Restaurant Review: Pizza Union

An easy-going eatery offering perfect pizza, pronto

This new sister to the popular Spitalfields pizza bar has opened just a few minutes from Guardian Towers, so we had to give it a try. They promise fire-baked artisan pizzas super-fast, so expectations were high, but would they disappoint?

Short answer, no. I knew it was our kind of place when we walked in to the sound of Two Princes by the Spin Doctors – and the cheesy nineties soundtrack didn’t stop there, with Zoe’s Sunshine on a Rainy Day and Amy Grant’s Baby Baby being other highlights throughout the night. The decor is urban industrial, all exposed bricks and gleaming pipework, and seating is communal, with long tables and bar stools. We picked our spot and settled down to investigate the menu over some olives and chilli corn (crunchy and tasty, but thankfully not too spicy, roasted sweetcorn).

The menu is a case of keeping things simple and doing them well: just 12-inch Roman-style pizzas with a wide range of toppings, from classics like the Reine, with ham and mushroom, to the spicy Vesuvio, with pepperoni and green and cracked chillies. Everything is at very affordable prices: £3.95 for a basic Margherita, up to a not-exactly-whopping £6.50 for the meat-lover’s favourite, the Carne. There’s also the option to add extra toppings so you can create your own pizza perfection.

The wine list is an uncomplicated affair, too: the choice is basically white, red or bubbly. We opted for the white, a perfectly palatably Pinot Grigio – and at £11.50 a bottle, a total bargain. There was also a Merlot (£11.50) and a Prosecco (£15) if you’re splashing out. There are a couple of beers to choose from too, plus a selection of soft drinks in the fridge, so everyone should be covered.

With our decisions made, we headed to the till. Food is paid for up front, canteen-style, which could be great for avoiding any end-of-the-night awkwardness over the bill. Orders in, we headed back to the table with our buzzers in hand, waiting for Pete and the team to work their magic in the giant igloo-shaped pizza oven behind the counter. Less than five minutes later (they do promise that it’ll be super-fast) we were heading back to the counter to claim our dinner. We’d opted for a Formaggi (mozzarella, mascarpone, gorgonzola and parmesan) and a Tropicali (ham and pineapple), plus an Antica salad of rocket, tomato and parmesan. Thin, crispy and loaded with toppings, the pizzas were delicious, and the simple salad was dressed in just the right amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Delicious though the pizzas were, we did manage to leave enough space for a spot of dessert. You can choose from a range of gelatos from the freezer, or dolce, a filled warm dough ring. On the recommendation of staff member Marta we opted for the latter, choosing her favourite, the Classico (Nutella and mascarpone), and a Caramello (salted caramel, peanuts, chocolate and mascarpone). Warm but oozing with creamy, chilled filling just on the right side of too sweet, this could be my new favourite dessert… dangerous stuff.

The laid-back vibe, friendly staff and bustling canteen style make this a great choice if you’re looking for a low-key date location – it gets very busy after 7pm, possibly giving you plenty to chat about, though it could make whispering sweet nothings a little difficult. I think you’ve probably guessed that we loved this place; in fact, we’ve already been back twice, taking various other members of the Soulmates team with us. So if you do choose this as your next date spot, watch out: we could end up sharing a table.

www.pizzaunion.com

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