Russell Norman’s latest restaurant/pub Ape and Bird recently underwent a “de-furbishment” and I’m not entirely sure why – I thought it was perfectly pleasant before.
It’s now filled with loads of shared tables making it feel awfully cramped and they’ve plonked a huge pizza oven in the corner which looks like it’s been rented-in temporarily. We were seated at the bar which was topped with coloured plastic cups – it was like being at a picnic. And they’ve stopped serving pints! I thought it was a pub? For me, it all felt very confused.
The two pizzas we had were perfectly fine; the buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil (£8) was cheesy and gooey and the pork shoulder with pickled pepper (£9) although being much spicier than expected, had good flavour thanks to the pork. But neither were outstanding – and right now in London there’s plenty of choice if you’re after some brilliant pizza.
Sliced bavette, rocket and Parmesan (£10) was too salty for me as the cheese and the overly seasoned meat became overkill. The beef was of good quality at least and perfectly cooked.
We left Ape and Bird, wandering off into the tourist carnage of Cambridge Circus, feeling totally indifferent about the place; it was just so uninspiring and unexciting. Service was a bit bland too with very little interaction. I’m not sure who it’s appealing to now – but it certainly ain’t me.