Located just a short walk from London Fields, Lardo is famed for its rustic pizzas, charcuterie bites and Instagram-worthy Italian plates. After opening back in July 2012, it quickly established itself as an East London foodie favourite and has remained as such ever since.
The Venue & Atmosphere
Even setting aside their now-iconic disco ball wood-fire pizza and open kitchen; you can expect an archetypal Hackney feel as you enter Lardo, with white-tiles, exposed piping and industrial stylings throughout.
There’s plenty of room for big and small groups in the warehouse set-up, but by way of a British miracle, the sun was actually shining bright when I visited on an early Thursday evening; so I took to one of their wooden tables outside instead. It’s close to a busy Mare Street, but there’s more footfall than there is car traffic, so it’s not a bad place to sit if the weather’s playing ball.
Expect a mixed crowd at Lardo; it’s a popular spot on the weekends but even throughout the week you’ll find an eclectic bunch. There was a blend of young families, couples and locals, plus of course the normal London Fields types, given its proximity. Relaxed and unpretentious, they aim for a cool casual dining experience at Lardo, and it’s easily achieved.
The Food & Drink
This place is known for its delicious pizza, but the menu actually offers a solid amount of other choices, too. To kick off we went for the Burrata (£6.50), a creamy and expectantly-flavourful ball of Italian cheese with a delicious sauce, and the Pork Terrine with Pistachio (£8). A good start and hearty portions; the terrine was packed with meaty flavour and big enough that we could (greedily) keep it on the table for when the mains arrived.
Both my date and I opted for pizzas, in the shape of their signature Black Anise Pepperoni with Rocket (£12.50) and Broccoli, Swiss Chard, Gorgonzola and Pine Nut (£12.50) options. The fresh dough is made on-site and they’re not stingy with the ingredients either; both came with rustic-presentation and were served alongside chilli oil and a homemade garlic mayo. The freshness pays off and we devoured both. If you’re not an all-out super-fan of cheese then don’t go for the gorgonzola pizza; I love the stuff but it’s seriously strong, and overpowering if you’re not completely on-board.
Alongside the food, Lardo also has a bar offering, fronting local craft beers, bespoke cocktails concoctions and a busting Italian wine menu.
Easy, cool and with damn-tasty fare, Lardo didn’t disappoint, and it’s easy to see why it’s done so consistently well with Hackney's crowds over the last four years. Whether it’s for a summer lunch or a later-evening get together, I’d definitely recommend heading down to try it for yourself.