If hipsters made pizzas… oh wait, that’s exactly what this place is! Here’s what you can expect:
1) Lots of concrete
The building is a former tea warehouse and remains faithful to its industrial past – that means ceiling vents, exposed brick and concrete pillars, made cosy with low hanging lamps. It’s also pretty cavernous inside which can make it challenging to find your friends.
2) It’s a little bit too dark
Expect to fight over the candle at the centre of the table to be able to read the menu. It makes the aforementioned finding your friends even harder too. Ok it’s also a pre-emptive excuse so that you don’t judge my dimly-lit photos too harshly.
3) Ingredients you don’t understand
The menu simply lists pizzas by their toppings which are many and varied but seem to have a focus on cured meats and interesting cheeses. The weird and wonderful sounding ingredients you aren’t familiar with will probably be one of these – in our case my veggie friend was hastily googling ‘puzzone’ as they don’t have V signs on the menu (it’s a cheese by the way).
True to the stereotype, both of our servers were bearded. And quite lovely, though a little slow given how many full tables they were looking after.
5) A hidden bar downstairs
Yep… Expect the crowds to keep on coming through the evening with a DJ playing downstairs at Concrete. It’s also available for private hire.
So probably exactly what you’d expect from an outpost of the Soho House Group. It may not be new but continues to draw a good crowd, so I’d recommend you book ahead; we booked on short notice so had to take an earlyish slot at 6.30pm on a Friday eve. That Friday feeling meant cocktails were the order of the day and I chose a Reverse Manhattan, which had whisky appeal with Woodford Reserve plus martini, bitters and cherry. It tasted strong, smooth and warming, and was very much up my street.
The pizzas themselves have a commendable toppings-to-dough ratio (very important!) with light bases straight from their wood-fired oven. I went for the radicchio, gorgonzola and walnut pizza which I envisaged as basically a delicious salad served on a layer of carby goodness. That was about right; the toppings were all fresh and tasty and the dough nice to eat even on its own around the edges. I’m a sucker for blue cheeses and it was well-proportioned so as not to take over the whole dish. The only thing I would warn is that the middle of the pizza does go quite soft and mushy, which will annoy some (especially those planning to use fingers!). I would usually have liked it to stay a little crunchier, but having had my wisdom teeth out two weeks earlier I was actually quite grateful that it wasn’t too hard on my molars!
Pizzas run at £10-14 each which is on the steep side for what you get but they seem to be able to get away with it in this setting. There’s also a handful of other main courses available from the wood-fired oven too. We decided we had room for dessert and shared a salted chocolate caramel tart and apple crumble between 5 of us. I wish we hadn’t bothered though as neither tasted very freshly made and were on the dry side when I’d hoped for more squidge (technical term).
Overall then this is a lively place to take a date or group. Atmosphere is best enjoyed in the evenings, but go elsewhere for dessert.
56 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