Su Sazzagoni – Sardinian Hustling By Victoria Park

by timchester

Su Sazzagoni is tucked away in one of London’s numerous non-areas, those no-man’s-lands that make a half-hearted attempt to cluster themselves into some semblance of a destination but remain merely a few restaurants and pubs next to a Londis in the middle of endless housing. This particular outpost is on the stretch of Lauriston Road west of Victoria Park, a nice spot to end up after a day spotting Eastenders stars by the lake but a place so divorced from the TFL it will give you palpitations after dark. It’s all exposed brick and varnished wood, comfortable enough and full of pleasantly normal E3 residents and little Sardinian knick-knacks that remind you what kind of food you’re eating. The poster of blacked-up children in cowls dragging each other along by ropes is a particularly provincial piece of art.

Su Sazzagoni

The staff at Su Sazzagoni are attentive. And by attentive I mean really attentive. Like, social carer round-the-clock attentive. Drug-addled desperado checking their remaining stash attentive. David Cameron poll strategist attentive. Neurotic mother of an only child whose only child in turning teenage and starting to lock their bedroom door attentive. You get the idea.

What that means is my invalid friend was brought a selection of things to elevate her injured foot, from Peroni boxes to cushions to extra chairs and made to feel a star rather than a burden. It also meant almost non-stop harassment and fussing from a gang of waiters constantly hovering like Chinook helicopters that cleared plates mid-mastication and asked three times each if we wanted dessert. When they ran out of things to ask us about they lined up by the kitchen to watch. It was disconcerting.

Food demonstrated both the virtues and pitfalls of Italian cuisine. While a mixed starter was a classic example of simple ingredients done well (milky mozzarella with crunchy fresh pesto, caramelised onions and bulbous tomatoes), a plate of spinach and ricotta ravioli was inevitably sparse. What it is about that particular pasta that makes chefs so precious, believing they more than eight pieces a head will send their business spiralling into financial ruin? While penne (which incidentally looked pretty dry here) flowed from the kitchen non-stop and plates suffocated in tangles of spaghetti and linguine, the fools that ordered ravioli had to chase it round the plate to convince themselves they hadn’t been conned. Pizzas were too hot to eat at first – a nice surprise – and fully loaded, which couldn’t be said of the focaccia, while potato and cheese dumplings oozed lazily upon puncture and were garnished in dried and sliced parmesan. House red was eminently more drinkable than many label wines, but you’d expect that of any house proud Italian. All in all, a decent neighbourhood ristorante in a decent non-neighbourhood.

Su Sazzagoni on Urbanspoon


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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Martin Kyrab May 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I think a lot of people will be surprised by this blog entry, I also think people will be hurt. Sure we are all entitled to an opinion on what and where we eat but I feel this review goes beyond talking about food and is actually aimed at upsetting businesses and residents in victoria park. There is also a massive wave of snobbery from the blogger, I can not help but wonder why this individual wondered into the wild wild east in the first place.

I have lived in Victoria Park for 13 years. For me and many others it has been a great place to settle and buy my first two homes. During the 1980’s it became run down but thankfully has managed to climb it’s way back up and can hold its head high.

During Victorian times it was a very busy and popular area, the history of the park and the buildings in the village has been well documented in several books. It is recently been granted funding from The National Lottery to help restore some of the original features.

I also work in the area and run my business here. Many of my clients are in this part of east London and the very cool Broadway Market.

As well as some fantastic independent businesses like Bottle Apostle there is a Ginger Pig , Namo, a highly regarding Pimlico fishmonger and several pubs, one is from the Geronimo Inns chain and another pub/restaurant which is the ETM group.

The area is full of good honest east end people who have live there for years and new residents who attracted to the area because of the true taste of an independent London it has to offer.

The businesses that have opened in the village have made the area both a desirable place to live and socialise. Business men and women have invested time, money and love into making this area a pleasant neighborhood once more.

You wont see any stars of eastenders by the lake, I think any moderately intelligent person would know this. You will see some very nice families though, young and old.

You will also see one of the best firework displays in London, the world famous Lovebox festival, Radio Head playing their only UK gig, The Footsbarn Theatre Company, the annual Paradise Gardens, The LED festival, wonderful food and drink and amazing people. Oh and like anywhere you will find some not so nice people but there is not a lot any of us can do about that in all honesty. So I think you get the picture that Victoria Park is a great place with a brilliant Sardinian restaurant ran by some great people who are respected by locals, Londoners, award winning writers and the food and drink industry.

One final thing to say about Victoria Park is that it is in E9 not E3, just in case you would like to come and see it for yourself. We are all very proud of E9 and do you know what? We should be.

Martin Kyran

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timchester May 4, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Hi Martin, sorry to have offended you. I’m a fan of the east in general and in fact lived in two parts of Mile End for some time. You’re right, Broadway Market is a great place and I also like walking along the canal. In terms of Eastenders stars by the lake, maybe that’s just my experience (twice). Thanks for the feedback though TC

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Alan White May 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm

