I’m a shady type.
In the summer, there’s no wandering around to look for the perfect hot spot.
You’ll find me lurking behind the shed, dodging the rays as if I’m Nosferatu.
It seems others don’t feel like that.
On the weekend that lockdown was slightly relaxed, the general consensus was that our family reunion should coincide with the sunshine blitzing our location of a south westerly facing garden.
Indeed, about 4pm, it was suddenly the Costa del Edimburgo.
Our newly reunited party, two metres apart on an archipelago of picnic blankets, started to roll up their trousers and spritz on sun cream. I retreated to the shrubbery, and waited for our early dinner to arrive from a more sheltered direction – East Pizzas.
They’re doing evening delivery within the vicinity of their Morningside branch, as well as takeaway, and their original Leith branch (7 Commercial Street) has just opened to offer the same services.
I discreetly sidelined a couple of the brown boxes, containing extras I’d ordered from their small selection of cold nibbles. These were two of my favourite things – smoked almonds (£3) and pickles (£4.50).
The nuts were dusted in an paprika-ish and salty pollen. Crunchetty crunch. While, my pickle collection was an assortment from Scottish fermenting business Aye Pickled, and consisted of mouth-puckering half gherkins, gingery discs of golden beetroot, a dollop of kimchi, and little blocks of crunchy carrot.
If my mouth is ever parched, I shall reminisce about these, and my salivary glands will spring forth like fire hydrants.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a pizza with peas on it, but that was one of the ingredients on my asparagus (£11) choice. It had been basted with a sweet and grasshopper green pea purée base, and on top of that were blobs of gummy goat’s cheese, a handful of whole peas (brave survivors of the pulping incident), a few strands of fired asparagus and red and green slices of chilli.
The sourdough crusts are the best thing at this place – pleasingly abrasive, chewy and dusty, covered in inflated bits, like thick Hubba Bubba bubbles.
To keep to the rules, I couldn’t beg a bite of anyone else’s pizza, so had to rely on their feedback.
They were in the zone though. Getting a quote was like trying to interview JD Salinger.
“I don’t want to use the word nice, but I can’t think of any other adjectives,” said my sister.
She was working through her kimchi, Hebridean blue, Arran cheddar and mozzarella pizza (£11) as if a band of marauding squirrels might hoist it up a tree at any moment. She loved it.
Niece one (aged nine) seemed to be enjoying the smoked chorizo, mozzarella and oregano (£10) version. “Outstandingly spicy and very delicious. Oh my gosh, the base is so puffy.” They’d also been generous with the chorizo element, as there was an extensive meaty collage on the sugo and cheese dappled base.
Niece two (aged six) liked hers. “Tasty, but quite plain, to tell you the truth”. However, she’s the one with the simple palate, so they couldn’t win. It was topped with UK cherry tomatoes, organic ricotta, basil and mozzarella (£10). Fresh and creamy looking.
Unlike the other loaded offerings, they’d been a bit light on the two main ingredients, when it came to the organic nduja, smoked mozzarella, cream and chilli (£11).
“It’s a bit like a margarita that’s brushed past another couple of pizzas and borrowed one or two of their toppings,” said my husband. “But I still like it. And that base is just THE BEST.”
I’d say that my slightly sunburnt and together-at-last family was happy, though it’ll take me some time to get used to socialising outside.
While they finished their al fresco eats, I slid my remaining slice back into the box.
To be eaten once back indoors, along with the almonds and pickles. Twice as tasty in the gloom. n
124 Morningside Road, Edinburgh (0131-629 7171, www.eastpizzas.com)
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