Pizza Union, Spitalfields
Fast, furious and fire-baked, this Pizza Bar appreciates the Londoner’s need for speed. Joining the many other eateries offered in and around Spitalfields market, the contemporary industrial decor reflects no-nonsense dining with quality ingredients and superveloce service. At the forefront is a giant dome shaped traditional stone pizza oven, serving up thin and crispy pizzas baked to perfection in a matter of minutes. The space is a communal one, with long banquet style wooden tables at the centre, red neon lighting and edgy ventilation shafts lining the ceiling.
This joint is best visited at lunchtime, when the trendy Italian bar is filled with boisterous suits indulging on artisan pizza before closing the afternoon deals. It’s a casual and relaxed date, with the hip and happening atmosphere of East London thrown in.
All the classics are on offer (such as the Fiorentina and Reine) alongside a flexible selection of extra toppings. Order at the bar and grab a glass of mixed, plump olives to tie you over the three minutes it’ll take for your pizza to be prepared, blasted in the fire-oven and waiting for you at the pickup point. The drinks list is pleasing and modestly priced, with a range of Italian beers (from £2.80), Prosecco (£15) and wines (£11.50 per bottle).
If craving something sweet, the Dolce dessert (a dough ring filled with mascarpone and nutella – naughty, but oh so nice) will hit the spot.
This super-fast pizza fits a speed date scenario perfectly. For the business men and women of Bishopsgate, who struggle to fit romance into the work schedule, Pizza Union offers a window of dating opportunity. You’ve bumped into each other umpteenth times now on the coffee run en route to the office. The queue chat has progressed from conversational, to fun and finally a little bit flirty. Be brave and go for it: “Hey, fancy grabbing a bit of lunch later?”. Exchange numbers, meet at the restaurant and take time to smell the proverbial flowers – or in this case, the pepperoni. Order a bottle of extra dry Italian Prosecco and enjoy the thrill of letting your hair down with some lunchtime drinking. Share a cheeky peck before heading back to the office, with the promise to do it all again soon.
Alternatively, Pizza Union would make the ideal pit stop in the midst of a drunken date night around Shoreditch and Brick Lane. Overrun with boozy offerings, such as The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town and edgy Apples and Pears, pizza and bubbles is excellent sustenance for a wild night on the town.
With dating this underplayed, you could easily fall into the doomed category of “friend” – so make sure you play your pizza right.
2. There’s booze, there’s carbs – it’s a sturdy start.