Restaurant Review: Eco (Clapham, London)

Having undergone a recent facelift, Eco might be the latest Italian go-to on Clapham High Street but it’s certainly no new kid on the block. These guys have been serving up pizzas for over twenty years and, with their own blend of flours ‘unique to Eco’, they certainly seem to know what they’re doing.

The simple layout and stylish design reflects the menu: a modern twist on classic pizzas, pastas and salads with sirloin steak, belly pork and salt and pepper squid to tease you away from the traditional failsafes.

Unfortunately our table of holiday dieters were all far too carb-starved to deviate off the mainstream and we quickly succumbed to the lure of pizza, the huge slabs of dough alluringly sprawled out in the open-plan kitchen below. Lightly marinated olives barely lasted long enough for consideration before our come-get-me pizzas arrived in steady succession. Chewy, charred crusts and light tomato bases topped with everything from home baked ham, goats cheese and chargrilled vegetables to sausage, chorizo and beef polpette – stop me if I’m drooling.

Even the two resilient salad eaters, having seated themselves at either end out of harms way, appeared surprisingly satisfied with their choices. Baked sourdough topped with mozzarella, pancetta-wrapped asparagus, poached egg and salad leaves required stern safeguarding from wandering forks while the mound of chunky chicken caesar salad was deemed worthy of the restraint.

The service was polite but perfunctory, an authentic and unpretentious atmosphere that instantly relaxed us into full-bellied comfort –  eased along with plenty of affordable wine, prosecco and cocktails. In fact we were all too slumped in our seats to even look at the dessert menu but, on discovering it was one of our table’s birthdays, a triple chocolate mousse arrived anyway and was quickly licked clean along with the rest of our plates.

What was most pleasing about Eco, however, was the bill. With most mains under £10 and little need for starters or dessert (which are all only around £5 anyway), this is seriously affordable food that actually tastes pretty damn good too.

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