When it first opened in 2009, you could have called me Pizza East‘s biggest fan. However, over the next year, I kept going back to increasingly disappointed food and service, which is why when they opened up a new branch in Notting Hill, I had mixed emotions. I was as equally elated that I would no longer have to travel to Shoreditch for Veal Meatball goodness as I was dubious that the decline in quality would follow westward.
Luckily I was proved wrong. But still, the meal wasn’t without mixed emotions.
The good: the food was top notch
The bad: they don’t take reservations (yet) and they have the most asinine system of ‘first-come, first-served’ I’ve ever seen. There is no list. If the waiting area/bar is full, the smiling ladies at the front tell you to come back in 20 minutes, and *maybe* then you might be allowed to wait in the bar/staging area for 45 minutes to an hour for a table where – I might add – you are not allowed to order any starters or nibbles. If there happens to be a two-top that comes up, and they happen to remember you’ve been waiting a while, you might get the table. Completely asinine . You can tell the hosts think so too. Through their smiles, I think they were dying inside to tell every single person ‘Sorry, we don’t do a list here.’
Anyway, the food… Mostly excellent. I enjoyed the Char-grilled squid, salsa verde (£6), although it was slightly overcooked
DQ had a big loaf of Garlic Bread (£3), in which its garlic-y goodness lingered pretty much the whole night.
I naturally went with my favourite Veal Meatball pizza (£11):
Fluffy, wonderful bubbly crust brushed with a lemon cream sauce, sprinkled with sage and topped with prosciutto and veal. I love this pizza and won’t get anything else at Pizza East.
Our other pizza was the Salami, Red Onion, Chilli (£11):
Also good, but no veal meatball. We asked for extra chillies, and I’m glad we did – the salami lacked a bit of punch.
Service was a bit spotty, but as alluded to, the place is ridiculously busy, and they’re still finding their feet (We waited almost two hours for a table and dinner took about an hour and a half). I’ve no doubt Pizza East Portobello will end up on my heavy rotation of West London restaurants, but only when they sort out the reservation system!