We both love a good pizza but have never visited Inferno before – mainly due to a concern that pizza isn’t a healthy option for Emily and that my being let loose on over 50 ingredients could end in disaster. Like Subway, the premise is that you move down the line adding various sauces and ingredients to you liking before it’s finished in the oven. I’ve ‘created’ things before at salad bars and my greed has always made me add every available meat, cheese and sauce until I end up with a weird, inedible mess.
However, we decided to test our pizza creating design skills when invited down. After a quick look at the menu, Emily was relieved that the make-your-own concept extended to salads as well as pizza (but then proceeded to order pizza anyway because they looked to good – the mysteries of woman!) There are 3 options to customise: Salad (for when you are feeling super virtuous), mini pizza (for when you’re feeling a bit virtuous) and the large pizza (for when virtuosity can take a hike). Emily ordered the mini pizza at £4.95 and I ordered the standard size create your own pizza at £8.45. They do also have a ‘hall of flames’ menu consisting of tried and tested combos for those feeling a little overwhelmed by the choice or want a quick, sure thing.
Although not a vegetarian, Emily adores veggie pizzas and loaded hers up with so many toppings that the pizza prepper had to keep rescuing the ones that had spilled over the edge of the veggie pizza mountain. She had a tomato base with gorgonzola, mozzerella, butternut squash, olives, spinach, artichokes, roasted onion, roasted garlic an egg and balsamic glaze.
I proceeded to construct my Frankenstein’s monster of a large pizza with tomato sauce, gorgonzola, goat’s cheese, artichoke, red onion, olives, pepperoni, anchovies (anyone getting worried yet) an egg, roasted garlic and hot sauce. I was considering adding pineapple, but thought that may be a step too far. The prepper suggested that black pepper would go well with this particular pizza (like he’d ever prepped a pizza like this one before). Yeah, it was weird, but the beauty of a design-your-own pizza is that you can be as weird as you like. If you like pepperoni with anchovies and olives like me, then you can go for it!
The pizzas were then slid into the 900 degree pizza oven for 180 seconds while we grabbed a beer and side dishes: spicy potato wedges and garlic bread balls with garlic and herb dip, guacamole, hot ketchup, BBQ sauce and red sauce.
I’m not a big potato wedge fan and these weren’t any better than your frozen supermarket variety but the dips were all delish, especially the chunky guacamole and garlic sauce (sorry Dominos, your garlic dip pales in comparison). The garlic dough balls were lovely – soft squidgy and buttery inside with a crispy outer – you have to order these when you visit.
The pizzas arrived smelling amazing. The first thing we noted was the crispiness of the ultra thin base, which had a delicious char flavour and meant our slices didn’t go floppy without being too dry or crunchy. On my weirdo pizza, all of the ingredients were fresh, very tasty and somehow tasted good together. The salty, fishy anchovies were predictably the dominant flavour (which I love), but every ingredient I chose added flavour and you could taste the quality. The hot sauce on mine may have been a bit too hot for some, but nothing a cold beer couldn’t handle. In fact, I’m considering a change of career to pizzologist so I can share my creations with the world (Emily: PLEASE GOD, NO). The only slight disappointment was that the egg yolk wasn’t runny (but I suppose baking at such high temperatures will do that to an egg).
Emily’s pizza was equally packed with flavour and crispy. The pizza was mini in size but still felt like a good size portion, especially for a lunch. All the veggies were so fresh and delicious – the kalamata olives were of great quality, the roasted onions and butternut squash were sweet and the balsamic glaze finish gave it a tangy edge. More blue cheese was needed to really pack a punch so ask for extra if you like to really taste it.
Another awesome touch that we appreciated was a planted pot of basil on all the tables that diners could tear and add to the food – no pizza is complete without fresh basil the Italian way, we were impressed they had thought about this!
You can choose from a selection of sauces and toppings to add to the creamy vanilla whip: chocolate fudge sauce, strawberry sauce, caramael sauce, Oreo pieces, mini smarties, bubblegum bits and chocolate crispies.
We felt like kids making our own sundaes and it was fun as well as tasty. Caramel sauce and Oreo pieces is a winning combo!
Now I’ve overcome my fear of make-your-own pizza and discovered I’m actually really good at it (Emily: HE’S NOT), we will definitely return for a pre-theatre or cinema meal it is quick, affordable and actually astoundingly good pizza. When you compare it to other eateries nearby such as Son of Steak or Nando’s, there’s no competition for us really. We’re also keen to compare Inferno to MOD pizza in Market Square who offer a similar proposition – more on that another time!
Emily, who works in the city centre, also noted the lunch deal that includes a small pizza or salad with a drink for less than a fiver, which is great value – and she swore she’d return soon to check out the salad option (although I bet she orders the pizza).
Emily & Stu