Thursday, 30 July 2009
Fire & Stone, 31 Maiden Ln, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7JS
This place is competition for Pizza Hut. Where as to most people, this may sound like an insult (ie your cooking is as good as McDonald’s), to me, this is quite a compliment indeed as there is nothing more alluring than the Pizza Hut lunch buffet. However, with Fire and Stone’s 2 pizzas for £10 offer (with Toptable), this place suddenly becomes better value for money.
The queues that form outside this place are probably evidence of this, but on the day we were there, there wasn’t any of that pesky queuing nonsense getting in the way of our eating. Sat down and with a menu placed in front of us, it took about 10 minutes to find my way around the pizza globe they had created.
Each pizza is named after a country, but not all countries are named after pizzas (fact).
My friend mentioned that there was a pizza which came with potatoes on top of it, and an image of a pizza laden with chunky roast potatoes hovered deliciously on the cloud that wafted on top of my head. This cloud wafts quite constantly whenever I’m hungry, so ordering becomes quite a tricky process when hunger clouds all reasons.
After having travelled round the continents and back in the span of an A4 menu, we finally decided on the 4 pizzas:
c) New York
Melbourne £7.95 usually (Fire & Stone’s tomato base with sweet roasted butternut squash, balsamic roasted red onions, sliced brie, mozzarella topped with toasted pumpkin seeds)
Not one for pumpkin seeds (not on pizza anyway), or butternut squash (on pizza), this didn’t look that appealing, but I was told by my friends having it that it was great, so it must have been.
Bavaria £8.95 usually (Smoked german pork sausage, crispy bacon, pickled cabbage, Fire & Stone’s tomato based & mozzarella topped with sour cream, german mustard and chives)
This was Super Star of the meal, one of my favourite pizzas of all. The base was lovely and crispy, and although I would never have thought of putting sauerkraut on a pizza (such a lack of creativity), it worked wonderfully. The salty sausage, slightly chewy sauerkraut, and little crispy bits of bacon did the tango across my tongue, each one tapping a different little burst of flavour, but all coming together to the music. It was indeed a great first bite.
Bombay £8.95 usually (roast tandoori marinated chicken breast, spiced tandoori yoghurt base, broccoli, sliced red onion, mozzarella, spiced mango chutney & cucumber & mint yoghurt)
Now if the Bavarian was Super Star of the meal, this one was the extra. Put to the back of the stage, and could have been ignored if not for not wanting to waste. The chicken tasted slightly powdery, and although I find that common with most tandoori chicken (must be something to do with the marinade), it wasn’t that nice when placed on top of dry pizza.
Whoever it was who put the dollop of yoghurt and mint sauce on the pizza was having a canteen-style-slop-the-mush-on day. The dollop was possible bigger than the size of the pizza if I’d evened it out over the base, and after I’d tried to thinly spread it over the pizza, I had lots leftover to scrape off to be put to the side of the plate.
Broccoli was also slightly weird, as I’d never had broccoli with my curry before, and definitely not on top of a pizza. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for trying new flavours (re: 24 hour slow cooked bolognese) but the crunchy yet strangely bland broccoli did nothing for the pizza. Nothing at all.
In fact, the pizza did nothing for the pizza.
New York £8.95 usually (crispy oven-roasted smoked bacon, mozzarella, Fire & Stone’s tomato sauce, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes, caramelised onion jam, topped with sour cream and smoked paprika) – whew
Because I’d imagined chunks of roast potatoes on top of a pizza, it was slightly disappointing (although very highly sensible) when the pizza came with little bits of beautifully roasted potato on top of the pizza. Each little square looked as though it had been carefully roasted and turned in the roasting tray, each one evenly brown and crispy looking.
Although it wasn’t one I had, it looked really good, and I probably will order this the next time I’m here.
Would I recommend this place? With the Toptable offer (which we found in the form of a voucher on our table, convenient), you get 2 pizzas for £10. Works out cheaper than Pizza Hut, and dare I say, even McDonald’s.
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