When I started this blog, the aim was to review restaurants in fewer than two hundred words and focus only on those restaurants that I would recommend people paid a visit to. A short, snappy, happy food blog. Well, I talk a lot and rant even more, so it was inevitable that the reviews would grow in both length and negativity.
This review will appeal to that editorial ideal and remain short; however, it'll definitely be the least favourable review I've ever written.
Shoreditch is a fantastic place for food. Street after street of excellent restaurants, pop-ups, and food trucks. The self-proclaimed 'famous' Yard pizzeria, two minutes walk from Old Street station, is not one of them. So far from it, in fact, that the place moves through depressing and swings back round to humorous. Visit if suffering from crippling depression and you'll leave with a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and your sides hurting.
I could focus on the shabby (and definitely not chic) decor, the reek of desperation that comes from plastering your walls with adverts to hire the yawning chasm of a restaurant you can't fill with diners as a party venue, or the food that tasted as bland, awful, an uninteresting as the cardboard box the take-outs are served in - but I won't. Instead, I'll pick on the one item that sits beneath your nose the moment you sit down and which sums this place up perfectly.
A small plastic basil 'plant'.
What in God's name was someone thinking when they picked it up, bought it, transported it, and placed it on the table? Which self-respecting pizzeria considers that to be a positive or even necessary addition to their establishment?
If I owned the place, I'd have the manager horsewhipped the length of Old Street and probably beyond for allowing such a tasteless piece of utter rubbish to grace the doors of my restaurant. And if it was the owner who chose the thing, my advice is to close the doors, eat the keys, stuff your face with Toblerone, and drive to Stranraer with no shoes on.
Perhaps it was the manager, and perhaps this is his or her idea of a little joke or warning. A comment on the lifeless food to come.
Halfway through the meal, we noticed a couple on one table clearly going through a break-up. It must be hugely depressing to be dumped while eating at a restaurant this bad, although if Yard is the sort of place he brings her on a regular basis, she was probably hugely relieved.