By May Yin Lee of Red Velvet London
Earlier this week I checked out the latest Italian pizza bar in King’s Cross called Pizza Union. First thoughts? Fast-foody, small American restaurant! To my surprise, you walk in and see a bright lion head neon light by the entrance and the restaurant was buzzzzing…and it’s Monday. I did my research before I arrived and wanted to sit where there were tiled tables and away from the crowd…with a camera in my hand I didn’t want to appear weird every time I took a picture of the food we were eating. The menu is very simple; you choose your 12″ only pizza that ranges from £3.95 – £6.50. I was really surprised how affordable these pizzas were and the proof was going to be in those pizzas! You get a disc buzzer when your pizza is ready to collect at the station and not long our pizzas were ready within 5-10 minutes. The base and crust is thin which means a well balaned pizza topping ratio with 3 different dips to choose from for your crusts. Usually you would cast aside your crust because you are too full; but thankfully my appetite was on my side and double dipped away in chilli, garlic mayo and bbq sauces.
I ordered the 12″ Carne Pizza: tomato sauce, mozzarella, beef, chicken, pepperoni and onions (£6.50). Usually I wouldn’t be able to finish a pizza this size but the crust was so thin I managed 3/4 of it and doggy bagged the rest (I will be sad to see it go to waste). My friend ordered the Vesuvio: tomato sauce, mozzarella, Pepperoni, green chillies and cracked chilli flakes at £5.50; unfortunately I can’t handle my spice very well so I decided not to try hers before I end up with a busted nose pipe (yes, it happened before from an overdose of spiciness). My friend is French and enjoys spicy food; she said her face was burning so that must have been one heck of a spicy pizza. As our side, we a bowl of Verdura salad to share between us which is a mix of rocket, tomato, mushrooms, mixed peppers, black olives and peppers. It was very light with the added grated cheese on top; sometimes we just need some healthy leafy greens in our system to balance the flavours and the goodness of our digestion!
I spent majority of our time eating, instagramming, eating, tweeting, snapchatting, snapchatting and shit!!..our pizza was going cold! We are in that generation where our social media interaction is part of the dinner and I hope we didn’t look like twats from the couple sitting next to us as they sneakily watched me photograph my meal using my hench Canon 5D Mark ii camera! I get so shy when I pull out my cameras and doing birds eye view shots; but it’s all worth it when I get to write my posts!
Last but not least; the wonderful Luca; one of the young waiters of the night recommended we try the dolce delights from their menu. I’ve also done my research on instagram and noticed their nutella and mascarpone warm dough ring (£2.95) and was on my agenda to try it. My friend ordered the Caramello (£3.95); which is the salted caramel, peanuts, chocolate and mascarpone warm dough ring. I am not a massive fan of caramel as I find it too sweet; but that nutella dough ring hit the spot…it was nutella porn all over it!
Never thought I would find a place that has great pizzas at a bargain; the restaurant was buzzing so you know it’s a great place when it’s packed on a Monday evening with a week left until payday. Pizza Union also serves salads, coffee and wine/prosecco.
By Esin Huseyin
As you’ll probably know from our website, Instagram, and Twitter feed – the Maybe Team, including some other beautiful foodies, were loving Pizza Union last week (for a full list of who, check Koray’s post which is just beneath mine).
Now, I’ve been asked “is it better than Pizza Pilgrim?” all week by avid Italian lovers – you know what? It’s completely different! But, I’ll get to that in a moment.
A stones throw away from Liverpool Street station, you could expect us to find this place to be absolutely heaving – which it was. But the canteen style, one table for all, seating and efficient ordering service made sure that there was a quick turn around.
Unlike Koray, the idea of ordering for yourself at the till and coming back to collect your food with one of those vibrating things (seriously what is the name?), didn’t make me feel angry but more “meh”, it seems to have become the new “in” and convenient thing to do. But as long as I get my food, I’m happy – just make sure you’ve got someone to guard the table!
There wasn’t much to say really about the interior, other than the huge tables, and wood, a lot of wood.
The only thing that really bothered me was the fact that you’re only limited to an order of 5 pizzas each – I don’t see what difference it would make if you ordered 7, or if you ordered 5 and then your mate ordered the next 2 after. Won’t they still be making the same amount of pizzas back to back, that is if they chronologically follow the orders?
I opted for the Calabria: Tomato sauce, Mozzarella, Mascarpone, N’Duja spicy sausage and rocket. All of this beauty in a reasonable size for £5.95, I ain’t saying no. Yes. I did order something with double cheese, and as one of the lovely foodies said “spreadable sausage”. Now, I’ve never tried N’Duja before, so when it was described as spreadable, I was a little anxious.
The cheeses were beautifully milky in texture, the rocket burst in with a little needed bitterness, and the sausage kicked it’s way through with a spicy drop kick. Wow, seriously. It did become a little over bearing after a while, but you know I learnt my lesson. My spreadable sausage days are over, or at least allowed in healthy minimal measures.
The dough was more soft than crunchy, and the tomato sauce was more reduced – so it’s pretty hard to compare to Pizza Pilgrims as the dough there is pretty thick, and your pizza is usually swimming in fresh tomato sauce. Considering both styles, I love them both – although Pizza Pilgrims still wins it for me.
By Koray Hussein
To say the bar had been set pretty high for Pizza Union is kind of an understatement. You see, although there are a lot of pizza places in this fair city, there aren’t many that offer a whole 11”+ pizza for under £6. In fact, I can only think of two. Fitzrovia’s ICCo, a pizzeria I have had more than a few nice words for… and the aforementioned, Pizza Union.
I’ll start off with the atmosphere and to be honest it’s hard for me to judge properly. We arrived smack bang in the middle of the working lunch hour, just when you would expect the place to be rammed… and it was. It definitely can’t be seen as a bad thing that so many people choose to eat there but I’d need to head back at an unusual time (making excuses so I can do an update further down the line) to see just how busy this place is.
The actual interior was really nice, deciding to not go with ICCo’s metal New York pizzeria feel and instead opting to go for the (you could say Hipster style) long wooden tables and stools. Thankfully we nabbed a table around the back where there were nice low benches, as I’m not exactly a massive fan of stools. I’m not a tall man and having your legs dangling from your seat like a baby does not exactly make me feel any bigger.
The ordering process was your now standard “Go to the front. Make your order. Grab the little vibrating piece of shit. Wait for piece of shit to vibrate. Piece of shit vibrates. Bring piece of shit to front. Get your pizza” affair, which I’m not a massive fan of. being beckoned never feels good, and being beckoned by a little round piece of plastic (shit) feels even worse. Whatever happened to people bringing you your food?
But, really, that’s where my complaints end. All five of our pizzas were cooked quickly and they all looked bloody delicious. I’ll admit it, Esin’s pizza looked the nicest, followed closely by Alexandra’s (unfortunately I don’t remember which pizzas they ordered. Hopefully they can let me know in the comments!) but my Pollo pizza wasn’t exactly an eyesore.
Topped with mozzarella, chicken, mixed peppers and olives, the Pollo was lovely. The crust had a nice crispness to it, which crumbled under just the right amount of pressure, whilst the main body of the pizza managed to find that fine line between floppy mess and thin and
I really can’t complain about this place. Yes, it was too busy for my liking and I would have liked my pizza already sliced but Pizza Union is a great place to grab one of Italy’s most famous exports.
Will it surpass ICCo as my favourite budget pizza place?… No. There’s something about ICCo which draws me towards it every single time. I will definitely be coming back to Pizza Union but if these guys were next door to ICCo, I’d probably be saying something very different.