Ask any Londoner where to find the best pizza and amongst some of the other big names like Franco Manca, Pizza Pilgrims and Homeslice, Pizza Union is almost sure to come up. It’s most recent expansion to a new location near Aldgate (which is the one we tried) would certainly suggest it’s popular, but does it live up to the hype..?
Pizza union is a group of (now 3) pizza bars serving up thin and crispy Roman-style pizzas for both delivery and takeaway.
We went early – 11am but we weren’t the only crazy people getting pizza in the morning! As well as eat-ins, people were piling in for takeaways, with the pizzas made and cooked so quickly that many didn’t even bother to call ahead to order.
As soon as you enter they have a fridge full of beers and soft drinks on the right and there are glasses piled high with chilli pea mix and olives by the till for you to tuck into while you wait for your food. Whether you want to eat in or takeaway they have an efficient system where you order at the counter and are given a little buzzer which goes off when your pizza is ready to collect. (The server laughed her socks off when my face lit up as it started buzzing!)
The food comes quickly and is an absolute bargain with a typical pizza coming in at around £6. With takeaway food this good I can’t for the life of me think why any Londoner would ever even entertain the idea of calling for a Dominos or a Papa Johns.
The pizzas are typical Roman pizzas – paper thin and crispy, and they come topped generously with any combination of toppings your heart desires. Served on a thin sheet of paper simple metal platters, it’s simple fast food at its absolute best.
Cosy and intimate restaurant it is not, but they absolutely nail the interior. It’s brand new, modern and they’ve opted for the industrial look which is so common at London eateries these days and I love it! Exposed walls, long wooden tables, marble counters and exposed vents give it a relaxed vibe which fits perfectly with their food – ideal for a chilled lunch or a quick dinner where you wouldn’t look out of place whether you were alone or with a huge group of friends. Plug sockets are everywhere too – a nod to the modern technology-focused lifestyle and our inability to go without.
There’s no denying it was a seriously good pizza – thin, crispy and packed with incredible toppings. I’ve been to Rome and tried many a Roman pizza and it certainly wouldn’t be out of place there. Having spoken to friends they would quite easily put this place at the top of their list. Price wise you literally can’t compete with it – it’s less than £6 for pretty much every pizza on their menu and just £3.95 for a margherita – even supermarkets charge more than that!
The dessert menu is simple; it’s limited to self serve tube of gelato and ‘pizza alla cioccolata’ but that suited me fine – I don’t want or like typical Italian desserts like tiramisu or panna cotta anyway. And to be honest, once you set eyes on their Nutella and mascarpone stuffed dough ring you won’t have eyes for anything else anyway. Wait til you taste it. Warm, soft dough gives way to the most indulgent Nutella based filling. As soon as you cut through it, warm Nutella and mascarpone oozes out – no half-measures here; it’s packed full of the delicious filling. It’s sweet and rich but the mascarpone stops it from being overbearingly so. Pair it with smooth, creamy gelato (in a range of flavours – I went for salted caramel and pistachio!) and you have the most heavenly of desserts. The salted caramel gelato even had little crispy pieces of caramel scattered inside.. I couldn’t fault it!
For me personally, I’m much more of a thick, chewy-crusted Napoletan pizza lover but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. It wouldn’t be fair to compare it to the fluffy crusts of Franco Manca which is just a different style of pizza but in my opinion it was far better than Homeslice, which also serves similarly paper-thin bases, but with less generous toppings and a far less crispy finish. I can undoubtedly see why Pizza Union is so popular – light pizzas made with the highest quality ingredients – for all you thin and crispy pizza fans out there this place is most definitely for you! If like me you’re more of a thick crust lover, the Nutella ring will satisfy all of your cravings – it’s thick, doughy and pretty much everything you could want, knocked up in minutes for less than the price of a slice of cake at most London cafes!!
Link to their website: http://www.pizzaunion.com