Frat-boy fun masks some underwhelming pizza at this ode to Americana
Having been something of a pizza wilderness in years gone by, Covent Garden has become increasingly well-served in that department of late, with nearby Sartori recently joined by the first permanent outpost of by-the-slice specialists, Homeslice. Earlham Street Clubhouse is the latest name to add to the list, having opened at the back end of last year amid much fanfare.
So is the new kid on the block a serious challenger to its near-neighbours? Well, in terms of pizza alone, we’d have to say no. While Sartori specialises in charred Neapolitan cornicione and Homeslice excels in intriguing flavour combinations, Earlham Street’s pizzas fall a little flat, doing sterling work in soaking up the cocktails, but offering little to excite the tastebuds.
We opted for a Screech (Tomato, Mozzarella, Salami Picante, Fresh Chillies and Oregano) and The Fresh Prince (Homemade Riccotta Sauce, Scamorza Cheese, Fennel Sausage, Wild Mushrooms, Fresh Basil and Baby Tomatoes). Both were served on sizeable, crispy bases, and were topped with a healthy amount of their respective ingredients.
However, quality of said ingredients was a notch or so below the standard required for a truly memorable slice. The sauce on the Screech was lacking in depth, managing to stay clear of the offensively sweet territory occupied by Domino’s and the like, but also failing to register much in the way of a fresh tomato hit. What you’re left with is a punch of heat from the salami and chilli, and not much else besides.
The Scamorza and fennel sausage served up on The Fresh Prince weren’t half bad, but a sprinkling of baby tomatoes made for an anaemic accompaniment, and one not nearly perky enough to cut through the rich ricotta sauce. A valiant attempt at a Bianca, then, but not a terribly successful one.
Not that Earlham Street Clubhouse is an unmitigated disaster. It should be noted that we visited very early in the restaurant’s infancy, and other reviews suggest that service issues have since been ironed out. If you’re looking for somewhere for Saturday night cocktails in the centre of town, you could certainly do a lot worse, but for pizza, you’d be better off heading to one of ESC’s near neighbours.
1 The Fresh Prince
Earlham Street Clubhouse
36 Earlham Street