I feel like I need to preface this post with the statement that I am not a New Yorker. I do love NYC, and I’ve been many times, but I did not grow up with New York-style pizza. However, I did grow up with a lot of pizza. And I’ve lived in several places. Living in New Mexico, I fell in love with Dion’s pizza. The green chile and chicken pizza there was to die for. (If you haven’t had New Mexico green chile: I’m sorry. Immediately travel to New Mexico and eat as much of it as possible. Reading the rest of this post can wait.) Living in Santa Cruz, Pizza My Heart was our go to pizza place, and we generally got the Watsonville Apple (with blue cheese, sausage and apples). As you can see I like unusual toppings. I like spicy food. I just really like pizza. And I had heard amazing things about Voodoo Ray’s, so I wanted to give it a try.
Since we were heading to a birthday party nearby, I figured it would be the perfect time to go. We can line our stomachs with the appropriate amount of cheesy/bready goodness and prepare ourselves for a night of ridiculous drinking. Huzzah! So we arrived and started looking at the menu. The guy who works there realizes I’m American and asks where I’m from. I’m respond, “Well I live in London, I’ve been here for five years.” He wants to know where I’m from originally. So I tell him Alaska. For some reason he had it in his head that every American living in London is from New York. Go away hipstery dude, let me look at the menu!
Some of the options looked amazing. I love spice, so I really wanted to go for the Hot Mix 5. The Shrooms! pizza sounded great as well. My partner wanted to go for the Porky’s as the blue cheese and pork sounded right up his street. They also had two festive specials that sounded amazing. But what to try? The menu looked huge. After a few minutes, the woman looks at us and says, “We don’t have everything on the menu.” Why exactly do you have a menu? So I ask her what they do have. Then she has to tell us what each of the pizzas are. Again, why do you have a menu? Or at least why don’t you have SIGNS in front of the pizzas? This place is way to hipstery for words. Turns out that they don’t actually make any of their interesting pizzas. That’s right. No Shrooms!, no Porky’s, no specials. We settled for a slice of the Hot Mix 5 (at least they had that), and the Reubenesque (you know like a Reuben, but on a pizza).
We then decide to get a drink too. And what goes better with pizza than beer? Great. I look at the options. Pabst Blue Ribbon? Oh god, I’ve been warped back in time 10 years. Are hipsters still drinking that crap? We wouldn’t even drink it when I was in High School (sorry Mom if you’re reading this), why would I want it now? I wouldn’t drink it when I was doing my PhD when all the hipsters started drinking it. I’m not going to drink it now. What else do they have? Oh another lager. And a pale ale. And another pale ale. One more pale ale. Another lager. A fourth lager. Oh and a fourth pale ale. Eight beers and they’re all pale ale or lager. Clearly we’ve hit hipster heaven here. I say, “Eight beers and you choose the two worst types to have?” I think my husband may have been mortified, except I think he’s used to being married to an American by now.
They also do mixed drinks. You order the booze and the mixer. Great what mixers? Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta and Club Soda. Why bother? I made my own drink with Tequila and Blood Orange San Pellegrino. (Take that hipsters, I can hipsterfy my own drink thank you very much!) We also ordered the three dips they had on offer: Chili, Barbeque sauce and Garlic mayo. Ordering drinks took ages, and so did the guy working the cash register so by the time we were finished, our slices were ready.
Now one issue with reheated slices is that it takes a lot of work to make them look like they aren’t reheated slices. I can tell you that Voodoo Ray’s does not make this effort. Our lukewarm slices looked exactly as they tasted. The Reubenesque was flavorless. With so many tasty things that go on a Reuben sandwich, I’m not sure how it’s even possible. I’m glad we ordered the dips, because those (well two of them at least) had some decent flavor. The Chile dip tasted like salsa out of a jar that you would get at the worst Mexican restaurant in London. The Garlic mayo was really lovely though, and the Barbeque sauce had a nice spice to it that was ridiculously better than the Chile dip. But not only do they make the toppings somehow flavorless, they manage to make the crust completely bland as well. They could go for a sourdough crust like some London venues do. They could go for a bit of a salty crust like others. Instead it’s just really bland. Honestly though, the effort made in the crust seems to match the effort made in the pizza selection, the decorations and the alcohol selection, i.e. zero effort. The Hot Mix 5 at least had some nice chili flavor to it. But my partner’s slice had a gaping hole in the crust. There were toppings across the top of the hole, but nothing underneath. Pizza Fail.
I was seriously sad that we came here. We passed so many other places that I know would have been better, and instead we ended up eating this. This just reiterates my ideas that places become popular in London without actually being that good. I can think of at least three better places within 30 feet of the Boxpark that are better than this.
To quote fellow Boozy Buncher Linzi: “It’s just good at 2 am when you are starving and want to eat something that tastes like your shoe.”
Unit 1-3 Boxpark
2 Bethnal Green Road E1 6GY