Although the choice of lunch spots near King's Cross has increased exponentially since I started working in the area five years ago, there are still a few voids, particularly when it comes to casual pizza joints. Caravan in Granary Square does excellent pizza but is often busy at lunchtimes, and whenever I find a pizza spot at the KERB street food market that I like, they seem to end up moving on to more permanent home.
My #KingsCrossPizzaProblems are, however, no more thanks to the arrival of Pizza Union on Pentonville Road. I hadn't heard of Pizza Union, but on my bus home each day, I would see their restaurant slowly coming together and thought it looked like a fun place. When I looked then up, I read about the high-speed, low-cost, super-tasty Roman-style pizzas they served and I couldn't wait until they opened. After a busy week at work, I suggested a little lunchtime outing on Friday, and unsurprisingly, everyone liked the idea. We got there just after 12.30 and the place was heaving — not bad given that they've only been open for a few days. I knew that the turnaround would be fast, though, so I wasn't worried about having to wait for a table.
Once inside, you order at the counter. Everything is very reasonably priced, starting at just £3.95 for a margherita and working up to the princely sum of £6.50 for the carne (with beef, chicken, pepperoni and onions). I was tempted by the tropicali, but I usually stick to the margherita when I try out a new pizza place — if the ingredients are good, you don't need a lot of toppings, so it's often the best way to test the quality of the pizza. Wine, beer and prosecco are on offer, but as we had to go back to work, we stuck to the San Pellegrino soft drinks. If you want something to nibble on while you wait for your pizza, there are cups of olives (£1.80) and chilli corn (£1.80) at the till.
After ordering, you are given a buzzer and can go and find a table. The King's Cross branch is pretty big and I really liked the décor. Most of the tables are long, sharing-style benches with gorgeous, colourful tiling. Oversized pendant lamps and LED lettering add to the funky vibe. The pizzas are cooked in a huge, monochrome pizza oven and only take a couple of minutes each to cook. It was, as I mentioned, very busy when we were there, but we still only had to wait ten minutes or so.
The pizza was really good: a very thin, crispy base and very flavoursome cheese and tomato toppings. The base was so thin, in fact, that it was a little tricky to eat with my hands, but nothing a little folding couldn't solve. As we left, we saw the gelati in the freezer by the door, with flavours including peanut butter and salted caramel, which were hard to ignore. If you're craving more dough, Pizza Union also serve pudding 'pizzas', or rather a warm dough ring with toppings such as Nutella and mascarpone (£2.95).
The staff were all busy but friendly, and if you're looking for a place for a superveloce but tasty bite to eat near King's Cross station, Pizza Union is it. As you can tell, we weren't the only ones having a good time!
Pizza Union. 246–250 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9JY (Tube: King's Cross). Website. Twitter.