Flat Earth at The Hive: ‘We’ve got pizza toppings that push boundaries’

PUBLISHED: 14:20 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:04 06 August 2019

Flat Earth Pizzas are meat-free, and use locally sourced ingredients. Picture: Lewis McCarthy.

Flat Earth Pizzas are meat-free, and use locally sourced ingredients. Picture: Lewis McCarthy.

One of the new pizzas on Flat Earth’s August menu is topped with Haggerston plum sauce, spring onions, and soy & sesame aubergines.

Rich Baker and Sarah Brading of Flat Earth Pizza. Picture: Lewis McCarthy.Rich Baker and Sarah Brading of Flat Earth Pizza. Picture: Lewis McCarthy.

If that isn't really for you, alternate options include a Courgetti Bianchi - with its garlic-infused cheese sauce, courgette ribbons and a chilli & apricot compote - or something more conventional like the Mar-Carr-Ita, slathered with organic tomato passata and carrot jam.

The point is: pizza toppings here are slightly different. Local, fermented and foraged ingredients are used; stone-baked on a heritage-grain base using E5 Bakehouse organic flour. Flat Earth Pizzas took up residency at The Hive - on Cambridge Heath Road - at the start of July, with Sarah Brading and her partner Rich Baker behind it.

"We've got pizza toppings that push the boundaries," Brading says. "Everyone seems to like the combinations and Rich is intuitive when it comes to (working out) what goes well with what."

"All of our toppings are meat-free, so you've got the nutrition from the plant-based aspect, and a lot are fermented which is really good for gut health. Our pizzas aren't that heavy, and we don't get much wasted."

Flat Earth Pizza is at The Hive for three days every week. Picture: Lewis McCarthy.Flat Earth Pizza is at The Hive for three days every week. Picture: Lewis McCarthy.

'We don't get much wasted' is perhaps an understatement, as Brading and Baker have put plenty of thought in to ensuring that every scrap of their resources are put to good use.

Menus are changed monthly to utilise the freshest available ingredients, and any 'off-cuts' from the vegetables are blitzed in to crust-dippers like their house pesto, purple carrot jam and miso baba ganoush.

"Anything we do throw away is collected by ReFood," adds Brading. "They collect food waste, which is turned in to fertiliser to be used on local farms, so it's a nice cyclical thing and we can lessen our impact (on the environment).

"There are enough restaurants already, so there's no point adding another one that causes problems. We're not perfect, but we are trying to do our best from the beginning."

Based at The Hive - a bar selling biodynamic and natural wines - every Thursday to Saturday from 5pm, Flat Earth has also linked up with local artists and florists to spruce up their space.

You'll find Hawaiian Fire Water on each table - "our version of chilli oil," says Brading - which is a mix of chillies, ginger, onion, garlic and sea salt put together exclusively for Flat Earth by Hackney resident Jessie Ferments. "It's really about combining loads of local aspects to make up the jigsaw puzzle," Brading explains.

"My partner and I have always been in hospitality, I've done marketing and he's operations, and we've always wanted to do something together.

"We used to go to The Hive for coffee. They've got a lovely natural and organic wine range, and there was synergy with our product."

There's no time-frame on exactly how long Flat Earth will be a part of The Hive right now, all that seems certain is that September will bring a tide of inventive new pizzas to this spot which straddles the Bethnal Green and Hackney border.

"Our pizzas are a little more unique than most and people are generally loving the combos, but we are very flexible if people have particular preferences. In July, for example, we made a couple of plain cheese and tomato pizzas for those who asked.

"We are meat-free, but we've had lots of meat eaters come in and be pleasantly surprised!"

Flat Earth Pizza is at The Hive, 288 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9DA. For more details click here, or follow their Instagram.

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