Where is Larry Grayson when you need him? He would sort this out in a jiffy.
Every time the door opens there is a breeze that threatens to blow the candles on our table out. What should I do? It is not the first quandary I have faced this evening.
When I arrived at this pizzeria, I was greeted by silence (except for the tuts from the hipster customers, getting a blast of cold air as I held the door open for my girlfriend). There was no receptionist, just lots of empty wooden chairs and tables.
When we are finally greeted we are met with an unintentionally ironic: “I think I can find you a space.” We are duly seated between two empty tables to our left and right and two more in front and behind us. It’s a squeeze but we just make it.
The name of this place, Lardo, is also the name given to the cured back fat of rare breed pigs. This gives a big hint that as well as pizzas, cured meat is a specialty here. My knowledge of this is limited, and after a quick glimpse at the menu and then a long pause, my girlfriend and I are agreed. We know nothing on the menu except the olives.
It is time to consult a waiter and admit our ignorance. Past experience, in other restaurants, has meant getting a condescending waiter snorting at me, which resulted in me ordering the most expensive item on the menu just to ‘show him’. This goes a lot better. The waiter is friendly and knowledgeable.
For starters we decide on the coppa and the lardy loin. They are basically a thin slice and a fat slice of cured ham. Oh, and we had olives as well (we know where we are with them). And lovely they all were. Simple and delicious. I could now see why I kept feeling a breeze - as the place began to fill with people wanting more of what we had.
The main course saw me experience egg, lardo and spinach on my pizza for the first time. What had I been doing with Hawaiian’s all my life? There is no debate anymore; it is a fried egg and not pineapple that makes a pizza great.
Apart from chili oil with less kick than the dead pig we watched them carve up, the food was faultless. All Lardo needs know is a door that doesn’t let any cold in. Once that problem is solved, we will all be as happy as Larry.
205 Richmond Rd, Hackney, London E8 3NJ (020 8985 2683; lardo.co.uk)
Service: 8 (once it got going it was very good).
Price: I paid £45 for two, including drinks and service.