You all know by now that we’re huge fans or pizza, pasta and anything Italian, so when we heard Happy Dough Lucky, a pop-up pizza and desert joint, was coming to the Lace House in Nottingham, we jumped at the chance of paying a visit.
With an enticing menu of fresh Neapolitan pizzas and desserts inspired by the HDL team’s European travels, and promising rumours of offering the “best pizza in Nottingham”, to say we were intrigued on our visit was an understatement. We were met at the door and offered the most delicious (but dangerously unalcoholic-tasting) cocktails. Right from the very beginning, the staff were chatty and attentive, even whilst running round making sure the place was as it should and the food was on its way.
The Lacehouse in Notts is a super cool venue that we’ve never actually visited before, and it was really interesting to see how it had been transformed into something that felt personal to Happy Dough Lucky. We’re big fans of stripped-back, minimalist interiors with a rough touch, so we felt right at home in the Lacehouse, and can totally see why the HDL team decided it was the perfect venue for them.
Onto the restaurant’s clear main attraction- the food. We were so excited to try their pizzas that it was like Christmas had come early when we discovered the delicious array of starters on offer- from chili and sweet potato fries, to salads, and the nicest dough balls we have ever tried, it’s safe to say we were stuffed before our pizzas even arrived.
Determined not to give in so early (or maybe because they were so damn delicious), we still managed to make room for almost an entire pizza each. We can definitely understand why the pizzas are supposedly rated as the best in Nottingham; they’re up there with the top five pizzas we’ve ever had, for sure. You can choose between six different pizza varieties, from good old Margherita, to some more ambitious options. Us being us, we wanted to basically design our own pizzas using a choice from the menu as a starting point, and the team were only too happy to cook whatever concoctions we asked for.
Dessert-wise, we were absolutely blown away by everything on the menu that contained Nutella- the donuts especially went down amazingly, even though we had already consumed our weight in carbs. What really stands out about Happy Dough Lucky’s food is that everything is so obviously handmade and fresh; you won’t find anything batch-bought or freezer-stored in the place. We think that’s what gives it the true authentic Italian feel.
After speaking to a few from the team, we discovered that one of the things they value the most, and want to get across to their customers, is that eating out is not just about the food, it’s about the whole experience. And we have to say, delicious as the food was, it was the treatment we received from the staff at Happy Dough Lucky that really sold the place to us. We were made to feel welcome from the very start, and often it felt more like we were in the house of an old friend than a restaurant. The staff were very attentive, making sure our drinks were topped up and that we were enjoying the food, and spent a lot of their time chatting to us about their European travels that had led to their business venture.
The special thing about a small or independent business is that there are no industry “rules” to stick to, and no certain “image” you have to adhere to. Because of this, the staff were able to put that extra time into getting to know us, and sharing stories of their own, which was a really special touch. We could definitely see that their experience abroad had rubbed off on them, as their hospitality was very similar to some of the best we have received in Italy ourselves. It was so refreshing to be in an environment like this, in comparison to some chain restaurants in Notts, where we feel professionalism is completely overdone.
Overall, we really can’t knock our Happy Dough Lucky experience, and we only feel sad that the restaurant won’t be staying in Notts forever. It’s definitely a must if you’re a fan of pizza and happen to be in the area!
Know of any independent or pop-up cafes that you think stand out from the rest? Let us know in the comments below!