Homeslice is ultimate pizza heaven for me. Their pizzas are enormous & extraordinarily thin with a doughy crust; the toppings are creative and delicious; the staff are energetic and friendly; the place has a great buzz; and it’s totally affordable. You can’t really ask for more from pizza or eating out in central London!
Service: Tucked in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, Homeslice is a small restaurant offering a very casual dining experience. But, firstly, you need to accomplish getting through the door. Since they don’t take bookings you will always find a queue of hungry pizza lovers eagerly waiting to get their hands on some of their great grub.
But fear not, as the turnover rate is fast (without being rushed) and you can simply leave your name & number with the cheery & helpful greeter, and amble off for a drink or two in one of the many nearby drinking parlours until your table is ready. Michael and I arrived at 6:30pm on a Saturday and were seated by 7:15pm. Perfect timing as far as I’m concerned, so just remember to account for a little extra time before you wish to dine, and your evening will run smoothly.
Ambience: The restaurant was joyfully busy, with the wonderful sound of chatter & laughter filling the room. Diners are seated on communal wooden tables with very little wiggle room if you need a bathroom break, but somehow it feels right that you are slightly squashed together with others enjoying the same food & experience as you.
It has somewhat of a bonding feel to it, much different to the communal dining experience offered at Wagamama or similar, where you receive harsh lighting, rushed & impersonal service, and people stop in for a quick meal en route to doing something else. Instead, Homeslice attracts a crowd of like-minded foodies & pizza lovers, who come to appreciate the excellent food and enjoy the family-style sharing experience in a dimly lit, welcoming restaurant with good service that, as a consequence, is hugely popular. The décor is understated but attractive, appealing to the young & trendy, with a slight rustic appeal. The rickety wooden tables & benches are accompanied by tiled walls and glassware hanging from wooden shelves; ex-factory spotlights & an ornate chandelier provide the lighting; blackboard menus & distressed mirrors ordain the walls; and exposed metal piping snakes across the ceiling.
Homeslice has an open kitchen with a beautiful large wood-fired furnace in the centre, so you can watch the talented chefs at work and see your baby being made from start to perfection.
The restaurant is fronted by large floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open on to the idyllic Neal’s Yard, which I imagine would make Homeslice a beautiful place to eat as ‘al-fresco’ style as you’re gonna get in London during summer.
Food: You can buy pizza by the slice (£4.00) if you fancy something quick, light & delicious, or get stuck in to one of their famous 20” whoppers (£20.00), which are perfect for sharing as you can order two toppings per pizza & split it, so that you get to try a couple of their mouth-watering options. The menu changes often, depending on what produce is in season (an excellent reason to frequent regularly). It is short & simple, featuring pizza, and pizza only. Fine by me! But the pizzas at Homeslice are different to your average traditional Italian thin-crust, offering an array of wonderfully unusual and tasty toppings, that you’re most likely never to have tried on pizza before.
It’s definitely a new culinary experience, and one that should not be missed! Michael and I ordered a pizza to share, with goat shoulder, kale & sumac yoghurt for me, and chorizo, corn & coriander for him. We asked for aubergine to be added to the whole pizza as well; a request our waiter was more than happy to oblige, before chirpily checking that we were happy to pay a small charge for the extra ingredient, which, of course we were, having expected nothing less. It was actually just really nice to have been asked before the numbers are added to the bill for once! We were later impressed when the bill arrived and we had only been charged £2.00 for the generous (and delicious) amount of aubergine that we had been given. Truly excellent customer service.
Now, the pizza. Oh my word, the pizza.
Your pizza floats towards you above the sea of heads, carried on a large wooden serving board, before being placed down right under your nose. You are given paper plates and a pizza cutter, and left to DIY. My only issue with this is who gets to use the pizza cutter first! Thank God Michael is a true gent.
The goat shoulder was wonderfully tender; the kale perfectly crunchy without being too crisp; the aubergine added a delightful melt-in-your-mouth meatiness, and the sumac yoghurt balanced the floury, woody flavour of the pizza, overall delivering the juiciest mouthful of great flavours. I cannot explain how much I loved my pizza topping combination. Michael’s was also very good (he really loved it), but I don’t think I was a particularly fair judge as I really was in seventh heaven with my own, and his tasted a little plain and safe in comparison. I will say that the fresh coriander added a lovely twist though. I guess the good news is that Homeslice caters for both the more adventurous and those who prefer to err on the more traditional side of things. I am already chomping at the bit to return and get my teeth into their scallop & peanut combo!
For those of us that like a little fire on their pizza, Homeslice offers two homemade chilli oils. The first & milder version already awaits you on your table (and, in my opinion, tastes simply of olive oil), whilst the second & hotter version stares down at you from within a skull jar on the wall, testing to see if you will dare to request it.
For me, the skull’s chilli oil delivers the perfect amount of heat to dress my pizza. Michael finds it a little too hot and prefers the milder option, so it’s really a matter of personal taste. The good news is that there is something for everyone. But if you do get a chance to go to Homeslice (and I really hope you do), try the ‘seriously spicy’ skull’s contents and let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
As for drinks, Homeslice offers a choice of 4 alcoholic beverages; red wine, white wine, prosecco & draught beer. All very easy & simple really. The red, white and prosecco are served in full magnums alongside stemless wine glasses, from which you can help yourself to as little or as much as you’d like.
When you ask for the bill a young & very friendly waiter will appear with a ruler to assess the damage. I personally think it’s really quaint and adds to the relaxed charm of the place, but fussier folk might not be happy with the lack of choice and ‘get-stuck-in-style’. Another advantage is that everyone in your party can order what they truly want, rather than succumbing to “sharing a bottle of red” and, having sampled all 4 of the options on offer (over various visits), I must say that I find them all to be of a decent quality and very enjoyable. A (small) glass of wine or prosecco comes in at £4.00, whilst a pint of beer costs £4.50. Pretty reasonable, although I warn you that the easy access to the free-flowing alcohol can quickly multiply the numbers on your total bill, so keep an eye out!
Price: Our total bill came to £34.31 including 12.5% service, for 1 20” pizza with extra aubergine, 1 glass of red wine and 1 draught beer. We were both more than happy to pay this and felt that the pricing was fair, especially for the food.
Michael and I had a really wonderful dining experience and I cannot personally rate the pizza more highly. I’m actually going to go as far as to say Homeslice makes my favourite pizza. However I will also readily admit that pizza is incredibly individual, so what you will think of Homeslice really depends on how you like your pizza. But I for one absolutely love it, and could not recommend it more.