I have a confession. I don’t really like pizza. It’s true that I’ve never eaten pizza in Naples, as several Italian friends of mine have insisted I do. And when I go to Naples, I’ll be sure to do so.
But the non-Neapolitan pizza I have had to date has been underwhelming. I struggle to get excited over thin crispy bread, smeared with tomato sauce and splattered with cheese. It seems comforting at first, but rapidly becomes dull. That’s when paying £12 for a slab of bread seems like a really bad idea.
However, a few weeks back I found myself at Fire and Stone in Spitalfields with a lot of other people. This was for three reasons: 1) I’d discovered Meet Up, a website where you meet people based on similar interests – and so this had opened up a new world of foodie friends, 2) I live next to Spitalfields, and 3) we were taking adavantage of the Tuesday £6 deal.
Fire and Stone Spitalfields has that modern feel – large glass windows, simple tables and not a lot of space between them. It’s the kind of place that when full seems warm and welcoming, but when empty, it’s soulless.
Fortunately, it was buzzing and we squezzed around a table for eighteen that stretched out through the restaurant.
Their menu is really fun. Not only do their pizzas offer a range of genuinely interesting and appetising toppings, but they’re also named after cities, which gives you the illusion of being a cosmopolitan citizen, casually browsing your next destination (I was in travel fantasy mode anyway!). I fought a long and hard mental battle between Mexico City (£10.25) – spicy chicken, guacamole, chunks of roasted potatoes, red onion and coriander – and Cape Town (£10.95) – spicy beef, pepperoni, mozzarella, fresh green chillies, topped with sour cream and parsley.
The latter triumphed and I was pleased to see a pizza with a relatively generous amount of topping (I’m sure you all understand what I mean about the pizzas that make you play hunt the toppings). The meat is never of the best quality on pizzas but the pepperoni and beef were tasty, and sour cream and parsley is a winning combination. The crust was not too doughy nor too crispy. My main criticism is one that I launch at many pizzerias – their inability to chop up chillies. The green chillies were chopped into chunks, which meant some mouthfuls of my pizza were scorchio, and others were more tame than Grandma’s cat. Let’s have some balance please. However, overall I was impressed.
Buffalo (£10.25) – hot and spicy torn chicken, roast potatoes, mozzarella and celery strips in a blue cheese dressing – proved very popular among my dining companions and they were all satisfied. Can’t say it would be my cup of tea – blue cheese and celery are both on my evil items list.
The the brownie with vanilla ice-cream (£4.95) looked very yummy indeed (although it’s hard to make chocolate brownies not look yummy). My co-diners were less impressed with the banoffee pizza, that was part of a Sweet Slider (£11.95) – a sharing tray of 5 desserts.
Would I go again to Fire and Stone and eat my way through more cities? Yes, I would. They’re running the Tuesday £6 deal at Spitalfields, and at Westfield and Covent Garden there is a two pizzea for £12 deal, available at certain times and if booked online. For non-Londoners, there are branches in Oxford and Portsmouth.
Fire and Stone Spitalfields 4/5 – It’s pizza and it’s actually quite exciting!
4 Horner Square, Old Spitalfields Market, London, E1 6EW
Food – 4/5
Service – 4/5
Value – 5/5 (If you take advantage of a deal!)
Atmosphere – 4/5