Browsing Tag


London, Restaurants

Sodo Pizza Café – Clapton, London

Living in Hackney, I have my favourite, reliable ‘go to’ places for Turkish, Vietnamese and a Full English, however, pizza has always been a tough one.  Pizza East and Firezza started high up on my list but are inconsistent and my local pizzeria on Broadway Market is ok but strangely always packed out.  So thank goodness for Sodo Pizza Café and its incredible sourdough pizza.

Sodo is a petite, no-reservations restaurant with exposed brick walls, interesting photography, low lighting and simple wood seating.  Sodo started as a pop up at E5 Bakehouse, the London Fields artisan bakery and cafe, and its success has led to a stand alone restaurant.

At 6.30pm, we were the first in the restaurant and were greeted warmly by the friendly, relaxed staff.  We were immediately served a carafe of chilled tap water and ordered a Home-made ginger ale (£2) each.  The ginger ale is potent, cloudy and naturally sweet – quite unlike the supermarket varieties.  If you fancy something stronger, there are wines from Borough Wine and local craft beers from Beavertown, The Kernel and London Fields Brewery.

We tried two different pizzas and shared, which was made easier by Sodo already cutting the pizzas into slices.  The Cured Meat – tomato, mozzarella, salami napoli, salami calabressi, prosciutto crudo and chilli (£9) was truly excellent.  The base is one of the best I’ve ever had – thin, crispy and modestly sized, with a springy texture inside the crust.  The plentiful covering of tomato sauce was rich-roasted and sweet and high quality mozzarella was scattered lightly, so the pizza didn’t become overly rich.

Sometimes the quality of the meat can bring down a good pizza, but this was like a charcuterie board on a pizza – flavoursome and delicious.  However, watch out for hidden slices of fresh green chilis, they are seriously hot.

Equally moreish was the Lorena – tomato, mozzarella, butternut squash, rosemary, feta and pine nuts (£7.75).  The roasted pieces of butternut were dense, sweet and nicely charred on the outside.

I’m not a fan of feta, so when I asked for the Lorena pizza without feta, I was kindly offered parmesan cheese as a substitute.  This was a great choice, as the strong cheese counter-balanced the sweetness of the butternut squash and the sprigs of fresh rosemary brought an aromatic flavour – absolute pizza perfection.

Dessert looked like it was going to be difficult, as I can’t drink coffee and both sweet options include espresso.  I mentioned this when asked if we wanted to order dessert and they kindly offered the Affogato (£3.50) without espresso (and knocked £1 off the price).  I find it hard to get excited about ice cream in a restaurant, but this was ice cream straight from heaven.  The home-made ice cream was so creamy and decadent, topped with chunks of cantucci biscuit and served in a cute espresso cup.  I was told that the dessert list will be extending very soon to include non-espresso treats

Sodo Pizza Café is perfect if you like a good quality, reasonably healthy pizza that satisfies without making you want to crash out afterwards.  Being greedy, I could have easily eaten a few more slices, as the pizza was just so tasty.  Simplicity is key at Sodo, but perhaps they might add a few Italian side dishes like arancini or rosemary roasted potatoes to complete the menu.

Best of all, if the restaurant is busy, or you just want lazy pizza at home, Sodo offers collection take-out.  Sodo Pizza Café is a real hidden gem and if you can make the trek across town to Clapton, you will be rewarded with some of the best pizza in London.

For more information, visit:

All photos by Chérie City

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London, Restaurants

A Summer Menu Preview At Locale County Hall

Last week I was invited to a cosy bloggers dinner at Locale Cucina Italiana to preview the summer menu, which will hit the tables in a few weeks.

We visited the bustling Locale County Hall, but there are other neighbourhood Locale restaurants in Balham, Blackheath, East Dulwich and Fulham.

Executive Chef Paolo Barone devised a ten-course tasting menu featuring the most exciting new seasonal dishes.

On arrival, I was treated to an Elderflower Spritzer and we shared plates of fluffy fried dough snacks filled with prawns and fresh chilli.  The delicious cloud-like parcels were made using Birra Moretti and the recipe was designed by Giancarlo Caldesi for Locale.

The banquet started gently with a trio of bruschetta – broad bean purée and anchovy, ‘pachino’ cherry tomato and nduja (a spreadable spicy salami).  My favourite was the nduja, as it was so smooth and had an intense flavour.

Next up was a rustic slab of Salumi Misti and the most deliciously light focaccia seasoned with rock salt, olive oil and garlic.  The cured meats literally melted in the mouth and are homemade by Paolo Barone himself – now that’s dedication!

I have an almost pathological culinary fear of courgettes, so the prospect of courgette flowers wasn’t appealing.  However, the courgette flower stuffed with ricotta and lemon was tasty and extended an olive branch between me and the courgette.

The ricotta filling exploded out of the doughy batter and was lightly whipped , surrounding the nicely wilted orange flower.

My favourite of the starter dishes was the Asparagi Viola All Uovo – asparagus sautéed with butter served with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce.  It’s classic and Locale did it extremely well.

Risotto Bruscandoli (risotto with wild hop) was a new experience – the hop was very subtle and worked well with the creamy sauce and al dente risotto.

The risotto was very filling and comforting without being heavy or sticky.

By this point, we were all starting to lose steam, but couldn’t bear to put down our forks.  One of my favourite dishes was the guitar string pasta with black summer truffle and broad beans.

The pasta was nicely al dente and the broad beans sautéed in garlic and olive oil were just so incredibly delicious.  No heavy sauces or overpowering flavours, just a fresh, light summer dish.

The roast seabass fell by the wayside due to some serious overeating, so we finished with sirloin steak tagliata with roast garlic, rocket and a quaint little garden of mini roast vegetables.

The steak was tender, well-seasoned and cooked medium.  The vegetables were slow-roasted with a slightly sweet, caramelised flavour and the roasted garlic went well with everything.

We finished off the monumental menu with an authentic Italian digestif – Prosecco with lemon sorbet and vodka.  It was the perfect, refreshing end to the meal.

If you’re wondering about dessert, there the menu is full of Italian classics such as Tiramisu, Affogato, Panna Cotta, Chocolate Fondant and some more unusual foodie combinations.

Despite being full to the point of restricted breathing, we still managed to admire a giant calzone coming out of the kitchen, smothered in slow-roasted tomato sauce.

Perhaps another visit is in order to sample the calzone or pizza selection…in the name of research and quality control, of course!

Locale is a real neighbourhood restaurant, serving up hearty Italian classics and interesting seasonal dishes based on Paolo Barone’s travels and experiences in Italy.

It’s a boutique group that still manages to cook with love while managing five London locations.  The summer menu is full of fresh greens, light sauces and antipasti that is perfect for grazing along with a glass of Barolo…what could be better!

For more info and reservations, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Locale County Hall.

Photos by Chérie City and Locale.

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