One of the most frustrating thing about living in London is that when you discover a cool new place to eat, there are always a hundred other people who’ve had exactly the same idea at any given time. So inevitably when you get there it’s already mobbed, and you have to give up and go to Nandos instead. So when it comes to Pizza Union, I am conflicted. Having visited their new pizza bar in Kings Cross, their second restaurant after a successful debut in Shoreditch, I’m obliged to tell you about the delicious pizza, so affordable that for a moment at least you’ll forget that you’re in London. But my selfish gut instinct tells me no! Keep this place a secret so you can always get a table!
The devil on my shoulder lost out this time. Pizza Union touts itself as an all-day eaterie, their speciality is fast, fresh pizza at an affordable price. The decor is modern but welcoming – comfy like a coffee shop but still enough like a restaurant to make it a suitable place for a date. The set-up in this all-day pizza joint is unusual – you place your order at the counter and then they give you a Frankie-and-Benny’s style buzzer to take to your table. When it goes off you go back to the counter to collect your pizza. We had barely eaten three olives between us before the buzzer went off. I went for their veggie Giardino pizza, which was packed to the gills with mushrooms, peppers and that most holy of pizza toppings, the artichoke. For under £6 I couldn’t believe I was getting such a fresh, crispy, generously-garnished pizza. My guest went for the spicy Calabria, with N’duja sausage and mascarpone.
I couldn’t write this review with mentioning the dolce. The staff were really keen for us to try some of their signature desserts – in fact they mentioned it every time we spoke to them. It’s basically a filled ring doughnut, made with a sweetened version of the pizza dough, garnished with a choice of three different fillings. We shared the Nutella and mascarpone one and another containing an utterly filthy combination of salted caramel, peanut, chocolate and mascarpone. They were both incredibly decadent and sweet. A whole one is probably too much after a pizza, but I think you’ll manage to finish it anyway.
They seem to have perfected a fast turnaround while serving up genuinely nice pizza, so it’s a nice alternative for lunch – Pret is barely any cheaper. All the pizzas are thin and crunchy and less than £6.00, with a gluten-free base available for a small extra cost.
The only negative I can think of is that at busy times I can imagine queuing to order would be a drag and it could be a bit bustle-y when you’re in the mood for a chilled out dinner (as well as smaller tables there are long, communal ones like in Wagamama, so there’s always the chance you’ll end up shouting across the table to be heard). But ultimately it’s really good value, and the fast service makes it a great choice for lunch. You won’t tell anyone about it, right?
246-250 Pentonville Rd,