You’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve done gluten free pizza now. All of the Italian-ish chains have some kind of offering, albeit varying from lacklustre to burnt via totally cakey. Yup, I’m hard to impress, so more often than not just order the salad – I mean, if I’m going to blow my daily calorie requirements on one meal comprising stodgy bread with tomato, it better be on a pretty awesome one!
With this in mind, Gluten Free Mrs D and I took up the offer of lunch at Pizza Buzz for one of our semi-regular city lunch dates. I knew she would be good company – not least because our views on what comprises good pizza are well aligned – it must be thin, stretchy, perhaps just a tang of charcoal; and the toppings must be of proper quantity and quality. Also with coeliac, nut allergies and lactose intolerance between us; it’d be a proper test of Pizza Buzz’s allergy credentials – keeping me honest when faced with a free lunch!
Which is just as well, because I was positively giddy in this place – it has all of the hallmarks of somewhere I would love – bright colours, airy and clean decor; buzzy atmosphere, efficient service and a tempting menu of ingredients and dishes I wouldn’t ever prepare at home making it very worthwhile to take a break from my lunchbox (veal meatballs and burrata salad to name just a couple).
Pizza Buzz operates like a sandwich bar – you select you base, sauce, toppings, cheese(s) sides along an assembly line; and the amount of choice is overwhelming, especially when you are used to a restricted menu. The joy of this (as opposed to a standard restaurant) for us coeliacs and allergy peeps is that the making of your pizza is totally transparent so you can judge for yourself if the contamination controls in place meet your needs. The team have, in fact, gone to special lengths with their procedures – a dedicated server for gluten free, separate trays instead of paddles, clean gloves; and easy pickings from a ready and laminated allergy tick sheet.
I opted for a pesto sauce on my gluten free crust, crisp pancetta, chicken, caramelised onions and a tiny smidge of mozzarella (virtuous!) before ruining any good intentions with a giant ball of pale, quivering creamy burrata topped with heirloom tomatoes. Whilst it was thrust into the flames of the pizza oven, I made friends with the magic CocaCola freestyle machine which offered a dizzying selection of combinations to drink. If personalisation is the zeitgeist for 2015, Pizza Buzz is it’s temple.
And the pizza itself? You can probably tell by now that they seem to have paid as much attention to the quality of ingredients as the experience. The base was just as I like it – thin, crisp, and not with that strange sugary cakey taste of too many commercial bases. Perhaps a tiny bit underdone (but then I did layer up the toppings rather), and absolutely huge. In fact, I didn’t finish it all and took half home in a box, not least because I had spied that they had homemade almond milk icecream on offer for pud (hurrah! Fruit is not a pudding!) and it would have been rude not to try it for research purposes on behalf of (milk-allergic daughter) A. By then I knew I’d definitely be back to try their children’s offering with her – not least because they offer bottomless prosecco at the weekends – to hell with the calorie requirements :)
Many thanks for Pizza Buzz for inviting us to try the new opening. We’ll be back for sure!