Happy news on the King’s Cross landscape
08 March, 2019 — By Tom Moggach
Happy Face serves a selection of nine different pizzas
HIGH rents are shoving people to the outskirts of this great city – especially the younger creatives.
If you need a space to make music, art or craft beer you’ll struggle to afford a spot in Zone 1.
What a relief, then, to start our night at Two Tribes in King’s Cross, where the atmosphere echoes the more arty areas of East London.
“I feel like we’re in Hackney Wick – or South Tottenham,” says my companion, as we step inside the new brewery and bar.
Two Tribes is a venture within Tileyard Studios, a tucked-away cluster of studios and office spaces described as “a thriving creative ecosystem” in central London.
In practice, this means more 150 creative businesses working cheek by jowl, including record labels, film companies and other start-ups.
We popped in on our way to dinner at a new pizzeria down the road.
Clutching half pints of pale ale, we watched musicians on a stage constructed within the brewery itself, with trombones balanced on sacks of flaked oats used for their Baltic porter.
A little later, we wandered down York Way to Happy Face – a restaurant adjacent to the Everyman cinema in Handyside Street.
This venture majors on decent pizza served fast and shares a love of music with Two Tribes – they have installed a cutting-edge sound system in their subterranean bar Supermax.
Happy Face is a large, open-plan restaurant with more than 130 seats.
A gleaming bar hogs the centre of the room; a tiled pizza oven flickers in one corner.
Design is almost Scandi in feel, with acres of varnished plywood, strings of globe lighting and polished concrete floors.
The menu is succinct: nine different pizzas; a lasagne; a handful of antipasti.
We started with slivers of charcuterie, courgette fries and a green salad.
Their Negroni cocktail was spot-on; half a dozen Italian wines are served in 125ml glass beakers.
The pizzas are good – but not exceptional – large in size and priced £5-£12.
They are made in the Neapolitan style with a 72-hour dough ferment, puffy crusts and a dusting of semolina for crunch.
My Calabrese was topped with ‘nduja (spiced sausage), kale, cherry tomatoes and lashings of stracchino, a creamy cheese.
I suggesting asking for a bowl of their chilli sauce to perk the flavours up.
For pudding, we dug our spoons into pistachio gelato and a well-constructed tiramisu.
Service is lightning fast, which is ideal if you’re catching a film.
At lunchtime, they offer a slice of pizza and drink for just £5.
The late night cocktail bar downstairs was shut on our visit, but buzzes from Wednesday to Saturday.
The vibe is retro, psychedelic and 1970s Italian, with velvet wall hangings, cosmic oil projector wheels and custom-made disco ball.
This was a happy foray into the ever-shifting landscape of King’s Cross.
There’s still a creative energy around here – you just need to know where to look.
14-18 Handyside Street, N1C
020 3146 0760