like to see a little extra tease of flavour to it. My favourite part is the rusticity of the food combined with the buzzing vibe of the place. It was everything I anticipated and imagined when the place first caught my attention. If you are around Portobello and are craving pizzas, definitely go check out Pizza East!
Pizza East does not serve halal meats. Vegetarian and seafood options are available.
Nearest station: Ladbroke Grove