I’m going to let you in on one of London’s better kept secrets. Pizza Union. They don’t even need a gimmick. This pizza place has 12” pizzas starting at £3.50. No coupon code. No Instagram exclusive. No witch making you promise your first-born child in exchange for some genuinely affordable food in London. That is genuinely what their margherita will set you back by. And this is legit. This isn’t a case of sneaky advertising or a loss leading campaign. The average price on the pizza menu is £5.50 with the highest price on there being £6.50. And yes, I did the math. I am an Imperial student after all. These thin crust, Italian style pizzas are really that cheap. There is no doubt that eating here will save you some dough. Sorry, couldn’t resist a cheesy pun. Okay I’ll stop now. Back to the food.
Even with these prices, Pizza Union still manages to only cut slices and not corners. (Yes, I lied, I still had one more in me.) They aren’t stingy with their toppings. The herbs on the pizzas we got were front and centre when it came to flavour. The peppers and onions were sweet and juicy. Everything on our plates looked and (most importantly) tasted fresh. If you want, you can watch the whole thing be made from scratch in front of you in their massive stone oven.
They rather impressively manage to incorporate the huge device into their aesthetic for their restaurants. It works as a spectacle but doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Speaking of their aesthetic, they do seem to love their pink. From the menus to the plates - pretty much everything there uses pink as the accent colour. And sometimes not just pink - neon pink. Against their bare brick walls, you can find neon signs plastered tastefully around the building. Really fun to sit under when its dark outside. I have your next Instagram post sorted. You’re welcome. They have the overdone hipster fake-run-down aesthetic going on with half painted walls and peeling wallpapers that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at. Still the wood tables and stool make for a really casual dining experience.
I’ll save you all the embarrassment I had to endure when I first went in and had no idea how to actually order my food as it was news to me. They really commit to the laid-back aesthetic by having you do most of the service. You go up and make your order at the till and leave with anything you can get right away a buzzer with their logo on it. And yes, it is pink. Find yourself somewhere to sit and relax until your buzzer goes off, indicating the completion of your freshly cooked pie. Go over to their pickup station and exchange your buzzer for your masterpiece.
For our trip, we had the Pollo and the Carne. The chicken wasn’t dry which is something I find that many pizza joints struggle with. The crust ended up rather burnt and hard in a few spots though. The mozzarella on our pies were melted to perfection. To keep it real with you, these pizzas are really thin so if you are looking for a carb galore, you’ll have to find another spot. The savings don’t stop at the pizzas. Their cocktails start at £3 and they’ve got a great gelato selection that you should ask about after if you find space for something sweet after your meal.
You can find them in King’s Cross, Aldgate, Dalston and Spitalfields. Watch out for their new spot in Hoxton opening soon. If your London geography is any good you will realise that none of these stores are particularly close to South Kensington. Not close at all actually. They all managed to be in either north of west London. I know - it’s not fair. It’s what we get for being situated in one of the most expensive areas in London. The effort to get to one of these places and back is probably making you second guess this entire review but think about it this way. You can take this as an opportunity to leave your troubles behind on campus and explore London. The British Library is a great change of pace from Central Library. Reward yourself during the study breaks and you can pop over to the King’s Cross branch to grab a slice or two. You can even see what’s on at the Wellcome Collection while you’re in the area. Work up an appetite visiting the iconic attractions around Southwark before heading down to the one in Aldgate to finish it off. To me there is no better thing to make plans around than food. London is a treasure trove of great food stops that can lead to some even better memories if you let it.