Best deals in town: Keyring Nights, Pizza East

In which we roadtest the local offers kindest to your wallet

Pizza East

So what’s the deal? Most of you probably know this one: half price on Mondays and Tuesdays when you flash your “locals” keyring. The idea of 50% off all booze and food was pioneering when it launched half a decade ago, wasn’t it? Tuesday evenings would see scenes of boozing, shrieking and scoffing. But, if you haven’t visited for a while, you may not know that as of May it’s limited to half price food only – and the offer now runs on Mondays and Tuesdays. So if you’re a local it’s still a good deal. But booze is – we repeat – full whack.

What’s the usual price? Well, antipasti is from £4-10, wood oven plates £9-18 and pizzas £8-15. So the deal will still reduce your bill substantially.

Pizza East
Canopied exterior. Photo: PR

Talk us through things. We hadn’t actually eaten at PE for years. In fact, we’d almost forgotten about its existence, what with other classy new openings nearby. But the other Monday – drab and gloomy – seemed the right time to return to its holiday-vibes interior, still quietly chic after all these years. Instead of gorging on all things buffalo mozzarella, we shared half a dozen antipasti plates, with a couple of mini pizzette to mop up the juices (of which the garlic and rosemary was way better than chilli and parsley).

Best and worst? A plate of calamari with lime and aioli (below) was forgettable, but everything else wasn’t bad. Lamb meatballs were greigely unattractive to look at, but oh-so tender when sliced, swimming in a rich, dark tomato sauce. Wispy carpaccio was beefed up with roasted hazelnuts and creamy gorgonzola (sorry about that #meatfreemondays), and further improved when paired with a side of cauliflower, pomegranates and salsa verde. Best of all? Bruschetta piled high with light crab meat and creamy avocado. And we got stuck right into the side of truffle fries.

Pizza East
Calamari and lamb meatballs. Photo: Dan Hall

To drink: We stuck to the house plonk at £20 a bottle. It’s fine but doesn’t feel like a bargain. When does it ever?

Busy? Empty when we arrived, but half full by the end. Put it this way, its days of being a hot ticket are definitely in the past.

Service issues? None. And the young server dealt admirably with a potential difficult customer sidling up to him as he took our order.

What other deals are worth investigating? You can also use your keyring to bag yourself 50% off weekend brunch (9-11am) too. So if you haven’t got one, you’ll have to ask very nicely.

Our rating: 7/10.

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All day Mondays and Tuesdays, and at lunchtimes Wed and Thursdays only, Pizza East, 79 Highgate Rd NW5

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