Restaurant Review: The Hideaway Neighbourhood Bar & Kitchen, N19

Rob Bleaney checks out a laid-back Archway bar making a name for itself with its pizzas

IT’S a badly-kept secret around these parts that the Gazette and Journal team are rather partial to a bit of pizza.

There are yelps of delight when the public relations departments of the major chains phone to say they will be delivering free samples of their latest pizza concoctions to the office.

Not that we can be bribed of course, but there was almost a riot not long ago when an eagerly anticipated delivery failed to materialise.

In truth, the offerings outside of those authentic Italian restaurants rarely live up to the hype, but one bar on the Archway-Tufnell Park border is serving up impressive stone-baked pizzas alongside its pints, and doing so in its own inimitable style.

The Hideaway opened in 2007 on the site of Dougie’s Hideaway Club, a notoriously rough and ready live music venue and den of iniquity in 1960s London.

These days, its combination of laid-back upstairs bar, music and comedy downstairs, and cheap pizzas has made it more of a locals favourite - and this month it re-launched as The Hideaway Neighbourhood Bar & Kitchen, with new toilets, a new shop front, table service and a new menu.

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Old favourites have been joined by new concoctions such as the Rustica, Gorgonzola and Stagioni, and everything about the pizzas is superb, from the high quality ingredients, to the perfectly light base and the subtle Italian herbs. You can even order a little pot of aioli to dip your crusts in, while the arrosto salad, with packed full of roasted vegetables, goats cheese, spinach and pine nuts is particularly good.

You can even sample the delights of al fresco dining in the covered garden, which although a little cramped, does have its own charms.

Squirrels and cats were among the inquisitive animals who wondered across the vines above as we ate on a warm summers evening.

A mention too for some rather good cocktails - the generous free pours giving them quite a kick - and a tasty chocolate brownie to finish.

Its all very laid-back and understated, but what the Hideaway does it does well. The staff are friendly, the food is great and it’s the perfect place to kick back for an evening of leisurely eating and drinking.

And the best thing is, there is 50 per cent off all food until the end of April.