ECO for Stupendous Pizzas - the best in South London

162 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7UG

If you want to try out nightlife south of the river, then nowadays Clapham Common (on the Northern Line) is one of the liveliest areas to explore with numerous clubs, bars, restaurants and eateries. Situated only 100 metres north of Clapham Common tube station is Eco, a modern, stylish, fun, pizzeria frequented by the local Clapham-ites.

When we arrived at about 7:30 pm, midweek, the restaurant was packed with locals casually dressed. The seating area is on two levels. The seating on the lower deck runs parallel with the open plan kitchen, where the chefs frenetically prepare Eco's award winning pizzas to the sound of house music. This is fine if you want to observe the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, but a distraction if you want to have a conversation. If you want more privacy and intimacy, I would advise sitting on the upper level towards the back of the restaurant.

The restaurant décor is heavily stylised, including a bright desert coloured wooden interior, unusual suspended spotlights and a fabulous flower arrangement at the end of the kitchen area.

For starters I had baked lemongrass prawns, which were served in their shells covered in a chilli sauce. Although the sauce was fairly mild, the prawns were a little overcooked and dry. Amanda's buffalo cheese and grilled asparagus was served with succulent beef tomatoes, artichokes and olive oil, and was a much more appealing choice.

The pizzas were stupendously large. I had a tonno, topped with tuna, capers, red pepper, olives, onion, mozzarella, tomato sauce, olive oil, garlic & herbs. Nohr, our likeable Johnny Depp look-alike waiter, presented Amanda with a Quattro Stagioni (four seasons) pizza, topped with artichoke, ham, mushroom, olives, anchovies, mozzarella, tomato sauce olive oil, garlic and herbs. The menu offers a vast array of toppings. Our pizzas were excellent and flavoursome.

Eco has also recently introduced Pizza sandwiches, perfect for a lunchtime snack as well as a range of Calzone, folded pizza laced with Eco's special house recipe tomato sauce.

The service is professionally attentive. Melissa, the floor manager, explained that the restaurant's friendly atmosphere attracts mostly young people, with trade busiest at the weekend, when parents with young families are predominent. Eco can also cater for parties with up to thirty people.

The best was left until last, with our delicious tiramisu deserts melting in the mouth. Although we had peroni beer with our meal, Eco offers an unusual wine list in that there is no percentage mark-up on bottles, allowing only a marginal difference in prices between the most and least expensive (all the wines were in the £10 - £13 price range).

There is a second Eco restaurant situated in Brixton market, and plans afoot to open a third near Baker Street. Although a little noisy for my taste, Eco is definitely worth a visit to sample probably the best pizzas in South London.

ECO Restaurant Tel: 020 7978 1108
Fax: 020 7720 0738

Monday to Thursday 12:00 to 16:00, 18:30 to 23:00
Friday 12:00 to 16:00, 18:30 to 23:30
Saturday 12:00 to 17:00, 18:00 to 23:30
Sunday 12:00 to 17:00, 18:00 to 23:00

Average Price per person: 3 courses plus drinks £25
Nearest Tube: Clapham Common
ECO on the web: www.ecorestaurants.com

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Paul Page, Amanda Smith, August 2001

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