123 Bethnal Green Road
Carbs are awesome aren’t they? Not a fan? Then this post is not for you. I love carbs; rice, bread, potatoes you name it, I love it. No meal is complete without a hit of the good stuff. Get it in me. One of my absolute favourite ways to consume this gift from the culinary gods? Pizza. “Wait, so does that mean you consider Italians to be a culinary god?”. Yes and Italy is carb heaven. When pasta and pizza is your brainchild, what else can you be?
I have friends who maintain that pizza is overrated. They are no longer close friends, never liked them anyway (even though I am the best man for one. Sorry Luke, we had a good run). How can you trust someone we doesn’t like pizza? Suspicious. What? You’re gluten intolerant? Dude it’s worth the pain and you know it!
Did you know though that the best pizza in the world (according to the peeps at Chowzter) is actual found in East London (Shoreditch to be exact)? Having been to Italy, I found this to be a bold claim so I had to verify this for myself. If it was better than the ones in Italy then this was going to get emotional.
Situated behind an unassuming shop front, there isn’t much to suggest that you are about to go through some mind blowing gastronomic experience. The dining room looks like a can of white paint had exploded in it and a few wooden tables and associate seating rounded out the minimalist decor. The menu is straight forward and is found on 2 sheets of A4. All you need to know is this; all pizza is £17.
Scanning the menu, it was evident that the imagination lacking in the decor had instead been invested in the pizzas as there were some very appealing and unique combination of flavours on offer, certainly none I had seen elsewhere. I could’ve happily had any one of them but going in a party of 6 gave me the freedom to taste a good portion of their 13 variations. We settled for the following:
- CHARLIE JONES (tomato passata, roasted red peppers, spicy sausage, taleggio, parmesan, toasted spices, garlic, crushed birds eye chillies & sweet chilli sauce)
- CHORIZO, PUMPKIN & GOAT’S CHEESE (chorizo, sage roasted pumpkin & red pepper, goat’s cheese, fresh red onion, mascarpone, olives and roasted rosemary oil)
- CHORIZO & MUSHROOM (chorizo, garlic roasted mushrooms, mascarpone, roasted sweet red onion, olives, a little sweet chilli sauce & fresh buffalo mozzarella)
- HAM, SPINACH & GORGONZOLA (prosciutto cotto, baby spinach, garlic, gorgonzola, olives, mascarpone, a pinch of nutmeg & fresh buffalo mozzarella)
- DORA ROMERO (chorizo, smashed tomatoes, tomato passata, fresh red onion, mascarpone, rosemary oil, basil pesto & fresh buffalo mozzarella)
- SIMONE (tomato passata, garlic roasted courgettes, mascarpone, smashed tomatoes, olives, fresh buffalo mozzarella & basil pesto with the option of adding ham which we took)
It’s safe to say that all the ingredients used were fresh and delicious and the combination’s the guys at Story Deli put together were perfect compliments. In fact, I could’ve gone with any of the pizzas and would’ve left an extremely happy man. I would say though that unless you are a fan of spicy food, stay away from the Charlie Jones as it packed a bit of heat.
What really set these pizzas apart from any other I’ve had is the base; it was extremely thin and made from a no-yeast dough. There wasn’t any real substance to it; picking it up to eat it is a messy affair and a knife and fork is strongly recommended. It was however, amazingly crispy (like poppadom crispy) which is fine if I was just eating the base by itself but I wasn’t. Furthermore, with the oils and juices from the ingredients slowly seeping in, the base just became a overly soggy. What I really want from a pizza base is a platform with a bit of structural integrity and unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here.
So where do I stand on this? I’m still not completely convinced. On the one hand, I found the flavours of the dishes to be delicious and amazing. I liked the fact that I didn’t completely OD on carbs leaving me a bloated mess. But on the other hand, I felt that the difficulty in eating the dish took away from the overall experience and also, let’s admit it, £17 is pretty steep for pizza. It’s a great place to go for a treat but I don’t have pockets deep enough to make this a regular thing.