As some of you know, I’ve recently moved out further East in London and a new area means lots of new neighbourhood eateries to explore! Though I’d never really heard of it until I moved nearby, Wanstead has turned out to be somewhat of a hotspot for good food and independent cafes, which I love.
Luppolo describes itself as a “buzzing neighbourhood pizzeria with serious love of craft beer” and in true East-London-Hipster fashion they have a load of craft gins to boot. I can’t speak for the beer (or the gin for that matter), but I can tell you all about their food.
We were starving when we arrived so ordered some olives and a Italian cured meats board (£12) to have with our wine whilst we chose our food. Colourful and appetising, everything on the sharing board was fresh and tasty. The portion of meats was generous – plenty for four of us to nibble on, and, for me, you can’t beat fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a glass of decent wine to start a meal. The red wine we went for went down a bit too well and was reasonable too at around £20 a bottle.
Next up was the mains and most of us chose pizzas. As soon as I saw Nduja on one of the menu options, I was sold. I love Nduja and will pretty much order anything with it in, I love the salty, spicy, softness of it. The pizza (£10) arrived hot and filled the plate with its pillowy, doughy crusts and a thin tomatoey base, just how it should be (in my opinion, anyway). Though not immediately noticeable on first glance, there was lots of spicy Nduja lurking under the cheese, waiting to pounce and catch you off-guard. It was delicious and everyone else thought so too. We happily chatted the evening away, eating our pizza and drinking wine. The pizza wasn’t quite as fluffy as Pizza Pilgrims, who make probably the most authentic pizza I’ve had outside of Italy, but it’s definitely up there.
Now, my greedy tummy has a big old soft spot for tiramisu, and I had already spied it on the menu so got my last few slices of pizza boxed up in order to save space for dessert. The tiramisu was delightful, it was a good size portion but they managed to make it inexplicably light and all of us agreed it was one of the best tiramisus we’d had. We rounded off dessert with limoncello and went on to order coffee.
By this time it was around 10pm and the restaurant had only a few tables left in eating, winding down to it shutting at 11pm. It was just gone 10pm when we ordered coffee and were told we couldn’t have any because they’d turned off the machine. Our table had spent a fair bit and it was still an hour away from closing so we thought it was pretty poor that they wouldn’t offer to turn it back on and make a round of coffees, or they could have checked before turning it off. As a table of people who have all worked in restaurants, we all understand that coffee machines are a pain to clean but to turn them off a full hour before closing without checking with your remaining tables who are all on desserts whether they’re likely to want coffee, was bad service and the way it was dealt with was fairly rude and unapologetic.
Overall, our table was split. As a non-coffee drinker anyway, I couldn’t fault the food and drinks I had, but the coffee drinkers on the table felt quite strongly that being told an outright no for coffee even after complaining was fairly inexcusable and it would cast doubts on them returning. Personally I really enjoyed my meal, liked the atmosphere, thought it was reasonably priced and will probably return but it definitely tainted the experience which was a shame.
Nearest tube: Wanstead