I love writing food reviews, and the fact that I am sometimes lucky enough to be invited to events is a lovely little bonus which I am very grateful for. I’m even more grateful when I am invited to restaurants that I haven’t visited before, which was exactly what happened when I received an email from Pizza Punks last week. To celebrate the installation of Staropramen tanks, Pizza Punks invited a little bunch of bloggers and writers along to participate in a pizza making class and hear from a beer sommelier. Sounded good to me, so Kathryn and I headed to the St. Vincent Street restaurant on Wednesday night.
I should really preface this review with a little caveat – I am not a beer drinker. Actually, that’s putting it lightly – I can’t stand the stuff! However, in the interests of participation, I graciously accepted the pint of Staropramen which I was offered upon arrival. And, for you dear reader, I tried it. And it tasted… like beer. Sorry, but I can’t be converted that easily. I did keep a hold of my pint so that I could try out any advice from the beer sommelier, but I think I took about four sips all night.
The food, however, was far, far nicer than any beer will ever be (to me, at least). Each place at the table had been set out with a helping of dough, a cup of tomato sauce and some mozzarella cheese, alongside some little Pizza Punks and Staropramen goodies. After being introduced to the beer sommelier who gave a short introduction as to why beer goes with pizza (it’s all to do with the combination of yeasty, malty flavours in the beer and the similar tastes in the dough) we started our little pizza making masterclass. One of Pizza Punks’ chefs took us through stretching the dough (yes, that included throwing it up in the air), and adding the sauce and cheese. Then, we had free reign of a table laden with toppings – everything from n’duja to courgette to egg was available. In the interests of writing a thorough review I opted for as many of the toppings as possible, and so my pizza included scamorza, onions, smoked sausage, Irn Bru pulled pork, crumbled sausage, bacon, ham, spring onions, potato, basil, oregano, and an egg. I was pretty gutted that I broke my egg yolk, but other than that I was pretty pleased with my pizza. Because of the intense heat provided by wood fired ovens, the pizzas took just minutes to cook and we were soon digging into our creations.
I’m not sure how I felt about the egg – I definitely think it would have been better if I hadn’t broken the yolk – and the cubes of potato were still a little firm for my liking, but other than that it was a pretty good pizza. I had managed to stretch it out to a nice thickness, and the dough itself had a good texture. I’ll admit that I probably overdid the toppings – they made for a very filling pizza – but they were all rather nice, with the stand out probably being the smoked sausage. The lovely staff also brought us some sides to try, and while I found their Garlic Focaccia distinctly un-garlicky the Mac and Cheese and Candied Bacon were superb. The bacon was sweet and salty, and just the right level of crispiness to match perfectly with the soft, creamy macaroni. To be honest, I could have eaten a portion of that alone!
We also got to sample the Prague Pizza, with which you can receive a pint of Staropramen for 70p until Wednesday. The Czech inspired pizza is topped with white sauce, scamorza cheese, potato, bacon, smoked klobása sausage and spring onions. Again, the potato was a little undercooked for me, but the smokey, salty bacon and sausage worked well with the creamy sauce. After stuffing ourselves full with pizza, we had an informal chat with the beer sommelier before it was time to go.
We had a really good night at Pizza Punks, and it was definitely one of the better organised events I’ve attended. The food was tasty, but with so many fantastic pizza places in Glasgow I can’t honestly say they’ve become my favourites. The pizzas were good, and I wouldn’t refuse to return, but if I was craving a pizza I’m afraid they wouldn’t be my first choice. That’s not to say I didn’t have a good time, and if you are a beer drinker then their current offer on Staropramen is definitely worth a look.