Scotsman Review
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November 24, 2017

East Pizzas, Edinburgh, restaurant review

Give pizza a chance with a visit to East Pizzas, says Gaby Soutar

There’s a competitive pizza turf war going down.

With Civerinos Slice to the South, La Favorita to the North and Quattro Zero to the West, it’s like the Capulets and Montagues, Crips and Bloods or Sharks and Jets.

They meet in the middle of the night, on neutral territory, to chuck stale crusts at each other, compete in dough tossing, and smear sugo onto their faces, Commando-style.

Now, to make things even crazier, east PIZZAS has opened up to take this side of the city.

I’m joking of course, no need to contact the Leith constabulary.

It is, however, monopolising this slice of the capital with its ethos of organic ingredients where possible and everything sourced within a 30 mile radius.

We went along on the sort of freezing cold day when you’d be tempted to crawl into a wood-fired oven for warmth.

They sat us in the window seat, which felt slightly exposing after I’d got a message from a friend to say they’d spotted me eating pizza “at this hour” (noon) and it made them feel better about the fact that they’d been necking bloody Marys. Harumph, but I’m OK about being the poster girl for Sunday brunch-hour scoffing.

The menu here is short and simple.

No chips, no stuffed crusts. We went for Sides and Starters of cured Lonza ham (£6) and the seasonal salad with lemon dressing (£3).

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The pale ham was simply doused in olive oil and was feathery and salty, while, the massive pile of green shrubbery was made less intimidating by an acidic lemon dressing.

Also, leafy goodness cancelled out all the naughtiness that was to come.

We’d been indecisive customers and ordered our pizzas half and half, though if you want to do that, you’ll be charged for the most expensive one (no big deal, they’re all under £10 anyway).

So, my hybrid 10-inch disc was 50 per cent number three (beetroot, tomato, potato, smoked mozzarella and rosemary, £8) and the other half was one of their white pizzas, number five (rainbow chard, Lanark Blue, mozzarella and Isle of Mull cheddar, £8.50).

The uber cheesy yang side was probably my favourite, with a good punch from the blue cheese, plus a layer of iodine-y chard underneath the fromage slanket.

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The yin bit was mainly stolen by my dining partner, who loved its cargo of oily potato cubes, as well as the discs of beetroot and puffy mozzarella.

I was just a bit sad that the billed rosemary ingredient hadn’t made the final cut.

I liked the number four half of her 50/50 creation. It was a classic, with a generous enough contingent of anchovy, sugo, smoked mozzarella, capers and kalamata olives (£8).

The other segment, numero seven (£9.75), featured the spicy topping of nduja sausage, along with creamy flecks of goat’s cheese, tomato and basil (usually oregano, but they were out of that).

When it came to both of our options the sourdough crust was light, blistered, and as powdery as a geisha’s nose.

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We enjoyed scooping the remaining shards into a ramekin of thick kale and chilli dip (£2), which tasted like renewed health, though there’s also garlic aioli or Lanark Blue cheese sauce.

There are three puddings, one of which is a pizza with chocolate spread and vanilla ice-cream (£5).

I’ve seen that option in numerous joints, sometimes as a calzone, and always wondered who finishes their last slice, then fancies ANOTHER pizza for dessert. Or do people just order the sweet one and don’t bother with savoury?

We body-swerved it, and chose the other two puds – a lemon posset with blackcurrant compote (£4.50), which was the replacement for the semifreddo that had been listed, and two blobs of sorbet (£4) one damson and one apple.

All were gorgeous – a showcase of tangy fruity-ness to strip the palate of cheese, salt and the accompanying shame.

Good stuff, and, though Edinburgh has many a place offering this genre, there’s room for everyone, you just need to give pizza a chance.

East Pizzas

7 Commercial Street,  Edinburgh

(0131-629 2430,

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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