The onslaught of the internet into every walk of life is a blessing on one hand but also comes with its disadvantages and pitfalls. Anyone can write and publish their thoughts; the only problem is that, in many cases they shouldn’t. The danger is that people believe everything they read. Previously everything that was published (in book form) had been vetted and was either sold as fiction or fact. Alas with the internet this is not the case. We now have music critics becoming food writers when they should stick to the subject they know something about. Back in the 1980 when Prince Charles described the national portrait gallery as a ‘carbuncle on the face of humanity’, everyone was an architectural critic, today with the onslaught of cookery programmes everyone is a food critic.
I believe that the above blog demonstrates this point admirably, using ridiculous similes renders the article unreadable trite and frankly makes the writer appear very naive. If you feel that the staff were to attentive to the point of intruding then why not say so, in plain English!
I have known, and frequented Su Sazzagoni, since it opened, and frankly they do not deserve this sort of degrading review. You only have to look at the other people’s points of view, on many review sites, to realise this. Personally I have never witnessed waiters acting like Chinook helicopters, and frankly I find the simile embarrassing and very insulting to the staff of Su Sazzagoni. If I have to criticise at all, on occasions, there have not been quite enough staff, but they certainly do not hang around in gangs. As for the assault on the area I am not going to comment on the attitude to this part of the east end as I believe Martin has adequately covered this in his excellent response. I have been living in this area for nearly five years, I am proud of being an E9 resident and I am happy to have Su Sazzagoni as my local restaurant. This restaurant is not only for locals, I have many friends that will travel across London to eat there. Su Sazzagoni should be encouraged and not ridiculed as you do in this blog, but I can see from your other reviews that this is your style, to negatively criticise rather than be positive.

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timchester May 6, 2010 at 8:27 am

Thanks for leaving your thoughts and getting involved Alan. While I’m not sure how the ‘ridiculous’ renders the ‘trite’ I love the Prince Charles reference. TC

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Priscilla May May 6, 2010 at 9:15 am

I think this blog (and this post in particular) demonstrates perfectly how well the internet can work. Although I happen to agree with the author about both the restaurant, and the area in general, I value the web for giving everyone the opportunity to express and share ideas, whatever they may be. Having an opinion and expressing it on a blog that one chooses to read (or not) does not make you any less intelligent. Art in all of its forms, should, in my opinion, be free from censorship. Now why don’t we all have one big liberal hug and go back to our Guardians…Thanks Tim – keep up the good work, you have a great blog and a fantastic concept.

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Martin Kyran May 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I feel this particular blog’s concept is a good idea. As for keep up the good work, not really sure how what is meant here, Tim has not outed some teenage drug den behind the bike shed in high school. The restaurant has not been reviewed, the bog has been pretty awful about Su Sazzagoni and the other independents in the area. This has nothing to do with art or expression, reviewers of Su Sazzagoni have sometimes loved everything and others have given their opinion of how they would do it, or what they considered to be against their experiences. This not about saying “oh my god how dare you slag of Su Sazzagoni and E9” it’s about abusing freedom of speech and the poweer and freedom of the net to go out of your way to upset and attack individuals.
If I was thinking of going to E9 or Su Sazzagoni this blog would not help me in the slightest, even more so when compared to the numerous reviews by food journalists and critics on and offline about Su Sazzagoni. Most of the reviews come with a great deal of experience and perhaps this is what is lacking here. I can not find this blogger on any journalist or media datasbase except for someone with the same names who works to NME.
I am all for freedom of speech but as I have already said this blog entry was nasty and that seems to be the intention as with the style used in other write ups on the site. I expect people reading this a telling me to wake up and live in the real world, so be it. I feel very strongly about supporting independents wherever I go, I also support businesses in my area. Finally if I do have feedback for a business I always to tell them in a way that will help them improve their product offering.
I did not really want to leave a comment on here in the first place so a second one is for sure my last. I do not have the blogger’s email as it is not listed anywhere as I write this.
Its probably best if you don’t like Vicky Park then not to go back, simple as that really. Shame though, for you I mean.

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Adrian July 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Ive just read that blog entry with a wry smile, I think it was very funny and apt. I visited Su Sazzagoni (no listing in the phonebook, no website) last Sunday night… God what a waste of time. I made the mistake of taking my friend Alan who lives in Dubai and loves Italian food, my partner who had walked all the way down from Old St and my old mate from school. Lured by my tales of traditional sicilian cuisine and stonebaked Pizza we arrived… Quick drink in the wonderful Empress next door to the frankly vile ‘Chilli’s’ I ventured along to book an outside table (couldnt ring up see). I was promised an outside table at 7.30. Finished our drinks at the Empress, then sauntered back at 7.30, only to be told by the twitchy waiter festooned in ‘prison tatts’that we had to eat inside as there was no eating outside permitted after 8.00pm!!!! We squeezed in amongst some 30 something Ibiza PR’s who were having a very loud conversation about how much money DJ’s were currently being paid on the white island (werent we doing this 15 years ago?)… anyway a lovely basket of bread arrived, so we asked for some dipping oil, a bottle was duly plonked on the table with no saucer or dipping bowl, the three glasses of lukewarm tap water with no iceor lemon were obviously not what they had in mind when the asked us our drinks order,the lovely seafood pesto stuffed squid went down from 5 peices per person last week to 3 peices on Sunday, but the price of £9 per plate remained the same, the pizza’s ordered were still not forthcoming after an hour, so trying to cancel and pay up, we were shouted at and told to wait another 10 minutes, the lady in charge said she couldnt help it the chef was new, so that was probably our fault too!
Yes the food is good when you can winkle it out of them but I seriously wouldnt bother trying!!!

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timchester July 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Cheers Adrian. Glad I wasn’t there on your night!

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Kate July 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I can see your points regarding local business but I think it is fair to admit- a good eating experience is GOOD. The detractors seem to not have enjoyed it and it’s fair that they express this. Just because you want independents to suceed doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be criticised. Get over it guys.

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