What exactly is it? A fortnightly takeaway pizza joint based on – you guessed it – Short Road, right in the middle of Leytonstone.
What’s the backstory? New-to-E11 duo Ugo Galelli and Kate Prior started out doing pop-ups in the first lockdown just after they moved to the area. “We bought a pizza oven to cheer ourselves up,” says Kate, with a smile. “Ugo’s ancestry is in Naples, and his nonno owned a pizza restaurant, so it’s in his DNA to nerd out about dough recipes and marry the perfect flavours on the top.”
Fair enough. And then? Feeling “a bit at sea” here in a new neighbourhood during the pandemic they decided to reach out to neighbours with homemade flyers asking if they’d like contact-free pizza in exchange for a cash donation to food bank Eat or Heat. The response was so positive the pair set up a pop-up at Yardarm (with a £1 donation per pizza to charity). Along the way they joined forces with fellow pizza freak Jack (@theperfectpizza).
I’m peckish now. What’s on the menu? Generally, just three options on the pizza front. A simple margherita yielded a real flavour hit from the creamy Fior di latte and rich tomato sauce, cooked down from San Marzano tomatoes with posh olive oil and basil (also available to buy separately in little pots); our additional topping of fennel salami pimped its umami qualities even further. Arguably tastier still was the multi-layered Kimcheese, which features the fermented crunch of local boy Benji’s spicy cabbage (with radish and onions), the all-important burrata and mushrooms adding ooziness and earthy depth.
Wood-fired or stone-baked? Stone-baked, naturally (it’s not Leytonwood, after all, boom boom): each one takes barely 60 seconds to cook in their little outdoor Ooni, a cute pizza oven we now really do need to order for our own garden.
Oh, and can we talk about the dough? Absolutely. This is what’s really special about SRP: it’s chewy, tangy and so moreish you’ll be scoffing it like cake – we dipped ours liberally into a saucer of glistening olive oil. “It’s a Napoli-style fresh yeast slow-fermented dough,” says Kate. “We prep it the day before and let it proof overnight. We use less yeast but give it longer to do its thing.” Thin-crust lovers, be warned: or rather, be converted.
Anything else we should know? The gang announce each changing menu on the Wednesday before, then open for pre-orders (via insta DMs) and give you a time slot for your Sunday collection. “We have the capacity for around 70 pizzas per session, and normally sell out within the hour,” says Kate. So be swift, people.
Finally, what about opening a bricks-and-mortar gaff? Wouldn’t it would work perfectly on Francis Road, we wondered? Alas, no: it ain’t gonna happen. The trio all have day jobs – Ugo is creative director of his own ad agency, Jack works in finance for Beavertown, and Kate is a freelance illustrator – so Short Road Pizza is a pop-up only, at least for now.
Leytonstoner ate as guests of Short Road Pizza. If you would like us try a delivery service or food product, please email firstname.lastname@example.org