Monday, 21 November 2016

Restaurant Review: MOD Pizza, Metrocentre

Choice! That's what people want, isn't it? Loads and loads of choice! By exercising our ability to peruse and discern we become the glorious self-actualised inner dream of the capitalist system, and it makes us all really happy too! Choice for all!

I'm not so sure. I don't want a choice of hospitals, I just want the one nearest to where I live to be really good. Same goes for Fire Stations. And schools. I don't want to have to spend hours researching the advantages of such and such free school over thingummy academy, I just want the nearest one to where we live to be worth going to. What's the hell has this got to do with pizza? Hang about, I'm getting there.

One of the most famous pizzerias in the world is L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples. At da Michele you can get two pizzas, a marinara or a margherita. That's it. The fact that the queue is always out the door may have something to do with a certain (totally shit, by the way) film starring Julia Roberts, but it's also because what they do is just very good indeed.

Which brings us to MOD pizza at the Metrocentre, where you can choose from a bewildering quantity of ingredients to concoct just about any pizza in the world. Apart from a good one.

Lovely people, the whole lot of them
The drill here is much the same as at the recently opened Pizzastorm in Eldon Square, which means it's basically like Subway, but with pizzas. They grab an 11 inch disc of dough, load it up with whatever you want, bang it in the oven for 5 minutes then call your name. You know that bbq sauce, roasted garlic and basil pizza you've been lusting after all these years? Now's your chance, you sicko! No matter what you have, your pizza will cost £7.47. That's also the price of their salad bowl, which, similarly, you build up out of whatever choice of greens and other stuff you want.

Let's do the positive bits first. All the staff were really, really nice, and were certainly putting whatever customer-focused gee-up they've had in training into practice. We asked whether their cheese was pasteurised and one lovely person made it her personal mission to find out whether it was. They've got Punk IPA on tap, which tasted like nectar from an oasis in the desert of taste that is the Metrocentre. They've got bottles of sriracha for you to help yourself to. Some of the stuff you can bung on your pizza or in your salad is moderately interesting: roasted garlic cloves, artichoke hearts, that sort of thing. Now though, sadly, we must speak of dough.

My heart had sank a bit when I saw the lifeless disc of uncooked carb they were loading my choice of ingredients onto, and pre-bake fears were duly confirmed when biting into the thing.

"Dominic" pizza
The texture of the base was somewhere between that of a Dr Oetker and a Carr's water biscuit, which is to say crispy, but quite devastatingly dry, and about as interesting as a tax return. Daunted by the prospect of bellowing out my choice of ingredients like I was at some weird food-based bingo hall, I chose one of their "top 10", the "Dominic", a white sauce and asiago cheese affair, to which I'd added anchovies. Just as well, as their salty tang distracted me from the sad rounds of uncooked and tasteless tomatoes which dominated the scene.

"Lucy sunshine" pizza
The "Lucy Sunshine" (where are they getting these names from?) was cheesy with blobs of red sauce. That's about all I can say, really. At the end of the day, anything you order is going to come on a frisbee-sized roundel of lifeless tasting dough. It would need the full cast of Friends to turn up, tap-dancing on the thing to inject a bit of interest into it. Just to be clear, that didn't happen.

The salad was nice because it made a change from very average pizza. The dressing didn't taste of much mind, but that's probably my fault for not asking for more of it.

MOD pizza comes with some schmaltzy back story, which you can read about here if you've nothing better to do.

I can't be too down on this place, for a couple of reasons. They claim that they pay their people well. I don't know how well, but saying it is at least a start, so fair enough for that. Also, they have what seems to be a genuine approach to CSR, giving profits to local charities when they open up new stores. Lastly, they're in the Metrocentre. So, well, you know. Better than Big Lukes innit.

"Revolution" has the word "love" in it, if you go backwards! Fancy that!
It's just a shame the pizza was rubbish, otherwise this could have been somewhere we'd return to on the odd film night that sees us brave the Yellow Zone. As it is, we'll probably just stick to the pick n mix.

5/10 (bonus points for good beer and really nice staff. Oh, and the music was really quite good)

MOD Pizza
The Qube
Intu Metrocentre
NE11 9XG

0191 460 0849


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