Sunday 12 August 2012

Lardo: where is the lardo?

The first thing that drew me to Lardo was the giant disco ball.  Now, don't get me wrong, disco balls are  not generally my kind of thing.  I'm more of a quiet-pint-in-a-corner guy than a disco-diva John Travolta.  But when that gleaming bright disco ball surrounds a fiery furnace turning out proper thin-based pizzas, you've got my attention.  Throw into the mix that the place cures all its own meats and I am surprised I wasn't there, queueing, on the opening night!  Give me a steak and I'll be happy for a night, give me chorizo or some coppa, and I'll be happy for life.

And so, one Sunday evening, we decided to make to short walk up through London Fields to try out our latest local eatery.  Would it match what's now coming out of the kitchen at Market Cafe? Or would it be a damp squib like Market House? 

We shared a few of the smaller plates to start: some delicious arancini stuffed with mozzarella and rich, fiery nduja (soft Italian sausage, rich in paprika), a broad bean salad with pecorino and some of that home-cured coppa (of course) -served by the 25g.  All very nice: simple food, well seasoned at reasonable prices. Can't ask much more than that!

Moving on to what is the main event at Lardo: the pizzas.  Although there are other mains, a rabbit stew was offered the day we were there, the disco ball will get you.  At least one person you are with will order a pizza, such is the draw of the "ball".

The base may be all Naples, thin and crisp, the toppings are more cosmopolitan!  I had the speck, spinach and belper knolle (a 15 week aged cows cheese from Berne, often served, as in Lardo, shaved over food like a truffle).  This all worked wonderfully well together - up there with Homeslice as one of my favourite pizzas of the year!

The Fashionista, her sister and her mate all had the pancetta, mozzarella and marjoram pizza.  I liked this, but not as much.  No tomatoes is fine, provided the pizza still works.  However, without the tomatoes, there was nowhere for the fat from the pancetta to go and it all became a little bit oily.  Nice flavours, just not quite there.

The girls finished off with some ice cream which seemed to go down a treat. 

Lardo is a very good local Italian eatery.  I wouldn't travel half way over London to go there.  But I don't need to, its just round the corner.  The test, does it stand up to the other places opening in East London? Categorically, yes!  This place will go from strength to strength:  after all it does have that disco ball pizza oven!

P.S. An honourable mention to the negroni maker - one of the best in London!

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