I feel like I’ve been a little bit out of sorts with the blogging game recently, so what better kick up the bum is there than an exclusive invitation to a cool restaurant event in my city? Is there anything more ~peak blogger~ than that?
I first heard of the cool group of people known collectively as pop-up restaurant Happy Dough Lucky about six months ago when they popped into my inbox to see who would be interested in free pizza. Free. Pizza. Who wouldn’t be interested?! So when they swooped into my emails again a couple of weeks ago with an actual invitation, I was ready to go.
After a liiittle bit of confusion with the invitation, I was sat down, cocktail in hand and ready to chow down. Happy Dough Lucky had settled in the Lacehouse, a newly renovated bar in the Lace Market area of Nottingham, nestled snugly opposite Annie’s Burger Shack down Broadway. The high ceilings, exposed brickwork and abundance of neon signs created a great industrial tone and gave off all sorts of uber-cool vibes (truth be told, I felt a little out of place!).
Honestly the service was a tad slow, but it wasn’t really an issue — I mean, it was 8:30 PM and my belly was starting to grumble at not having dinner yet, but it was their first event night of the season and there was a magician (which is totes my idea of entertainment) so no major complaints.
We were led to our table where some staring starters were brought out for us to nibble on while we looked the menu. The choice consisted of chilli chips, garlic and herb doughballs, and a whopping great antipasti with olives, sundried tomatoes, breadsticks — essentially all of my favourite things. It was all very, very yummy, and the chilli chips in particular were a new experience for me — messy and sticky with a gorgeous kick, I love spicy food so I could’ve gone for spicier!
The pizza selection was small but perfectly formed — the different topping combinations were labelled 1 to 6, from traditional margherita to more ~out there~ choices like nduja sausage, beetroot and good ol’ goat’s cheese (say it with me: YUM!). I decided to be a bit daring and went for Number 4, with goat’s cheese, mozzarella, beetroot, balsamic glaze, yellow tomato and rocket.
It was pretty damn tasty. The dough was cooked to pretty much perfection, crispy but soft and fluffy and full of flavour. The combination of toppings was really good too; I was wary of beetroot because I’m not usually a fan, but the sweetness added to the overall savoury effect of the pizza gave it a cute little tang that I really enjoyed (my only teeny tiny complaint would be that it made the pizza a bit wet, but a beetroot’s natural attributes aren’t really within the chef’s control so I’m not mad). I’m also a big cheese fan, the more cheese the better, and the pizza left nothing to be desired where cheese was concerned. 10/10 would recommend.
It’s basically the kind of authenticity that Pizza Express is going for, but Happy Dough Lucky does it 10 times better.
And if we weren’t full enough already, there was desserts yet to come. Again, the selection wasn’t overwhelming, which was sliiightly more upsetting than the pizzas because I am a big ol’ pudding person. I plumped for the Lemon Posset Pot, which turned out to be a lemon-y mousse topped with berry coulis, fresh berries and whipped cream. It wasn’t change-my-like kinda tasty, but it was still perfectly yummy — the flavours were really good together and I do love a fresh berry. The presentation was so cute too, served in an adorable glass jar which greatly satisfied the secret hipster in me.
I actually ended up going for a second time with my good friend Robyn (due to the invite confusion I mentioned earlier) so I got to sample everything again — I paid my way this time, though, don’t worry!
I feel like I enjoyed myself more the second time round. The food was just as lovely, but I feel like the general vibe was more relaxed and the service was quicker, like they’d taken feedback from the previous nights and worked on it, and learned from what went well and what didn’t. I really appreciated that. I also got to learn more about the business because the staff had more time to chat to everyone; they were inspired by their travels around Naples and wanted to bring a more authentic-tasting pizza to our little corner of the world. One of the walls was plastered with polaroids from their adventures, which added a really personal touch that I liked.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my experiences with Happy Dough Lucky. The food is great, the vibe is great, and the effort that is put into all the different aspects of the little pop-up is evident through the quality.
If you’re looking to taste some yummy authentic pizza from across the pond, you should definitely check them out — but you’ll have to get your skates on! They’re only sticking around for twelve weeks in total before they’re on the move again.
Will you be sampling Happy Dough Lucky’s menu?