Going out for a tasty, innovative and affordable pizza has become dangerously easy in London over the past few years.
Franco Manca, Sodo and Pizza Pilgrims are among the big players vying for space in the burgeoning market of fast, fresh pizza.
They all straddle the restaurant/takeaway divide with a stripped back simplicity and price tag to match.
What seems to sustain so many of these places is their ability to retain an independent, hipster feel, when in reality they are expanding chains.
Opening the first of four shops in Clapton in 2014, Yard Sale pulls this feat off with ease.
The restaurant we visit in Finsbury Park is minimalist to the max. Its vibe is communal casual, with diner-style tables and booths and disposable wooden cutlery.
There are people hanging around the bar area waiting to collect takeaway orders.
The menu is short and printed on a single piece of A5.
It’s clear that great quality food delivered quickly and relatively cheaply is the focus here – everything else is a needless indulgence.
Lucky, then, that the pizza is bang on.
One of the best ideas Yard Sale’s owners have had to help their already delicious product become a standout is to run so-called “love-ins”, where they team up with other chefs to create limited edition pizzas.
With collaborations with Thai street food restaurant Farang and a renowned New York pizzeria under its belt, the latest love-in has been created with Mercury-nominated artist Loyle Carner.
This isn’t just some random collaboration with someone in hip-hop though – Carner runs a cooking school for kids with ADHD called Chilli Con Carner, so £1 from each pizza goes towards this.
And, obviously, with it being the most wonderful time of the year and all that, there is a Christmas theme.
Despite the slightly cringe-worthy name – yes, the pizza is called Christmas Con Carner – taste has thankfully not been sacrificed to the novelty festive factor.
While there is turkey, the dominant flavours, as the name would indicate, are those of a chilli.
The stone-baked pizza is dotted with fiery teardrop peppers which pop satisfyingly in your mouth and mingle with zesty lime and the cooling sour cream drizzled on top.
I wouldn’t say that it’s filling me with Christmas cheer but, really, should a pizza ever do that?
What it is filling me with is a well-thought through combination of hot and cool, sweet and sour flavours married together on a dough base which is soft and crispy in all the right places. Not half bad for £11.
My friend opts for one of multiple veggie options and is equally impressed.
The garlic roasted aubergines are juicy rather than mushy and the parmesan crumb is a particularly inspired addition.
The rocket and tomato side salad bursts with freshness and offers a welcome contrast to all the carbs.
Washed down with a little can of Birra Moretti and it’s safe to say the meal has been a triumph.
In and out within the hour with no fuss, just plenty of simple, playful, full-flavoured food.
An ideal place to grab a cheap bite to eat on a cold winter’s night.