When you’ve been making pizza for twenty years, there's a good chance you know what you're doing. That’s certainly true at Eco, the family-run restaurant on Clapham High Street. They’ve built up a large and loyal customer base over the past decade, but a recent renovation and a new, trendy menu has made them more popular than ever. And it’s not just pizza lovers that pile through the door; Eco is one of London’s best brunch spots, offering totally vegan dishes, alongside the more unusual steak and scarmorza and all the yummy breakfast classics. I went to grab a slice of the action and find out if their Bloody Mary lives up to its fantastic reputation…
The second you step through the door at Eco you’re welcomed with a gust of warmth and cosines and a buzzing, social atmosphere. In part this is due to the huge pizza oven that dominates one side of the restaurant, but it’s also thanks to the young, trendy crowd, the warm, low lighting and the friendly staff.
Eco has recently undergone a big renovation and now boasts exposed chipped brick walls, brushed chrome and an industrial, warehouse feel. Seating is informal and provided by way of long benches, but there’s also a row of more intimate, two-person tables. I opt for the sociable option and take a seat less than a metre from the open kitchen; I immediately warm up and start watching the chefs do their thing.
The Italian menu is expansive but my eyes are immediately drawn to the pizza section - though the vension ragu and porcini and truffle oil risotto also stick out. Their pizzas are made with a unique, secret blend of flavours, double fermented, baked with organic tomato sauce, fior di latte mozzarella and served with a touch of garlic oil. The chef recommends the aubergine and mixed grilled vegetables, the spicy picante and the unusual sounding pork shoulder, smoked mozzarella, rocket and pecorino. I opt for the spicy option and boy am I glad I did. Though the restaurant is busy, service is quick.
If you’re happy having a carb fest, I’d also recommend their freshly baked bread with a selection of dips to start. There’s seven delicious dips to dig into, including creamy avocado, coriander and lemon juice, goat’s cheese, ricotta and pesto and chorizo, sausage and tomato. The finely breaded white bait is also popular. Courgette fritters are a must with any meal - even if you can’t fit another plate onto the table.
Earlybirds can also enjoy breakfast from 9 and brunch from 12 until 3pm on weekends. The restaurant offers free Wi-Fi, so I enjoyed a frittata (eggs cooked with spinach and parmesan) and an email catch up. The dish was served with freshly baked sourdough, plus Italian handmade sausage, dry cured bacon and plump vine tomatoes and a 10/10 Bloody Mary.
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