|To Hell And Back|
A new pizza concept arrives in Uxbridge Road
You would think that there is only so much you can do with a pizza and that the Italians have tried it all already. But at Hell Pizza, which has just opened up for business inside the Angel Askew pub in Uxbridge Road, there's no sign of the usual Margheritas, Marinaras or Quattro Stagionis.
Whatever you think of the idea itself, you can't help but be amused by the marketing: there are pizzas named after the seven deadly sins, there is a 666 in the phone number and the marketing people obviously had great fun thinking up the slogans ('If you want great pizza, go to Hell' and 'All wrongs reserved').
As well as the unusual pizza names, the toppings make a refreshing change from the usual pizza fare. Hell offers intriguing combinations such as salami, onions, bacon, pineapple chicken and brie all packed onto on a pizza known as 'Trouble', or you can have refried beans, avocado, onions, salsa, tomatoes, roquito, sweet chilli peppers and green peppers piled onto the 'Sinister' pizza. Hell also gets top marks for offering gluten-free pizza bases, although you pay an extra £1 or £2, depending on the size.
We went for a 'Damned' (onions, mushrooms, fresh spinach, cashews, avocado, pineapple, sundried tomatoes and brie), a 'Sloth' (tuna, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic mayo and lemon pepper) and a '333' snack pizza. And how did it feel to have to ask for “A 9-inch Damned, a 9-inch Sloth and a 333, please,”?? I wonder how many people order the 'Lust' (pepperoni, salami, ham, bacon, chorizo plus a choice of sauces).
Although we waited quite a long time for the pizzas to be delivered to our tables, they were steaming hot when they arrived and they were extremely good. And at £6 for a 9 inch pizza and £4.50 for a 7.5 inch one, they were very good value too. We could even have watched them being made as the food preparation area is right in the middle of the pub.
The décor in the Angel Askew is in keeping with the satanic theme: red and black walls, skull and cross-bone wallpaper, smashed mirrors and a sinister-looking black chandelier. Some of the light bulbs are even red, which didn't have much effect on a summer's evening but in the depths of winter I suspect it will be either cosy or creepy. But if you don't fancy any of this, there are wooden benches in a small garden at the back of the pub, or benches and even a sofa at the front, looking out onto the Uxbridge Road.
Feeling quite satisfied after our filling and interesting pizzas, we just needed a shot of coffee and a little bit of something sweet to round off our meal. And here, Hell didn't quite do it for us. The dessert menu offers just three items: two types of 'dessert pizza' with fruity, chocolatey, custardy toppings (£4.50 for each type) and an almond, caramel and chocolate tart (£2.50) for gluten-free diners. We couldn't really imagine why you would want to follow a pizza main course with a pizza dessert, so the only option for us was the tart.
Again this took a while to arrive at our table - the staff were waiting for it to defrost a little – but it was a nice enough dessert. What was really missing, though, was COFFEE. You heard it here first: there's no coffee in hell. No cappuccino, no latte, no Americano....Whoever forgot to order the coffee machine needs to get onto it urgently.
The whole meal – three pizzas, three soft drinks and one dessert – came to a very modest £22.00.
Whether you love or loathe the concept, there is no denying that the pizzas at Hell are a cut above and make a refreshing change. I just wonder what the Italians who created the first pizzas would make of it all? They are probably turning in their graves.
29 July 2009