What used to be an old rundown pub, The Fat Badger (how good is that name?!), on Portobello Road in Notting Hill is now Pizza East – the second branch of the hugely popular, modern Italian pizzeria.
Ornate pressed metal ceilings, big industrial light fittings, a metal studded bar, old tiled walls & grubby floorboards (that old-but-new but still old look…), English china sits high on wooden book shelves and cured meats and garlic hang behind the bars. This place has so much character for what really is a glorified pizza joint.
It’s a Sunday night and the place is packed. We’re a large group and end up waiting nearly 2hrs for a table. Thankfully the great company; Aussie friends that moved across – some as long as 5yrs ago – with no plans yet to come home, and the rhubarb Bellini (served in tumblers) keep my mind off just how hungry I am… but there’s an enormous pan of roasted pork belly and crackling sitting on the pizza station bar, that keeps reminding me…
The pizza menu is a little bit unimaginative but we’re too hungry to care. We share the; Buffalo mozzarella, tomato & basil; Salami, tomato & mozzarella; Veal meatballs, prosciutto, cream & sage; Crispy pork belly, tomato & mushrooms; Proscuitto cotto, artichoke & basil, and salads; Butter lettuce, avocado & vinaigrette; Rocket, fennel, almonds & parmigiano reggiano; Broad beans, fennel, artichoke & peccorino.
We drink a Montepulciano d’abruzzo, Italy 09 – again served in tumblers – it matches the rustic Italian home-style feel, complimented by dark green checkered napkins (of the cloth kind, not paper… I hate paper napkins).
The pizzas are thin, crispy and delicious – even if a little boring in toppings – and the veal meatballs is my pic as favorite. The salads are hit and miss and after such a long wait to eat, we’re too tired for dessert… (you won’t hear me say that very often).
Score: 7 Plates (out of 10)
Pizza East – 310 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London – 020 7729 1888