Year round group dining that doesn’t cost the earth
Organising a meal for a group of people can be a huge logistical pain. Finding somewhere large enough, takes bookings, is affordable, caters for vegetarians and has a kitchen that can actually cook is an epic undertaking not to be taken on lightly. Ironically, one of the better budget group dining restaurants is one that, officially, doesn’t taking bookings at all – the Fitzrovia branch of Homeslice.
While officially first come, first seated, you can book the large centre table for 10 if you have enough people. Like the original Covent Garden branch, Homeslice serves up 20in pizzas for £20 – perfect fodder for a ravenous gaggle of rowdy, skint ne’er-do-wells such as myself, Ball Breaker and a selection of our work chums. Although you can perch on a stool at the counter and order by slice at £4 a pop, Homeslice is more fun as a communal experience from the messy hands-on nature of the food to the paper plates. The service could be more attentive though – only after several minutes of our own inept futzing about with the blunt pizza cutter, did the waiters offer to slice our pizzas for us (we were literally the only occupied table at the time).
The goat meat used on the goat shoulder pizza was unsurprisingly no match for the barbecued goat meat sometimes available at The Smoking Goat. It was still tender and earthy enough to be pleasing though, making up for its lacklustre partners of cabbage and sumac yoghurt. Like all the other pizzas we tried, this pizza had a rather limp, somewhat stodgy base that was a touch too chewy – almost certainly consequences of its larger than usual size.
Despite this systemic flaw, the Calabrian chilli peppers pizza was quite enjoyable. Although not remotely spicy, its mild sweetness was still pleasing and meshed well with the moderately creamy, somewhat earthy cheese and a subtle herby undertone.
The 20in pizzas can be ordered half-and-half with one set of toppings on one side and a completely different set on the other. We opted for the Calabrian chillies on one side and anchovies on the other. The anchovies had a suitably salty punch, but this clashed with the sweetness of the mismatched caramelised onions. The Kalamata olives got lost amidst all of this.
Mildly meaty and gently spicy salami made up for barely perceptible parmesan and somewhat limp rocket.
Much like its Covent Garden originator, Fitzrovia’s Homeslice is all about raucous communal fun with the pizzas proving merely adequate rather than hitting any new (or indeed any) gastronomic heights. The quality of the toppings may be inconsistent and the humongous base is fundamentally flawed, but it’s still more enjoyable and palatable than many chain pizzas. You could do far worse.
Address: 52 Wells Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3PR
Phone: 0203 151 9273
Opening Hours: Monday–Saturday noon-23:00 and Sunday noon-22.00.
Reservations: officially not taken, but bookings for large groups can be made
Average cost for one person including soft drinks and service charge: £25 approx.